Unit 3, 4 Foundry Lane, Westmoreland, Bath
The proposed unit occupies the central office range of the Grade II 19th century Newark Works, formerly the engineering works of Stothert and Pitt, situated within the World Heritage Site and the immediate indicative townscape setting of the Bath Conservation Area. It forms a prominent frontage along the arterial east-west thoroughfare of Lower Bristol Road into and out of the historic city centre. The premises makes up part of the recent redevelopment works to convert the Newark Works into a “Creative Employment Workspace (see 19/05069/FUL), to include an A3 (food and drink) premises within ‘Building 3’. As part of the development, the building’s south frontage would form part of the new area of public realm overlooking the River Avon, connecting with Green Park Road/Corn Street and the site of the anticipated Bath Quays North development.
BPT was previously (and remains) generally supportive of works to refurbish the listed building and bring it back into sustainable use, and we therefore continue to encourage works for its activation and associated contributions to the visual amenities of the streetscape and public realm.
We recognise the need for signage, associated with the premises’ A3 use, to advertise its presence and secure relevant economic/commercial benefits. There is also opportunity for the use of signage to help create and characterise this new area of public realm, with the intention of encouraging pedestrians and cyclists to use the new bridge and draw them across to this new creative industrial ‘quarter’.
However, BPT maintains a position against the use of acrylic signage which would be of material and aesthetic detriment to the special architectural and historic of a listed building and the contextual setting of the conservation area. Whilst not within the conservation area, the Newark Works directly faces onto the conservation area where the boundary aligns with the northern riverbank, and the site would form the principal ‘landing’ area for those using the new bridge to cross the river from the conservation area. Consideration as to sustaining the established character and appearance of the conservation area therefore remains contextually relevant.
The use of overtly contemporary materials such as acrylic is not compatible with the material palette and appearance of the listed building, and we strongly recommend that material alternatives are considered such as metal signage in a high quality finish. The use of a suitable metal sample may also better reflect the industrial qualities and historic context of the building.
We maintain strong heritage concerns regarding to the principle of illuminated signage where this would be of detriment to the special interest of a listed building and harm Bath’s locally distinctive low-illumination character and appearance.
There appears to be some form of signage within the distinctive circular window at first floor level in the proposed south elevation (likely a window vinyl?) and we recommend that further information is provided regarding all aspects of signage as part of proposals to allow for a more comprehensive overview of the changes proposed.
The proposed signage would be of detriment to the special architectural and historic interest of a listed building, 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.