Street Record, Southgate Street, City Centre
The proposed location of a new BT Street Hub is on Southgate Street, 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. Southgate Street is a popular and busy pedestrian thoroughfare that acts as a direct connector between Bath Spa Station on Dorchester Street and the historic city centre via Stall Street and the historic city core. It features a mix of active and stationary leisure public amenity; the centre of the street is occupied with tree planting and regular ‘stopping points’ with public benches, bins, and street lighting. Where Southgate Street forms part of the edge of the Southgate ‘quarter’, it is significant in establishing a transition point between public transport hubs, Bath’s new shopping district, and the historic city. There are mid-range views maintained of the St Lawrence Street junction from further north along Stall Street, but Southgate Street is largely obscured due to the orientation of the road.
There is an expectation for some coherence in the use of signage throughout the conservation area. Whilst Southgate Street is largely coherent with the contemporary qualities of Southgate, and therefore has some opportunities for more eclectic street furniture, it does maintain some visual sensitivity as a ‘gateway’ into the city. Where possible, it is encouraged that new signage proposals should appropriately reflect and reinforce local character.
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, particularly where this would be more visible in wider, interrelated streetscape views.
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 taller 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.
There are further questions relating to the impact of the Street Hub on pedestrian congestion where there are already high levels of foot traffic, as well as the existing usage of the street (eg. market stalls).