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Bath - A World Heritage Site


Old Planning Enforcements

From Bath Shopfronts Guide:

Enforcements Policy

The new policy on enforcements:
If an enforcement case is pending and a retrospective planning application is raised, the enforcement case will be closed when the planning application is registered.  If the planning application is permitted, then that is the end of the matter.  If the planning application is refused, in future that refusal will automatically create a new enforcement case.

Colour:  No other single aspect of design has so much effect on the character of a shopfront than its colour.  A good design can be completely spoilt by poor colour, or a nondescript design uplifted by the right choice of colour.  Colour also has an effect on the Street Scene;  out of key or aggressive colour will be damaging to everything within the field of vision.

Signs:  The design and disposition of signs and the style of the lettering should always be historically credible and correct in design and detail for the design of the shopfront.

Illumination:  The character of a shopfront and of the street will be altered by external illumination.  This is often not acceptable, particularly where the shopfront is part of a listed building.

Appearance:  Changes of a radical nature such as moving door positions are not normally acceptable.  These may however be viewed more favourably if they can be shown to produce a permanent benefit such as the provision of a door to the upper floors.



Quick Finder   (Follow links for more information)

Location Enforcement Reference
 Abbey Churchyard, No.6 (Jacobs)  11/00090/LBWORK [24/2/11]
 Argyle Street, No.4 (Rajpoot)  09/00243/LBWORK
 Argyle Street, No.16 (Thai by the Weir)  10/00101/LBWORK [21/2/10]
 Avon Street, City of Bath College  [20/3/11]
 Bath Street, Little Theatre  08/00561/LBWORK  [17/1/09]
 Beauford Square, No.10  09/00064/LBWORK  [28/1/09]
 Belvedere, No.26  08/00728/LBWORK  [16/11/08]
 Broad Street, No.1 and Green Street, No.9
(Belushi, formerly St Christopher Inn)
 [Reopened when 09/00090/LBA was refused] 09/00193/LBWORK [15/11/09]
 Broad Street, No.2 (Phase Eight)  08/00624/LBWORK
[Closed when 08/03550/LBA permitted[11/12/08]
 Broad Street, No.4 (Kiss the Frog Again)  10/00669/ADVERT [12/12/10]
 Broad Street, Nos.38-41 (Rossiters of Bath)  08/00666/LBWORK [2/11/08]
 Broad Street, King Edward School  [Closed[26/7/09]
 Cheap Street, No.1 (Minerva Chocolate)  09/00242/LBWORK [10/5/09]
 Cheap Street, Nos.20-21 (Orange Telephone Shop)  08/00523/ADVERT  [1/3/09]
 Dorchester Street (former Argyll Hotel)  09/00602/LBWORK
[Wrongly Closed] [12/10/09]
 Dorchester Street, No.8 (Giraffe)  [20/3/11]
 Edgar Buildings, No.9 (Bath City Lets)  [31/5/09]
 Gay Street, No.36 (Empty shop) 10/00455/LBWORK
[Unsatisfactory Response[22/8/10]
 George Street, No.2-3 (Panasia Bar) 10/00543/LBWORK
[Unsatisfactory Response[22/8/10]
 George Street, No.11 (Shaw Trust)  [7/12/08]
 High Street, No.20 (Patisserie Valerie) 10/00243/LBWORK [7/5/10]
 Kingsmead Square, No.12 (Rosewell House)   08/00625/LBWORK
[Unsatisfactory Response[26/7/09]
 Kingston Buildings, Wild Planet exhibition   [10/4/11]
 Lansdown Road, No.3 Belvedere (Grappa Wine Bar)  09/00588/LBWORK [16/8/09]
 Lansdown Road, No.27A Belvedere (Microcola Computers)  09/00589/LBWORK [16/8/09]
 Lower Borough Walls, No.6 (David Ormerod)  10/00116/LBWORK [12/12/10]
 Lower Borough Walls, No.16 (Lloyds TSB)  08/00634/ADVERT [15/3/09]
 Lower Bristol Road, Camden Mill  08/00400/LBWORK
 Lower Bristol Road, Nos.85-86 (TP Windows)  08/00597/ADVERT
 Manvers Street (Dreams Bed Store)   09/00266/ADVERT  [26/4/09]
 Milsom Place, No.10 (Jamies Italian)  [12/10/08]
 Milsom Street, Nos.7-14 (Jollys) [Problematic Response[19/10/08]
 Milsom Street, No.15 (Cafe Rouge)   09/00702/LBWORK  [11/10/09]
 Milsom Street, No.31 (Paperchase)  09/00748/LBWORK [1/11/09]
 Milsom Street, No.32 (The former Hobbs)  
 Milsom Street, The Octagon  [11/10/09]
 Milsom Street, No.43 (Jamies Italian)  [Unsatisfactory Response[19/10/08]
 Moorland Road, Nos.30-31 (Velo Lounge)  09/00077/UNDEV  [15/3/09]
 New Bond Street, Post Office (L K Bennett)  08/00665/ADVERT  [20/12/09]
 New Bond Street, No.3 (Nokia)  08/00363/ADVERT  [1/3/09]
 Newmarket Row, No.6 (The Rummer)  [14/6/09]
 Northgate Street, No.13 (Headstart)  10/00584/ADVERT  [2/11/10]
 Northgate Street, Nos.15-16 (The White Company)  08/00559/LBWORK
 Nortumberland Place, No.16 (Former H A Pursey)  08/00598/LBWORK
 Old Bond Street, Nos.8-10 (Cecil Gee)  06/00297/LBWORK  [21/3/09] & 11/00091/LBWORK [24/2/11]
 Pierrepont Street, No.14-15 (Salathai)  09/00813/ADVERT [12/12/10]
 Pierrepont Street, No.12 (Yak Yeti Yak)  09/00759/LBWORK [1/11/09]
 Princes Buildings, No.1 (Andrews) 10/00530/LBWORK [1/10/10]
 Princes Buildings, No.4 (Jika Jika) 10/00454/LBWORK [22/8/10]
 Queen Square, (Beaujolais) [No longer Considered Closed] [31/5/09]
 Queen Street, No.10a, (The Wild Cafe)  09/00706/LBWORK [18/11/09]
 Queen Street, Nos.8-10, (The Harington Hotel)  09/00754/LBWORK [1/11/09]
 Saville Row, No.1 (Townsend Antiques) 08/00729/LBWORK [16/11/08]
 Shaftesbury Road, No.26A (was Consol Suncentre,
now glöden)
Was 10/00591/ADVERT  [21/11/10], now
10/00651/ADVERT  [26/11/10]
 South Parade, No.1, (Celsius Club)  09/00703/ADVERT [18/11/09]
 Southgate place, No.8 (Pizza Express) 10/00652/ADVERT [26/11/10]
 Southgate Street, No.1 (Plain Lazy) 10/00653/ADVERT [26/11/10]
 Southgate Street, No.11 (New Look) 09/00683/UNDEV [3/10/09]
 Southgate Street, No.32 (Cafe Fresca) 11/00128/ADVERT [11/3/11]
 Stall Street, No.2 (Prêt à Manger)  [10/5/09]
 Stall Street, No.6 (Sunglasses Hut)  [21/6/09]
 Terrace Walk, No.1 (The Huntsman) 10/00539/LBWORK [11/10/10]
 Terrace Walk, No.5 (Roman Candles)  [13/3/11]
 Terrace Walk, No.9 (Scoffs) 10/00022/LBWORK [10/1/10] &
11/00090/LBWORK [27/2/11]
 Union Passage, No.15 (Flight Centre)  09/00087/ADVERT  [1/3/09]
 Upper Borough Walls, No.1  09/00597/LBWORK [23/8/09]
 Upper Borough Walls, No.18  09/00715/LBWORK [18/11/09]
 Upper Borough Walls, Bluecoat School  [8/11/09]
 Victoria Buildings, No.2 (Bar 8)  
 Walcot Buildings, No.6 (Visions Windows) [Unsatisfactory Response[19/10/08]
 Westgate Buildings, Nos.11-12 (Cork) [6/12/09]
 Westgate Street, No.11 (Subway)  09/00169/LBWORK [29/11/09]
 Westgate Street, No.21 (Flan O’ Briens)  08/00662/LBWORK [19/10/08]
 Westgate Street, No.36 (Bench)  09/00782/LBWORK [15/11/09]
Scaffolding Offences  

Quick Notes

We have been reporting Enforcement cases, but reviewing major developments have taken most of our time, so we have not updated this page with our customary photographs and descriptions.  However, this quick list provides a record of what has been raised since the last detailed update.

