Size, 33 Stall Street, City Centre, Bath
33 Stall Street is a Grade II 1800 terraced shop situated within the commercial core of the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. It forms part of the collective streetscape setting for a high concentration of Grade II terraced shops along Stall Street, itself a historic 17th century thoroughfare through the heart of Bath. It adjoins the Grade I late 18th century shops by Thomas Baldwin at 34-36 Stall Street. 33 Stall Street features a 1990s shopfront of limited historic interest; however, the shopfront is traditionally detailed in timber and as such contributes positively to the shopfront vernacular and character of the conservation area. The shopfront on the first floor is dated to 1900 and is therefore of greater historic and social value, whilst being an unusual addition in a streetscape where signage is largely restricted to the ground floors.
We object to the proposed installation of a new aluminium fascia over the existing timber fascia which forms part of an unusual turn-of-the-century shopfront. The use of an aluminium fascia would be materially at odds with the established shopfront ‘vernacular’ and character and appearance of the conservation area, and would be of harm to the special interest of a listed building. There is insufficient justification as to why the existing timber fascia could not be appropriately repainted and reused which would better sustain the visual amenities of the street scene.
We are not opposed in-principle to the use of individually-pinned quality metal lettering in an appropriate finish, where this would not result in unacceptable harm to historic fabric, or the appearance and character of the building or its wider streetscape context. However, we maintain a strong preference for the use of hand-lettered signage which more strongly references the distinctive and bespoke shopfronts within Bath’s historic city centre. We note that there are examples of what appear to be (from photographs) to be examples of hand-painted Kokoro shop frontages in Newbury (which is referenced in this application) and Chichester and therefore question as to why a similar approach has not been taken within the sensitive historic core of the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site.
We further maintain an in-principle objection to the proposed use of illuminated signage, contrary to Bath’s use of low-level lighting and distinctive night time character. The use of halo-illuminated signage would detract from the appearance and special architectural interest of the listed building.
The proposed finish of the painted shopfront and doors in “RAL 7046 (WARM GREY)” has not been indicated; we maintain a preference for matte over gloss to avoid an overly reflective or ‘shiny’ appearance.
We encourage provision of further information regarding the proposed use of “frosted window film” at first floor level and how this would look as part of the overall treatment of the shopfront. Whilst we recognise the complexities surrounding the treatment of the first floor frontage as a less active and somewhat ‘secondary’ frontage, BPT maintains that care should be taken to avoid the visual deadening of what remains a notable feature of the building characteristic of Bath’s varied commercial streetscape.
This application in its current iteration would adversely impact the special architectural interest of a listed building, harm the visual amenities of the street scene and would not preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the conservation area, contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Section 16 of the NPPF, and Policies B1, B4, BD1, CP6, D1, D2, D3, D8, D9, and HE1 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan. This application should therefore be refused or withdrawn.