The Trinity Inn, 49 James Street West, City Centre, Bath
49 James Street West is an unlisted late 19th century public house situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. The pub was open as the Trinity Inn by the 1930s at the latest. Formerly 49 and 50 James Street West, the pair of buildings were merged into a single premises by the late 20th century with significant clearance of terraces to the north and east by 1973 following severe bomb damage. The building occupies a notable corner position overlooking the main thoroughfare of James Street West as well as the entrance point to Kingsmead Square and the historic city centre. The pub retains evidential and historic significance as one of the few surviving buildings on this street, indicative of historic street form and a historic social venue which is still in use. The building positively reinforces the material tradition and finish of the conservation with a Bath stone ashlar façade, symmetrical, well-balanced articulation, and use of multi-paned sash windows.
The commercial shopfront character and appearance of the core 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 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.
BPT objects to the principle of the proposed replacement aluminium fascia signs with a mix of acrylic and vinyl lettering, which would fail to conserve or enhance the character or appearance of the conservation area. The existing signage is comprised of timber fascias with individually-pinned lettering; the use of timber is more sympathetic to Bath’s historic shopfront character and we do not see any justification or demonstrated public benefit for the introduction of new incongruous materials. We therefore maintain that new signage should be timber, and express a preference for hand-painted signage or quality metal individually pinned lettering as a more appropriate alternative to acrylic.
We additionally have strong concerns regarding the excessive volume of illumination proposed. We acknowledge that the proposed lanterns are due to supersede the existing lanterns (with the addition of one extra lantern), and in this case the principle of external illumination has already been established. However, we remain resistant to the principle of illuminated signage; we feel this is contrary to Bath’s low-level lighting and distinctive night time character, and increased illumination would result in further cumulative harm to the would be of harm to the appearance and character of the conservation area and World Heritage Site. We do not consider this level of illumination to be necessary for commercial reasons considering the existing relative levels of lighting and the building’s well-connected location within the city, and therefore this aspect of the scheme remains unjustified by public benefit. We strongly recommend that the proposed signage illumination is omitted.
We have some concerns about the proliferation of proposed amenity boards to be fixed to the exterior and the resulting perceived increase in visual clutter across the building façade.
We therefore cannot support this application in its current form on grounds that alterations would not preserve or enhance the appearance or character of the conservation area, and is therefore contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, section 16 of the NPPF, and Policies B1, BD1, CP6, D1, D2, D8, D9, and HE1 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan, and should be refused or withdrawn.