3 Union Street - 10/00261/LBWORK.
Unauthorised work to the interior.
20 Union Passage - 10/00302/LBWORK.
Unauthorised repainting of the shop front. No response was received to our report to Enforcement, but since then the shop has ceased trading and the objectionable pink colour has been roughly overpainted a dark colour, again without listed building consent.
21-22 High Street - 10/00304/LBWORK.
Unauthorised work to the upper floors; it looks as though a ceiling has been removed.
9A York Street - 10/00310/ADVERT
Unauthorised advertisement outside "Scallywags".


Andrews - No.1 Princes Buildings

Acrylic sign[1/10/10] We reported unauthorised signage because of the history of the site.  Andrews applied for planning permission for illuminated stainless steel signs last September, and permission was refused on the grounds that it would be inappropriate for the listed building and conservation area.  Andrews appealed, and earlier this year the appeal was refused for the same reasons.

Wiring the signThe original Andrews sign was not illuminated.  We cannot say whether or not it was capable of being lit up, but we do know that it was never seen switched on.  However, in September, a workman was seen wiring up lights inside the sign (picture left) and since then the Andrews signs have blazed forth after dark, the brightest lights in this part of Bath.

Bearing in mind that planning permission was refused because illumination was inappropriate for the location, and the refusal was upheld on appeal, there is no planning argument against the acrylic lettering (even though it is inappropriate for this building).

The sigh lit upThe withdrawn planning application in April 2009 refers to halo lighting for it (even though there is no evidence it was ever used) and this latest sign is internally illuminated (as this blurry picture taken on a mobile phone shows), which has never been given permission.  We had no alternative but to report the offence to Enforcement.

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Argyll Hotel - Dorchester Street

Two of the shopfronts have recently been restored and painted.

Tea TimeThe Pantry

Signage has been painted onto the fascias.  We believe the restoration formed part of the original SouthGate proposals (97/01019/FUL).  However, we can find no drawings on that planning application showing the work that has just been carried out, nor any record of Listed Building Consent for the repainting or the signage.  The building is Grade II Listed and opposite the Grade II* Listed Brunel station complex, so its appearance is important.

Apart from being unauthorised, we believe the colour and font of the signwriting is inappropriate for a building of this period.

[12/10/09]Enforcement replied that these changes did not require planning permission, and the case was therefore closed.  That view is not supported by PPG15, which says that repainting which could affect the character needs listed building consent.  But we have to recognise that we and the Case Officer have different opinions on whether the character is affected, and if the case is declared closed, no action will be taken.

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Bar 8 - No.2 Victoria Buildings

Bar08 frontage 

[9/9/08] We have reported what we believe to be unauthorised signage and repainting to this listed building, and we are waiting for a response from the council.

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Bath City Lets - No.9 Edgar Buildings, George Street


[31/5/09]  Bath City Lets raised a retrospective planning application 09/00595/LBA, seeking to obtain approval for the signs already installed.  On 1st May 2009, the case officer refused permission on the grounds that the style and materials were inappropriate.

Enforcement action ceased when the planning application was raised.  Now that the application has been refused, enforcement action is again merited.

Original position

The new signsThis one has a complicated history.  A planning application was raised for alterations to the frontage and new signs (by Cluttons, the previous occupant).  This was refused, and the applicant appealed.  The appeal decision was issued on 30 July 2008.  The Inspector was happy with the amendments to the frontage (as was the Case Officer originally) but ruled:  I dismiss the appeal insofar as it relates to alterations to existing signage.  So even after the appeal, there is no planning permission to alter the signage.

Nevertheless, new signs have been installed.  It is unlikely that planning permission will be given for these, even retrospectively.  This is what the Inspector said about the plans:  The [previous] projecting sign is ... overly large with somewhat clumsy fixings and appearing out of place on Edgar Buildings, where there are no other fixed projecting or hanging signs.  There is no record of consent for the projecting sign however and ... I consider that it would be inappropriate to attach significant weight to any benefits of its replacement in determining the appeal.

As far as the proposed replacement signage is concerned, the Inspector was equally dismissive:

Close-up of signThe frontage of the [Edgar Buildings] group has a mainly uncluttered appearance which I consider benefits from the lack of projecting signage. As with the existing sign, in my opinion, the replacement sign would seem obtrusive and out of place. Its aluminium construction and vinyl applied graphics would also not accord with the SPG preference for use of natural materials appropriate to the character of the building.  The same reservation about materials would also apply to the proposed fascia signage, where the SPG indicates a preference for sign-writing rather than the painted aluminium and applied vinyl graphics now proposed.

I consider that in this case the signage proposals would be harmful to the character and special interest of the appeal premises.  They would also detract from the character and setting of the other properties in the Edgar Buildings group, as well as other nearby historic buildings, to the detriment of the character and appearance of the area in this important part of the World Heritage Site.

We have checked, and the Inspector is right, in that there are no projecting signs anywhere else along Edgar Buildings. We have therefore informed Enforcement that the signs have been erected by Bath City Lets without planning permission.

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Beaujolais - Queen Square

We have reported an "A" board that obstructs pedestrians when it is placed on a traffic island.  The Enforcement Officer conducted a site visit, but found no "A" board.  We have informed him of the time of day that it is placed there, and he will follow this up as a health and safety issue if it continues to obstruct the highway.

[5/10/08]  The use of the sign seems to have been discontinued, so the case has been closed by the Enforcement officer.  We will continue to watch.

[12/10/08]  And it is a good job we did continue to watch.  On at least two occasions, the last being on Saturday 11 October, the "A" board was seen back on the traffic Island.  Enforcement have been informed.

[31/5/09]  On 21 May 2009, the "A" board was once again blocking the traffic island.  We photographed it as evidence for Enforcement.

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Beauford Square - No.10

This one has an interesting history.  Originally planning applications 06/03628/FUL and 06/03629/LBA were raised to change the building from a single dwelling into mixed use containing both retail and residential.  Planning permission was refused by the council and the case officer commented that although the internal alterations were fairly sensitive to the building, which was described as a time capsule of original features, the external work would destroy the character of the rear elevation.  However the applicants got permission on appeal.

Now that work has started, the plans in the planning application seem to have been forgotten.  Sensitive conversion has given way to a total gutting of the interior that can be seen from the street.  The promise in the Design and Access Statement to restore using the same materials as the original, has been abandoned with steel beams carried into a building that was previously only stone and timber.  This isn't a restoration, it is a wreck and rebuild as cheaply as possible:  sheer vandalism and perhaps a total loss of irreplaceable historic features.

