Octagon Hall, 25 Milsom Place, City Centre
Whilst acknowledging the challenges in advertising this business location, and the desire for this building to be brought back into active use, we are concerned regarding some aspects of the proposals, in particular the entrance in Milsom Street. The signage and paraphernalia on Milsom Street is in our view excessive. In particular the hanging sign is unacceptable and should be removed from the application. Milsom Street is relatively clear of hanging signs and this ensures this special historic street remains uncluttered and the special architectural interest of the group assets can be appreciated (for more information please our guidance paper on Hanging Signs in Milsom Street). In addition the timber trough planter is unacceptable as it intrudes upon and obscures the special architectural composition of the façade (the decorative dentilled cornice) and it should be removed from the application.
The obscuring of the columns with the brass and steel framework is also unacceptable. A signage solution should be devised that does not intrude upon and harm the doorway composition. This could perhaps be achieved by the Botanist sign being placed within the fanlight area. The addition of pots and urns also clutters both the attractive columned doorway and the pavement and again distracts from the special interest of the building. We would recommend these are removed. In fact these pots would probably be better placed in the recessed doorway of Green Street.
We are a little uncomfortable with the overtly decorative nature of the Victorian style gates on Green Street and feel it jars somewhat with the character of this street, however we recognise that this is part of the Botanist brand and would leave this element to the judgement of the case officer. Given the eclectic nature of signage in this street, we would not object to a hanging sign in this location.
The proposed scheme would neither preserve nor enhance the special interest of the listed building and the setting of multiple listed buildings. Therefore the proposals relating to the signage on Milsom Street (Botanist door sign and hanging sign) would be contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas Act) 1990, Section 16 (Conserving and enhancing the historic environment) of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), policies; B1, B4, B2, and CP6 of the B&NES Core Strategy and policies CP6, HE1, D9, B4 of the Placemaking Plan. We would therefore recommend that the application is amended or refused.