Street Record, Southgate Place, City Centre
The proposed location of a new BT Street Hub is in Southgate Place, situated within the commercial core of the Bath City Wide Conservation Area and the World Heritage Site. The site forms the public realm centre of the 2009-2010 Southgate development. The public realm in this area, whilst relatively enclosed by the height of surrounding buildings, remains a well-used pedestrian centre within Bath’s contemporary shopping ‘quarter’, and a large amount of space is given over to associated street furniture such as outdoor seating, bins, planting, and food & drink kiosks. The development was originally designed to reference a Georgian-esque architectural form but remains evident as a modern addition to the city in which the treatment of shopfronts, signage, and the street scene differ from the historic city centre. Where there is an expectation for some coherence in the use of signage throughout the conservation area, the contemporary qualities of Southgate enable a greater flexibility when it comes to new signage and street furniture.
Within this context, the addition of a BT Street Hub would not be out of keeping with the visual amenities and character of Southgate, and its wider contribution to the conservation area. BPT does have an in principle resistance to the use of illuminated screen signage within the conservation area, but we acknowledge the already-high levels of illuminated signage within Southgate with which the Street Hub would be consistent. There are some positive opportunities for public services, which would be well-placed within Southgate’s central plaza.
We have some visual amenity concerns regarding the proposed height and scale of the Street Hub. The height is indicated to be 2980mm; at nearly 3m tall, this would be a prominent addition to the street scene. There is a risk that as one of the tallest pieces of street furniture in the area, the Street Hub would be an over-dominant and unbalanced addition to this part of the designed townscape within the conservation area, and greater consideration is required as to how it would relate to its surrounding built context.