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Belushi, Formerly St Christopher Inn - No.9 Green Street

Rope lighting[15/11/09] The owners of Belushis continue to show contempt for the listed building in their care.

Black attachmentNow they have installed rope lighting on the balustrade above the premises, and to make sure that it really stands out as something out of place, they have used black cable ties to attach it.

WiringThe icing on the cake is the electrical cable, carefully positioned to make the worst possible contrast with the listed balustrade.  Given that this part of Bath is a low luminosity district, the lighting itself is inappropriate, and the fixings and wiring emphasise that.  But the whole treatment of the building appears to be attempting to attract as much attention as possible.  We can only hope that this is a sign of desperation and that the business might fold if it doesn't attract more custom.  Then perhaps we might see somebody take it over that has some respect for what is an important building in Bath.  Unfortunately, by then there might be a huge amount of damage to repair.

One fixing[1/11/09]  The owners of Belushis seem intent on causing as much damage as they can to their listed building.

Other fixingThe latest additions are a cupboard latch (pictured left) and a "T" bracket to hold the bottom of their unauthorised menu board in position after the hooks they used previously were ripped out.

It is unlikely that these barely adequate fixings will survive for long, and then there will be even more damage to the ancient fabric.

Menu board[11/10/09]  The owners of Belushis continue to ignore planning regulations.. This time, without applying for planning permission, they decided to fix menu boards to the historic balustrades either side of the doorway, which are still painted in the unsuitable paint that was refused planning permission.

DamageAnd it wasn't long before the stupidity of this choice of position and method of fixing became apparent.  the picture on the left shows the damage that was caused when vandals pulled on the menu boards.  Those balustrades had survived in place for well over a century and Belushis have managed to ruin one of them in just a few weeks.

[19/4/09]  On 16th March 2009, planning application 09/00090/LBA for listed building consent was refused on the grounds that the lighting proposed was inappropriate and unnecessary.  Because that planning application also sought retrospective permission for the change of paint colour, and it has been refused, the change of paint colour once again becomes an enforcement issue.  And to complete the set, the corresponding planning application 09/00089/FUL was refused on 17th April 2009.

[1/2/09]  On 29th January, Enforcement notified us that the Swan-neck lights had been removed as requested by them, and therefore they were closing the enforcement case.  We took a look, and the lights are gone, but their mounting boxes and wiring remain, so they could be put back very easily.  Nevertheless, we are content to mark the action completed.  We could always reopen the case if the lights are restored.  Meanwhile, we are examining the two new planning applications:  09/00090/LBA for listed building consent and 09/00089/FUL for planning permission which have been raised for retrospective permission for the external changes made (although the documentation points out that the trough lights proposed are new) to check whether they cover all the changes we have noticed have been made to the building.  We will raise further enforcement action on any omissions.

[21/12/08]  Planning applications 08/04001/LBA for listed building consent and 08/04000/FUL for planning permission were raised on 24 October for retrospective permission for the changes made.  We objected to them:  the changes made are inappropriate for such a prominent listed building.  On the 17th December 2008, the planning application for the fascia lighting was refused permission.  On the 18th December 2008, the listed building application for the lighting was also refused permission.  Their continued presence now becomes an enforcement issue, as does the change of colour of the frontage for which permission has not yet been sought. 

[28/9/08]  We were informed that a site visit has taken place and the complaint has been served on Belushi's in writing.  

St Christopher frontThis Listed Building shop front has been repainted.  New Fascias have been installed.  New signs have been installed.  New swan-neck lighting has been added to the outside, with visible wiring strung along the outside of the building. The historic balustrades have been covered in gloss paint.

The colours chosen are not from the palette normally enforced for listed buildings in the central area.  The swan-neck lighting is specifically mentioned in the council's Shopfront Guide as unacceptable in any circumstances, as is visible wiring; illuminated signs are listed as usually unacceptable.

Also, the interior appears to have been gutted, and council officers have been assigned to check the full extent of the work that has been done.  We believe a period fireplace has been removed, but have no photographic evidence of what was there before.

This is one of the worst destructions of a listed building we have seen, and we can find no planning application for these changes.

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The Belvedere - No.26

We have reported possible unauthorised listed building work

The ground floor interior has been gutted leaving the lath and plasterwork exposed.

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Bench - No.36 Westgate Street

This listed building has been repainted without applying for planning permission.

Before After

The guidance normally given is that repainting in the same colour, or close to the previous colour can be done as permitted development, but a significant change of colour requires listed building consent.  So the above pictures show the before and after colours for comparison (the "After" picture on the right was taken on a mobile phone, so there is not the same picture quality - sorry).

If only the shop front had been repainted, we might not have considered it serious enough to be an enforcement issue, but the side wall has been painted too.  This does cause concern, because painted Bath stone can deteriorate badly and rapidly if the wrong type of paint is used.  If planning permission is granted, it normally includes a condition on preparing the surface for paint, and the type of paint to use.  So this now must be enforced so that the Historic Environment Team can comment on a retrospective Listed Building application.

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Bluecoat School - Upper Borough Walls

Sign on wallWe have noticed a huge sign that has been fixed to the wall of the Grade II listed Bluecoat School without listed building consent.  Holes have been drilled into the stonework for screw fixings, and (as shown below) for eyebolts.

Hook in wall 

Apart from the physical damage to the outside, the banner covers windows and spoils the proportions of the outside appearance.

No matter how respected the charity is, or how valuable to Bath their plans for Bluecoat School are, this lack of respect for an iconic listed building is worrying.  Are they going to similarly abuse the inside when they have raised their funds and started any conversion work needed?

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Butter Pat - No.18 Upper Borough Walls

Original colourNew colourThe Butter Pat has repainted its Grade II listed shop without listed building consent.  Compare the original colour on the left with the new colour on the right.  The new colour scheme has been carried round to the side, see picture below right.

Side viewWhether the new colour is acceptable is not the issue.

PPG15 requires listed building consent to be given where external redecoration is other than like with like, and the two shades of blue are  very clearly different.

If consent is sought and granted, it allows the preparation, the paint finish and any repairs to be controlled by condition to preserve the character of the building. So we are reporting this as an enforcement case with the expectation that a retrospective Listed Building application will be raised.

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Cafe Fresca - No.32 Southgate Street

Cafe FrescaThis premises was originally the Post Office in Southgate Street.  When it closed, it was converted into a cafe.  That cafe traded for a while but appeared to be closed down by mid-February 2011.

It then was renamed Cafe Fresca, was repainted a different colour and floodlighting for the fascia was installed.  As can be seen from the photograph.  Tables and chairs also appeared in front.

Illuminated signage in this location requires Conservation Area consent and Advertising consent, neither of which have been applied for.  Nor has there been any application for the tables and chairs.  When notified of these breaches, Enforcement allocated case number 11/00128/ADVERT.

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Cafe Rouge - No.15 Milsom Street

Cafe RougeWe have reported this premises because  although there is a planning application awaiting determination, work has started already.

We have commented on the planning application recommending that it is refused permission, not because there was anything particularly unacceptable, but because the documentation was ambiguous and in places contradictory, so we were unable to judge exactly what the final product would look like.

It is likely that the applicant could have obtained planning permission with some modifications to the design and an improvement in the documentation.  There is no obvious reason for the impatience being shown.

