Tortilla, 2 Cheap Street, City Centre, Bath
2 Cheap Street is an unlisted commercial building situated on the corner junction with Union Passage, situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. From the turn of the 20th century, it appears in its current form as a single shop frontage, but could be a substantially altered version of a series of mid- to late 19th century terraced shops. It forms part of the setting of a high concentration of late 18th and early 19th century Grade II listed buildings along Cheap Street and Union Passage. Whilst likely 20th century in origin, the existing timber shopfront with pilaster detailing does complement the established shopfront vernacular of the city centre and the wider conservation area.
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.
We are typically not supportive of illuminated signage, but acknowledge that there are already permitted downlights in situ that would be retained and used by the new building occupants.
We oppose the proposed use of acrylic lettering, which would be at odds with the traditional, high quality appearance of shop frontages within the conservation area. We are resistant to the introduction of more overtly modern materials such as acrylic and plastic which provide an unwelcome, unsympathetic contrast with the established character and appearance of the area. We strongly recommend that other forms of signage are considered such as hand-painted lettering across the fascia. Where high quality metal or timber lettering is proposed, individually mounted lettering may be considered favourably as an acceptable alternative.
The use of an acrylic projecting box sign is not appropriate within this location, and is more indicative of highly contemporary signage seen in the Southgate area. It is not compatible with the tradition of hand-painted hanging signage in Bath’s historic core, particularly in narrow shopping ‘lanes’ such as Union Passage. We strongly recommend a hand-painted sign is considered, with the use of a bespoke metal (iron?) bracket to reinforce local distinctiveness and preserve and enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area.
We are not opposed to the repainting of the fascia in red, so long as a suitably recessive, muted tone is selected to complement the natural Bath stone palette of the streetscape. Repainting in strident, visually jarring colours would not be supported.
This application 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, D9, and HE1 of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan, and should be refused or withdrawn.