Yo! To Go, 1 Brunel Square, Bath
1 Brunel Square forms part of a Grade II* mid-19th century railway complex, including Bath Spa Station, by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, situated within the commercial core of the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. The building formed part of 2011 public realm redevelopment works, including the creation of Brunel Square, and the original vaulted arches have since been glazed over and converted to commercial use. The square forms a significant entry point for visitors coming into Bath via bus or train and is identified as a key public space within the City Centre Conservation Area Character Appraisal, whilst additionally contributing to the ancillary streetscape setting of multiple Grade II buildings at the entrance of Manvers Street. A large amount of outdoor seating has already been introduced outside a number of the arches, with varying external seating and boundary treatments between plots.
There appears to be some discrepancy between drawings, where the material of the proposed banner is alternatively described as “PVC mesh” or “canvas”. We recommend that this detail is regularised across the application for the sake of clarity, and express a preference for canvas barriers which would be more sympathetic to the traditional aesthetic of the conservation area.
We do have some concerns regarding the proposed ‘branded’ design of the barriers. We continue to strongly recommend that a plain, single colour design is selected and finalised as part of this application to ensure a clean, minimal appearance without the introduction of further, cluttering signage within the public realm. We acknowledge that there are already examples of this type of barrier on Brunel Square, but we do not feel that this adequately justifies the addition of further, similar barriers with resulting cumulative impact on the setting of a Grade II* building and the wider conservation area. Commercial outdoor seating should consider how it visually and materially interacts with and adds to the public realm, with a simple appearance being less visually intrusive and loud.
We note that the B&NES Design and Conservation Guidance on tables, chairs, and other outdoor seating states that “any advertising on barriers is unlikely to be acceptable”, and “only muted colours/subtle tones will normally be permitted, which complement the background of Bath stone.” Furthermore, the proposed barriers are 1100mm in height, but B&NES’ Design and Conservation Guidance on tables, chairs, and other outdoor seating paraphernalia states that low level moveable barriers should be no higher than 900mm from the ground.