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Camden Mill - Lower Bristol Road

We reported to Enforcement that the "Cowshed" being built in the Camden Mill car park (picture on the Camden Mill page) was very different from the structure that was given planning permission (application 06/02787/FUL).

Mesh wallEnforcement closed the case saying it was close enough to the original plans.  At that time, the building work was still in progress.  Since then, the situation has got worse.  Lights have been added to the front (which were never mentioned on the plans), and wire mesh has been installed on the elevation facing the river.  What a scruffy view of a listed building is now offered to those in the conservation area on the north bank.

We are considering whether to take this one up again.

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Cecil Gee - Nos.8-10 Old Bond Street

This enforcement case was re-activated by the case officer dealing with planning application 08/04585/LBA, which was for repairs to the structure of the basement vaults and the repainting of the shop front in corporate colours.  While granting planning permission, the case officer noted in his report that an earlier planning application (02/01983/LBA) specified painted signage, yet stand-off fascia signage had been installed.  An earlier and hitherto dormant enforcement report has now been allocated an enforcement officer, to ensure that when the shopfront is repainted, the fascia has painted signage and the existing stand-off signs are not retained.

We applaud the thoroughness of the case officer in ensuring that he did not give tacit approval to the unauthorised signage currently in place, although we still think that the colour permitted is too dark for the age of the building and its location.  We also still have concerns about the condition of some of the timber to be painted, and wish that permission had been granted that the rotted sections of timber should be replaced rather than painted over.

In January 2011, planning applications 11/00270/LBA and 11/00278/AR were raised.  Until they have been determined, the enforcement cases will be considered closed.

[24/2/11]  Despite the above planning applications still being open for public consultation and not yet due to be determined, work was seen to be started inside and this was reported to Enforcement.  A new case number 11/00091/LBWORK was allocated.

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The Celsius Club - No.1 South Parade

New Celsius signThe Celsius Club is in a Grade I listed building, where alterations have to be approved by the Secretary of State rather than the Local Authority.

Despite this, the new advertisement pictured has appeared without even asking for advertising consent.  Normally on a Grade I listed building the colours, materials and method of fixing will be tightly controlled, and we have our doubts whether if permission is sought, that this will meet the standards desired.

However, having attracted our attention to the building with the new sign, we notice in the photograph a motley collection of lights and wires which probably do not have planning permission either.  If that is the case, this will be a classic own goal!

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City of Bath College - Avon Street

Part demolished[20/3/11] The City of Bath College (still often referred to by its former description, the Technical College) obtained planning permission for its application 10/04047/FUL for new construction in place of the King's Building.  There were several conditions attached to that permission, but one in particular stated that No development shall take place within the site (including any site clearance or demolition works) until specified drawings have been produced and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority.  We have found an application 11/00338/COND for to discharge that (and other) conditions but on 20th March 2011 it was shown as Pending Consideration.

So the works that we spotted and photographed:  the demolition of part of the boundary wall on 3rd March (which pre-dates the revised drawings on the Conditions application) and the partial demolition of the King's Building (pictured here, photograph dated 17th March) are in breach of the planning conditions.

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The Cork - Nos.11-12 Westgate Buildings

Work starts[31/5/09]  We first reported this enforcement case when we noticed that work had started (picture right) despite conditions attached to the consent for planning application 08/02020/FUL, which required an archaeological survey before any work started.  Not only was there no trace of any application to have the conditions discharged, we couldn't match the work that was taking place with the appearance of the extension that had been granted planning permission (below left).

From the plansWhen we reported the work in progress to Enforcement we were informed that there was another application 09/00892/FUL that was awaiting a decision.   This was an astonishing reply.  A planning application that is pending is no authority to start work, and it certainly can't be used to justify the destruction of important archaeology (the medieval city wall is thought to run through the site, and we had photographed shaped Bath stone among the pile excavated by the digger).

Work in progressAccording to the planning application register, application 09/00892/FUL was given consent on 27 May 2009, although the actual consent letter has not yet been placed with the on-line documents.

However none of the drawings in that planning application show the structures that have been built.  Inside the shuttering on the right hand side of the picture on the right cement has been poured over ducting that carries electrical wiring.

We have been informed that the shuttering has now been removed, leaving a cement plinth on which is a substantial cement structure with electrical wiring emerging on both sides.  Neither of the two planning applications show such a structure, and the Transport Strategy document makes it clear that the premises will be serviced from the street, so why something that looks like a driveway has been formed is not apparent.  But what is clear is that nothing that has been erected so far has planning permission.

[6/12/09]  Finally, a retrospective planning application 09/04041/FUL has been raised.  It does not cover all the features currently installed.

June photoIt certainly doesn't cover the work that took place on the garden bed behind Number 13, which would be listed as part of the curtilage of that premises.  The site boundary in the planning application shows that this garden bed is outside the application area.  The picture at the top of this section is not ideal, but it clearly shows beyond the fenced section, shrubs growing in the garden bed behind Number 13.

November pictureThe picture on the right was taken a month later.  Note the shrubs have been removed.  Note also the comparative height of the wall compared with the plant tub on the Cork boundary, and the fact that the stone on the corner of the bed has an uneven finish.  Now compare it with the picture on the left from the Design and Access Statement, which shows that the wall is now higher and the stones on the corner have been altered.

Remember that this is a listed structure belonging to Number 13, altered without Listed Building consent.  Remember too that this walling is outside the boundary of the planning application site, and outside of the ownership of the Cork.  They have arbitrarily altered the garden bed of the neighbouring property, without permission.  This looks to us that the owners of Number 13 could pursue a claim for criminal damage and trespass.

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David Ormerod - No.6 Lower Borough Walls

Repainted shopThis business occupies a listed building on a corner site, and it was repainted, provided with new signs and opened for business in March 2010 without applying for Listed Building consent or Advertising Consent.

The effect in this case is not unpleasant, but the Listed Building legislation makes it clear that a significant change of colour should be preceded by planning consent, and it remains important that such work does secure the necessary permissions so that a lack of enforcement here cannot be quoted as a precedent for another business making significant changes to the appearance of their own premises having choosing a completely unacceptable colour scheme.

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Dreams Bed Store - Manvers Street

Dreams StoreWe have reported new illuminated signage.

This is not a listed building (it is a post-war building infilling space left by wartime bombing), but illuminated signs require planning permission, and none has been applied for.

We think that the premises is obvious enough to passers by and there is no need for illumination.

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Flan O’Briens - No.21 Westgate Street

Scaffolding has been erected around Flan O’Briens but there appears to be no listed building application for work affecting the external appearance of a listed building (there was an application granted in 2003 but that is now time expired).  It is possible that the work planned falls under the category of "permitted development", but we have asked Enforcement to investigate, just in case something more than that is intended.

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Flight Centre - No.15 Union Passage

Flight Centre signs 

We could find no planning application for the signs that have been installed, so these appear to be unauthorised shop signs and illumination.

The Enforcement Officer has responded with information on a planning application.

[7/12/08]  Planning application No 08/04264/AR was submitted to the Local Planning Authority on the 18th November but at the present time the document set is declared invalid.  No further enforcement action can be taken until after the planning application has been accepted as valid and a decision has been reached.

We will update again when the planning application is available for public comment.

[21/12/08]  On 9th December the planning application 08/04264/AR was validated (the applicant had initially got the address wrong).  No further enforcement action can be taken until after the planning application has been available for public comment and a decision has been reached.  The Enforcement case 08/00521/ADVERT was therefore closed.

