Tommy Hilfiger, 8 St Lawrence Street, City Centre, Bath
8 St Lawrence Street is an unlisted commercial building which forms part of the Southgate development that was completed in 2010, utilising a distinctly Georgian-esque style of architectural design. It is situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. The shopfront as existing does not feature illuminated signage. The existing shopfront treatment is subtle and understated with non-illuminated steel lettering of a modest scale, and as such is an attractive example of signage that sits more sympathetically within Bath’s historic context. Whilst we appreciate the contemporary and eclectic nature of signage within Southgate, we strongly encourage the usage of high-quality signage and shop fronts in keeping with the wider historic character of the Bath conservation area and World Heritage site and the historic setting of the city core.
BPT resists the principle of illuminated signage. Bath is recognised as a low-illuminated city in which the maintained low levels of lighting complement the historic character and appearance of the city, and create a distinctive evening and night-time atmosphere. Therefore, the use of illuminated signage would be of detriment to the visual amenities of the Bath conservation area and the special qualities of the World Heritage site, particularly when considering the shop’s prominent visual position along multiple pedestrian routes through the city centre from significant arrival points such as the train station and bus station.
We are resistant to the excessive use of digital and LED displays in shop windows where this would contribute further illumination and be visually over-dominant in the streetscape due to typically bright and flashy visuals.
We highlight the increasing number of applications for illuminated signage within this part of the city. Whilst the character of Southgate does allow for more contemporary forms of signage and shopfront treatments, we maintain strong concerns regarding the overall cumulative impact of this increasing volume of illumination and the resulting impact on the character and appearance of the conservation area and the commercial centre of the World Heritage Site. We maintain that Southgate should remain a coherent extension to the historic city core to the north; the use of excessive illumination is an increasingly intrusive and jarring addition that serves to further disassociate the Southgate shopping district from its surroundings.
We are additionally opposed to the use of acrylic signage in the conservation area. This type of signage tends to be overly chunky and heavy in appearance, and materially provides a distinct contrast with the retained traditional material usage in this area, such as the building facades in Bath stone ashlar. Whilst we acknowledge that the character of Southgate’s shopfronts are of a more contemporary and materially varied palette, we emphasise that new signage should remain congruous with the established quality material shopfront character of the Bath conservation area, which covers the city centre as a whole. We therefore strongly recommend that an alternative, more appropriate form of signage is considered – the use of hand-painted lettering, or quality metal lettering in an appropriate finish may be better in keeping with both Bath’s historic and contemporary shopping streets, of which there are precedents in the Southgate area and on neighbouring shopfronts.
It is unclear as to why a new powder-coated aluminium fascia panel would be applied over the top of the existing timber shopfront. It has already been demonstrated that pinned lettering can be individually fixed to the existing timber fascia. The introduction of an aluminium fascia is therefore an unnecessary and materially discordant intervention and should be omitted.
This application is therefore contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, section 16 of the NPPF, and Policies B1, B4, BD1, CP6, D1, D2, D8, D9, and HE1 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan, and should be withdrawn or refused.