The Nest, 7 Bladud Buildings, City Centre, Bath
7 Bladud Buildings forms part of a Grade II mid-18th century terrace of townhouses situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. It forms part of the approach to the Grade I Paragon, and cumulatively forms part of an architectural setpiece indicative of innovations in 18th century town planning utilising crescents and undulating terraces seen throughout the World Heritage Site. It forms part of a localised group of shopfronts and commercial units that broach the junction between Bath’s residential terraces to the north and north-east, and the southern approach to the city centre along Broad Street and George Street. The rear of 6-7 Bladud Buildings has been subject to significant later alteration, with the addition of a single storey extension across the entire extent of both buildings at lower ground floor level. Half of this extension formed part of the building’s nightclub premises. 7 Bladud Buildings retains a significantly elevated dual position, with its four-storey rear elevation forming the steep backdrop of Walcot Street, although it is largely obscured by later development including the YMCA building.
The commercial shopfront character and appearance of the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site is characterised by its retained vernacular appearance, use of traditional materials and construction methods, and bespoke design approach. Consequently, shop/commercial frontages are expected to adhere to planning guidance regarding the appropriate use of materials, colours, and a lack of illuminated signage, in keeping with the wider historic character of the city conservation area and World Heritage Site.
We are therefore supportive of proposals for the fascia signage to be hand-painted, in keeping with Bath’s established shopfront vernacular. The proposed colours would be suitably subdued and in-keeping with the natural tones of the building’s Bath stone ashlar façade, although we maintain a strong preference for the use of a matte or eggshell finish rather than gloss to mitigate against an overly shiny, reflective appearance.
Whilst we are typically resistant to the principle of illuminated signage and shopfronts within the conservation area, we acknowledge that there are already permitted downlights in situ that would be retained and used by the new building occupants. Listed building consent has already been granted for the installation of two new wall-mounted lights (see application 21/05416/LBA). We continue to reiterate that this should not be considered a suitable precedent for the addition of further lighting with resulting detriment to the appearance of the listed building.