[1/3/09]  The planning application was subsequently refused on 3 February 2009, (rightly so in our view because the hanging sign dwarfs the other signs in Union Passage and the illumination is unnecessary, and indeed excessive), so we have reported the signs to Enforcement again, and it has been allocated a new case reference.  No enforcement action will be taken until 31 March 2009 though because the applicants have the opportunity to appeal against the refusal within 8 weeks of the decision, and Enforcement have to wait to see if they do.

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Gay Street - No.36 - Empty shop

Shop frontAccording to our records, this shop front, now painted pale yellow, was dark blue.  We also heard sounds of work going on inside with dust coming out of the building into the street.

As the signs on railings show, there are outstanding planning applications:  we found five outstanding planning applications for this property:  10/03108/FUL, 10/03110/LBA, 10/03112/LBA, 10/03113/FUL, and 10/03114/LBA.  None have been given permission yet, and none of them cover a change of external colour.

We have been allocated enforcement number 10/00455/LBWORK, and await further news.

On 26 August 2010 we received a response from Enforcement that the paint colour was approved at the pre-application consultation stage.  However a pre-application can only offer an opinion, it cannot approve anything, so a listed building application for the change of colour is still necessary.

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Giraffe - No.8 Dorchester Street

Complete frontEven for Southgate where grotty shopfronts regularly devalue what was originally intended to be a prestige development, the installation of the Giraffe signage without planning permission is exceptional.

The area in front of the premises is adequately illuminated by overhead lights as part of the design of Southgate, and the Shopfronts Guide makes it very clear that swan necked lamps are unacceptable in a Conservation Area.  Yet look at what has been installed without permission (picture right).

Illuminated entranceWhen the power is switched on the effect is even more garish, with a mix of LEDs, bulbs and neon tubes.  Even "low energy" lamps use some electricity, and when the illumination is unnecessary as this is, it is a waste;  it is also incompatible with the aspirations of a low carbon Bath.

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Grappa Wine Bar - No.3 Belvedere, Lansdown Road

Grappa's BannerFor the past six to eight months (and so for most of 2009 so far) a banner has been placed across the windows of the listed building between two protruding brackets. (Picture right)

Since our photograph was taken, this banner was taken down and replaced by a new banner in exactly the same position, though we have not yet photographed that one.

The banners obscure architectural features of the listed building and impact on the setting of the building.  We assume that unless we report them they could become a permanent though unauthorised  feature, judging from the length of time they have been on display already.  They must surely require some form of consent therefore.

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Harington Hotel - Nos.8-10 Queen Street

The new pinkThe Harington Hotel has repainted its doors - in bright pink.

Red originallyThere is ample evidence that it was a different colour originally, because the hotel supplied a photograph to Yellow Pages.  It is a low resolution picture, partially reproduced left, but even in that grainy image it is very obvious that the door is very definitely not pink.

Hotel signWe notice too that the same pink colour appears on a hanging sign outside the hotel, pictured right.  And we wonder whether these are new corporate colours

Whatever the reason, a significant change of colour should only take place after planning permission has been granted.

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Headstart - No.13 Northgate Street

Offending signs 

New signs have been installed over the doorway, completely hiding the decorative moulding that makes an important contribution to the street scene.

The signs also block part of the doorway, covering up the view of the entrance transom.

To add insult to injury, one of the companies has also erected an "A" board on the pavement, which isn't generously wide at that point.

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The Former Hobbs - No.32 Milsom Street

Hobbs SignageThe sign that has been installed is different to the one given planning permission.  Light fittings were also installed for which there was no planning application.

The illumination was removed the sign remains.

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The Huntsman - No.1 Terrace Walk

The Huntsman

There is a planning application pending, 10/03770/LBA for internal alterations.  However, it has not yet been granted consent;  the Public Consultation period still has two weeks to run.

Nevertheless, scaffolding has been erected (though thankfully without drilling into the building, which is known to be fragile), and workmen have been see inside through some of the windows.

At best they have jumped the gun;  at worst they have started work on something that will be refused permission.  So reported it to Enforcement to check.

We have been allocated enforcement number 10/00539/LBWORK, and await further news.

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Jacobs - No.6 Abbey Churchyard

Jacobs new signThis business has just taken over the premises from Juice Moose who repainted its shopfront without listed building consent and consequently became an Enforcement case.  We believe that consent is essential, even if the colour is acceptable, because it allows the conservation officer to place conditions on methods and finishes.

There was nothing inherently wrong with the colour chosen by Juice Moose, except that it didn't have planning permission.  Jacobs have so far not changed the main shopfronts.

But what Jacobs have done is repainted the fascia (and both the window heads around the corner under the colonnade) without applying for listed building consent.  This is a Grade II listed building partially under a Grade I listed colonnade and it is also part of the listed Abbey environs, so its appearance is particularly sensitive.

It is also notable that Jacobs have continued to place the same or similar tables and chairs outside, when Juice Moose had not been granted permission for them and were required to remove them.  The presence of tables and chairs in this photograph is a second enforcement issue.

We expect Enforcement to ask for a Listed Building application for the change of fascia colour.  We will not be surprised to see the same application requesting permission for tables and chairs outside.  We will object to the tables and chairs, as we did last time.

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Jamies Italian - No.43 Milsom Street & 10 Milsom Place

Jamies SignsThere is a new planning application 08/03676/AR for signs for "Jamies Italian", one being externally illuminated.  The application is brand new, registered on 1st October, and no site notices have been put up yet.  Nor are the documents available on-line yet, so there is no definitive description of what is planned.  There is a clue to what the signs might look like in one of the documents raised for the listed building application for 43 Milsom Street, 08/03669/LBA, for which documents are available, and we can see that alterations are planned for the upper floors.

The problem is that there are signs in place, though not in the positions shown in the planning application, and the restaurant is open for business despite the public consultation period running to 9th November for the listed building application, and 21 days after the site notice is place for the advertising application.  Because part of the listed building application was the replacement of services and alteration of layout in preparation for the use of the third floor for restaurant seating, it seems likely that this has gone ahead as well as the signs.

Regardless of the acceptability or otherwise of the alterations and signs, planning permission should be granted before works starts.  Supposing the listed building application is refused?  Does the applicant have sufficient records of what changes were made to the listed building in order to restore it to its former state?  Supposing planning permission is granted?  Is the restaurant going to remove its signs from their current positions and place them where the planning application shows them?

[19/10/08]  We have received a response from the Enforcement Officer explaining that the Conservation Officer was aware that the work has started whilst there is an application to be determined, but he didn't think that there were any issues associated with the application which is expected to be granted consent, so it would not be expedient to take enforcement action.

There are two things wrong with this.  Firstly, the work already carried out does not follow the drawings in the planning application, so even if permission is granted there remains an enforcement issue.  Also, the planning application is still in the public consultation phase, and the Conservation Officer, who is also the Case Officer is not supposed to pre-judge an application before having considered all the comments made by the statutory consultees, the council departments and the public.  We think that this statement proves that the case officer is not impartial, and therefore the casework should be transferred to another case officer.

[21/12/08]  On 26th November 2008 the listed building application was given consent, despite the fact that the signage installed is different from that given permission.  On 3rd December 2008 the application for advertising consent was given permission, but only after revised drawings had been received so that the application matched the signs installed.

So now we have the ridiculous situation where the signs installed have advertising consent but not listed building consent because of the shoddy work of the listed building Case officer.  All we can do now is let Enforcement pursue a resolution.

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Jika Jika - No.4 Princes Buildings

Jika Jika shopfrontThe one large and two small menu boards screwed to the pilasters have no planning permission.  The only recent planning applications for this premises relates to the restoration of the shop blind.

Our particular concern is that the smaller menu boards overhang the entrance, and therefore it is possible that someone coming out could bump into one and rip the screws out of the pilaster, damaging the historic fabric.

We have been allocated enforcement number 10/00454/LBWORK, and await further news.

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Jollys - Nos.7-14 Milsom Street

Jolly's WindowWe reported Jolly's to Enforcement because the windows were obscured with vinyl graphics.

We have received a response from Enforcement explaining that the signs in the windows are only temporary signs which will be removed once the end of season sale has finished, so it would not be expedient to carry out enforcement action.

We can sympathise with this point of view to some extent:  there are certainly worse offences than a temporary infringement in this list of ours; ones that need Enforcement's action to prevent them becoming permanent.

But there was a planning application 08/00205/AR for vinyl signs on Jolly's windows which was refused on the grounds that they would be "harmful to the visual amenity of the area including the appearance of the Grade II listed building".  Like the current temporary signs the refused ones covered the whole window and blocked all views of the goods in the shop; and that is why we reported the sale promotion signs.

We think that as a minimum, Enforcement should inform Jollys that enforcement action will be taken if they repeat this offence, and that in future all sales promotions should retain the appearance of a shop window with views through it.

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King Edwards School - Broad Street  [Considered Closed]

This is an enforcement with a difference. We were concerned about the vegetation growing in front of the school, because if ignored, the roots can do considerable damage.  The council's Enforcement group deal with planning enforcements, and this was a problem of a state of increasing dereliction, which is not a planning matter, so we couldn't report it to Enforcement.

PosyBut we remembered that the UNESCO Mission had expressed an interest in the fact that the Grade II* listed building was on the English Heritage "At Risk" list, so we passed our concerns to the World Heritage Manager.  What happened next was a wonderful surprise.  The "Before" picture below shows what we reported.  The "After" picture was taken just four hours later.  Further work the following day resulted in a weed free frontage, but we had no camera to record it that day.  So a well earned bouquet goes jointly to the World Heritage Manager and to the company that owns the site:  we couldn't have wished for a better response.



Before Four hours later

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Kiss The Frog Again - No.4 Broad Street

Offending shopfrontThis is a listed building that has installed some uncharacteristic lettering on the fascia and a model of Kermit sitting in a chair above it, both without Listed Building consent or Advertising Consent.

This area has some of the oldest buildings in Broad Street and should always apply for (and wait for) consent before making significant changes to appearance.

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L K Bennett - Post Office, New Bond Street

Bennett's signs[19/10/08]  Listed building consent (07/02887/LBA) was granted for bronze metal letters spelling L.K.Bennett to be fixed to the wall of the Post Office building in the positions shown in the picture on the right, and also higher up to the left of the words "POST OFFICE" (and out of shot).  The drawings given approval show the high level sign mounted proud of the surface on studs and the low level signs described as "Lettering to be applied hard up to stonework".

LetteringHowever, the low level signs have also been fitted proud of the stone surface.
The letteringIn the two pictures on the left (one taken perpendicular, the other from angle) it is just possible to see the shadows formed by the letters because there is a gap between the letters and the stonework.

Close-up of a letterIn close-up, the spacers behind this letter can be clearly seen.  It is our opinion that the method of fixing for the high-level sign has been used in error on the lower lettering.

This makes them and the stone behind vulnerable to vandalism:  it will be easy to insert a lever behind and prize them off, which could just remove the letter, but more likely will remove the mounting and a section of stone.

So we believe that Enforcement should ensure that the lettering is installed according to the permission granted, to protect the Post office wall from possible future damage

Bennett's signs[6/9/09]  We said that the low level signs were vulnerable to vandalism and that damage to the stone could result.  And this picture on the right shows what the wall under the letters that have been removed look like today.  The left and right signs now look like this:

Bennett's signsBennett's signs

Hopefully, the shop owners will not just replace the missing letters, but will install the signs that they were given planning permission for.  And hopefully, Enforcement will urge them to do so.

New sign[20/12/09]  We notice that L K Bennett have now removed the lettering that stood proud of the stonework and vulnerable to vandalism, and have replaced them with letters applied hard up to the stonework, which is what they got planning permission for.  We notice that the drawings given listed building consent had upper case lettering and what has now been installed is lower case lettering, but we would expect Enforcement to ignore that minor difference.

Stone damageHowever, before closing the Enforcement case we urge that action is taken to repair the damage to the stonework.  The picture on the left shows some of the holes left in the stone after the original letters were removed (and we have deliberately shown this part of the sign because this is the location that was not vandalised).  The holes are where the letters were removed to be replaced, and nobody thought to repair the holes left.  We urge Enforcement to ensure that this damage is made good, using the methods and materials specified by the Heritage Environment Team, before this enforcement case is closed.

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Little Theatre - Bath Street

Little's lights[17/1/09]  Watchdog received an e-mail from a sharp-eyed member of the public who informed us that exterior lighting had been installed, apparently without listed building consent.  We took photographs, and referred them to Enforcement.  As far as we are concerned, not only should such changes have been made only after planning permission has been granted, but in this case even if permission had been sought, it should have been refused because this style of lights with its visible wiring is contrary to the Shopfronts Guide. 

The Enforcement Officer has acknowledged our report and has registered the issue as Unauthorised Listed Building Works and has promised to keep us informed of developments.  We will put updates here as we receive them.

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Lloyds TSB - No.16 Lower Borough Walls

Lloyds signsUnauthorised signage has been installed.  This has an unusual history.

Planning application 07/02195/LBA was for protruding "3D" signs and was refused permission on 5th September 2007 on the grounds of wrong materials, scale and style.  Then application 08/02405/AR was raised proposing a different scheme of flat, non-illuminated signage, but the case officer decided that for what was proposed, advertising consent was not required.

Last week Lloyds installed the signage that had been refused in 07/02195/LBA, not that described in 08/02405/AR, hence the reason why we have reported this to Enforcement.

Lloyds then raised another planning application, 08/03201/LBA for internal alterations and this was granted consent, and in the case officer's report it lists the planning history including the comment that the enforcement case has been closed, though we have not formally been informed of whether it is true, and if it is, the reason why it is closed.

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Microcola Computers - No.27A Belvedere, Lansdown Road

Microcola sign[16/8/09]  This premises is the former Sofa Workshop business.  It has recently been redecorated and new lettering been erected for its new occupants.  Although the lettering is not illuminated, and therefore there is no need to apply for advertising consent, it has been installed on, and has changed the appearance of, a listed building, and that should only be done with Listed  Building Consent.  That consent has not been applied for.

This lettering is black shiny plastic which we believe is unacceptable on a listed building in a Conservation Area where hand painted signs on a timber fascia or fret cut wooden lettering mounted on the fascia are the norm.  At this stage although the work is minimal the lettering requires Listed Building consent, and if the current sign is proposed in the application, we shall object on the grounds of inappropriate materials.

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Minerva Chocolate - No.1 Cheap Street

[26/4/09]  We reported this business when they painted over their rear shopfront (on the Abbey side), changing the colour from pale green to chocolate brown.  We also noticed that it was not a well executed redecoration, with visible plugs filling holes and visible brush marks left.  Later we noticed that the sign at the front (Cheap Street side) had also been changed.

Back window Front window

The Enforcement Officer replied that after liasing with the Historic Environment team the colour was considered acceptable.

This response is perplexing.  PPG15 makes it clear that a significant change of colour on a listed building needs Listed Building permission, and this is a Grade I listed building so the council cannot grant permission without referring the decision to the Secretary of State.  We have communicated that, and wait for enforcement action to follow

Letters missing[31/5/09]  The shopfronts guide recommends that signs on listed buildings should be hand painted onto a timber fascia.  This newly spotted damage to the unauthorised sign for Minerva Chocolate demonstrates the wisdom of that advice.  We trust that Enforcement will now ensure that this listed building is fitted with a traditional style sign.  We shall be keeping a very close eye on this building to ensure that the unauthorised lettering is not restored.

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New Look - No.11 Southgate Street

[3/10/09]  Work started on installing a shopfront into this part of the Southgate Development while the planning applications were still to be determined.  Subsequently, revised drawings were lodged, so that it is not clear whether what is currently being installed in to match the original drawings that were in place when the work started or the revised ones (or indeed something different entirely).

This shopfront affects the settings of listed buildings, so it is important what the shopfront looks like, and we are very clear that neither the original drawings nor the replacements will be suitable.  We have objected to planning permission being granted.

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Nokia Shop - No.3 New Bond Street

[7/12/08]  The Enforcement Officer reports that has sought the advice of the Historic Environment Team, and is awaiting a response.  No action will be taken until this response is received.

Unauthorised signage has been installed.  We have reported this to Enforcement and have been allocated a reference number, but the signs are still in place at the time of writing [21/9/08]. (Picture to follow)

There was a planning application raised for retrospective permission for the signs, but this was refused permission on 21 April 2008 on the grounds that plastic materials standing proud of the fascia is inappropriate for a listed building.

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The Octagon - Milsom Street

Octagon Sign[11/10/09]  The Octagon is Grade I listed, so any changes to the building have to have the permission of the Secretary of State.  The building first came to our attention when a sign was hung above the door to advertise an exhibition.  We reported it to Enforcement, and the sign was quickly taken down.  But it was a temporary victory, because the next exhibition has abused the building even more, as pictured right.

Octagon SignThe hooks that the first sign hung on were not removed (even though Enforcement asked for that to happen), and now a new sign has been hung on the retained hooks, as pictured on the left.  Not only does it hide the name "Octagon" making it difficult for strangers to identify the building, this sign swings in the wind and damages the stonework when it does.

Mounting hookBut that is not all.  In order to mount the canvas signs on the pillars, hooks have been screwed into the stonework, as this picture shows.  Clearly now there is not just an enforcement issue to get the unauthorised signs removed, but the damage made to the historic fabric needs to be properly repaired.

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Orange Telephone Shop - Nos.20-21 Cheap Street

Orange shopfront 

Planning application 08/01807/AR was refused permission on 1 August 2008.  Nevertheless, the signs in the refused application have been installed (our photograph was taken on 18 August 2008).

Since then, the shopfront has been painted black, again without planning permission.  The refused sign remains.

[1/3/09]  When we checked the current position under the new policy, we discovered that our original report had been closed because of the retrospective planning application had been raised, so we have re-reported the signs, pointing out that the application had been refused, and on 10 February 2009 the Enforcement Officer confirmed that a new case had been opened.

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Panasia Bar - Nos.2-3 George Street

Panasia BarBy pure luck, one of our members was passing with a camera and noticed this shopfront in the process of being painted black.  Closer inspection gave the suspicion that significant work was taking place inside, despite the recent planning applications 10/01027/LBA (covering work in the basement) and 10/02600/LBA (covering work in the restaurant area) both having been refused on the grounds that they would be too damaging to the listed building.  Neither of these applications included a change of colour to the outside of the building.

Of particular concern is whether the Corinthian columns have been damaged by incorrect preparation or use of incorrect materials.  These columns are 40 years older than the rest of the shopfront, having been rescued from another building, and therefore have a particular importance.

We reported the work taking place and were allocated an enforcement number, and on 26 August 2010 we were informed that "the paint colour was authorised by the case officer".  However, it wasn't.  Both planning applications were refused permission, and neither application requested a change of colour.  Also the response does not address the work being carried out internally, and both refusals explicitly stated that this internal work is unacceptable.  So why aren't these refusals being enforced?

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Paperchase - No.31 Milsom Street

paperchase shopfrontThe Paperchase shopfront used to be white.  No planning application has been found, yet this listed building has now been repainted green.

Repainting in the same colour is permitted development, but a complete change of colour requires listed building consent.  That way, any necessary repairs, preparation and paint finishes can be conditioned.

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Patisserie Valerie - 20 High Street

Unauthorised work to the interior was first reported in May, while the shop was still showing "Sally Hair & Beauty" on its sign.  The initial response was that the work was covered by an earlier planning permission (09/02443LBA), but none of the drawings in that application covered the work seen.

Planning Application 10/01777/LBA was raised shortly afterwards, and that application did cover the work seen, but it was refused permission on 1 December 2010, on the grounds that the work on the upper floors was unacceptable.  Nevertheless, the work has been completed and the shop is trading.  So the Enforcement Case remains outstanding.

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Phase Eight - No.2 Broad Street

The Phase Eight store is Grade II Listed.  The building itself is a neo-Georgian replacement but was listed for its group value with Nos.1-7 to prevent possible disruption of the terrace.

Phase Eight WindowThere is a planning application 08/03550/LBA which hasn't yet had its site notice put up, but the shopfront has already been installed, and the store is open.  Likewise there is a planning application 08/03549/AR for advertising consent for the "Phase Eight" sign which has not yet been determined, but the sign is in place.

This cannot possibly be a last minute decision because this shopfront appeared in publicity brochure for the new Milsom Place that was being handed out in July.

It is not in keeping with the style of the street, so was it deliberately held back to make the due process is no more than a sham, gambling on Milsom Place being too important to refuse permission? The planning application documents are poor, there is no historical survey, which is required for listed buildings where structural changes are to be made, and the Design and Access Statement has nothing to say about the design.  None of the drawings adequately cover what changes are to be made to the structure of the listed building (one drawing just says there is a potion of wall "to be removed by others" without identifying what type of wall it is).

The whole set of documentation reads as though it is promotional material for a firm of shopfitters rather than documentation for a planning officer to evaluate.  Watchdog believes that the application should not be granted, because the documents are not definitive enough, and the shopfront as installed is inappropriate for a listed building that has a group value.

[19/10/08]  We have received a response from the Enforcement Officer, explaining that when they checked they were informed that a member of the Historic Environment Team has been working closely with the owners in the build up to application 08/03550/LBA, so it is unlikely that any objectionable alterations are taking place, and in any case some of the works may have been authorised under an earlier application (which we assume is for Milsom Place) so it would not be expedient to proceed with any formal enforcement proceedings pending the determination of 08/03550/LBA.

We will be giving this planning application very careful scrutiny, and because the historic style shopfront has already been destroyed we will add it to the list of failed World Heritage stewardship examples that we are preparing for UNESCO.  This building was group listed with its neighbours because it was part of a continuous row of unspoilt authentic shopfronts.  Milsom Place was intended to be a prestige development, yet our picture shows that its name sits above a disaster of a design.

If the Historic Environment Team had been working with the owners in an unbiased capacity, the planning application would not even have been validated because the Historical Survey is missing and the Design and Access Statement only mentions access and not design.  It is not sufficient for 08/03350/LBA to receive scrutiny, it should be put on hold until it has a complete and comprehensive set of documents, because it cannot properly be determined in its current state.  Look at the quotations from the Shopfronts Guide at the top of the page.  Objectionable alterations have already taken place, to the extent that they have invalidated the reason why this building was listed, and we shall encourage English Heritage to object in the strongest possible terms to any attempt to rationalise the currently installed shopfront with Listed Building Consent.

[21/12/08]  On 11th December 2008, application 08/03350/LBA was given consent.  Much of the Officer's report is inaccurate, and our research reveals that the shopfront in Broad Street has never received planning permission.

Shopfront drawingThe officer's report says:  "The removal of the shop fronts in this building was granted consent under the Milsom Place application". Oh no it wasn't!  We have examined the Milsom Place application (05/03527/LBA) and Phase Eight's Broad Street shopfront is specifically excluded.  The drawing on the right is an extract from a larger drawing that was granted permission, and the area altered by the proposed works is only that part where the tunnel goes through into Milsom Place.  The shopfront still shows its original glazing bars and timber fascia.

The officer's report says:  "The shop fronts were simple 1930s design and of little merit". Wrong! The English Heritage listing says "Neo-Georgian 3 storey front with plain shop front ground floor. ... Nos 1 to 7 (consec) 7A, 8 and 9 Kingston Motors, King Edwards School and Nos 10 to 16 (consec) with archway to York Hotel yard form a group".  It is obvious even from this small section of the drawing that there is a pattern to the shopfronts in Broad Street, and Number 2 is listed because of its commonality (group value) with the rest of the street.  (Kingston Motors is no longer in existence, but it was located in what is now Shires Yard.)

The officer's report says:  "The design of the plate glass window into the surround follows the design philosophy of the units within Milsom Place".  So what!  This window is not within Milsom Place, it is in Broad Street, and it is listed for its group value with the rest of Broad Street.

The officer's report says:  "The glazing is not considered harmful to the character of the building." Considered by whom?  It is clearly the reason why English Heritage listed this neo-Georgian in-fill building, so we don't imagine English Heritage would agree with the Case Officer.

We draw the conclusion that this window does not have planning permission, and Enforcement should order the former shopfront to be restored in order to avoid any risk of having the building de-listed.

We also wonder how the Case Officer approached the decision he came to.  The real facts were readily available and it did not take us long to find them, so why did he not research the subject before jumping to conclusions?  In a year when UNESCO had grave concerns about how Bath was protecting its heritage, we expect a lot more care to be taken over listed building applications than was shown when dealing with this one.

Luckily, because it was wrongly thought that the Broad Street shopfront already had planning permission, no harm has been done by the consent that has been granted (we don't object to the internal alterations or the Milsom Place elevation).  But if a new retrospective application is raised for the Broad Street frontage, it ought to be given to a different case officer so that it is considered by fresh eyes with Broad Street rather than Milsom Place as the focus.

[8/2/09]  On 2nd December 2008, application 08/03549/AR was given consent, which relieves the enforcement officer of any action regarding the signage, but does not resolve the shopfront issue

Nevertheless with permission granted for 08/03550/LBA, the Enforcement case was discontinued.

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Pizza Express - No.8 Southgate Place

This shop installed its shop front and signage, then applied for planning permission for the advertising signs (application 10/02773/AR).

However, the Case Officer found the hanging sign unacceptable because of its siting, its excessive size which dominates the view, and its inappropriate materials.

The business had installed the signs and had opened for business by the time that planning permission had been refused.  Nevertheless, we fully support the Case Officer's decision to refuse.

Now we wait for this shop (which has opened for business) to remove the offending sign.

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Plain Lazy - No.1 Southgate Street

Offending shopfrontThis shop installed its shop front and then applied for planning permission for the shopfront and advertising signs (applications 10/03872/FUL and 10/03873/AR).

However, the Case Officer found the colours unacceptable alongside the more restrained colour schemes used elsewhere in Southgate, and refused permission, for the shopfront.  The shop name in vinyl was also considered to be the wrong materials in the wrong colours for this part of the Conservation Area.

The Shopfronts Guide (see quotes at the top of this page) makes it clear that aggressive colours are unwelcome, and despite the fact that these are the normal corporate colours for this business, we fully support the Case Officer's decisions to refuse.

Now we wait for this shop (which has opened for business) to repaint the shopfront a more acceptable colour, having gained planning permission for it before starting to paint.

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Prêt à Manger - No.2 Stall Street

Canvas barrierPrêt à Manger were granted planning permission for external tables (application 06/03966/FUL) and after the tables were installed, a canvas barrier was used to separate the tables from the rest of the pavement.  There was no permission for this, and Enforcement was informed.  Subsequently, Prêt à Manger raised a retrospective planning application (08/01022/AR) for the canvas barrier, but that was refused permission on 3rd June 2008 (and this photograph was taken the next day).  We were informed that the manager had been instructed to remove the barriers on 28 June 2008.

Nevertheless, we understand that the canvas barriers have been seen to have been installed on the pavement on several occasions since that date.

January layout[1/3/09]  And we have had a photograph dated 19 January 2009 supplied to us (pictured right).  There are two things wrong with this view.

Firstly the canvas barriers have no planning permission, although they are not the same as in the picture above in that they have no company logo on them.  This makes no difference, because according to application 08/01022/AR the canvas barriers were refused permission because of their number, size and prominence rather than for the logo.

Permitted layoutThe second thing wrong is the layout of the tables.  Planning permission for the tables and chairs was given for application 06/03966/FUL, and that permission has conditions.
Condition 2 says:  The tables and chairs hereby permitted shall not be stationed on the highway other than in accordance with the submitted plans unless the Local Planning Authority has previously approved any variation in writing.  The submitted plans are shown on the left, and there is no record on the planning file of any correspondence seeking a variation.
Condition 4 says:  The seating area should be formed no more than 2 metres away from the edge of the premises as indicated on the submitted plan.  In the photograph, the inside edge of the bollard behind the second table on the right (with the seat beyond) is about 2 metres.  Outside of that radius is the full width of a table plus the canvas barrier.

The last communication we had with Enforcement was six months ago, when they wrote to the manager asking for the barriers to be removed.  We will be bringing the changed table layout to the attention of Enforcement now, as well.

[10/5/09]  A new planning application 09/01291/FUL has been lodged for 6 tables and 20 chairs. This will halt enforcement action until a planning decision is made, so we are monitoring the application on the News Summary page.

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Former H A Pursey - No. 16 Northumberland Place

Former Pursey shopThis empty shop has had workmen inside and there have been sounds of work being carried out, though we have been unable to see exactly what they are doing.

The sign in the window advertises Kane Contracts Ltd, Shopfitting and Refurbishment services.  It is probable that this is the company whose workmen are on the premises.

It is a listed building, and needs planning permission for any changes made, but none was applied for.

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Rajpoot frontThis establishment's shopfront has been significantly altered.

It is a listed building, and needs planning permission for the changes made, but none was applied for.

However, the window graphics which we objected to have been removed, and the Enforcement Officer considered it would not be expedient to pursue the more minor matters.

We have accepted this position and the case is considered closed as at 4 February 2010.

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Rosewell House - No.12 Kingsmead Square

Rosewell House is Grade I listed (described by Pevsner as 'Baths most ornate and unashamedly Baroque with German-Flemish influence') and is occupied by more than one business, with residences above.  Until recently, one end of the building housed a newsagent's with a barber's shop behind.  The newsagent's closed a few weeks ago, but the barber's continued for a while after that until it too closed.

In MarchThen a group of builders entered and started removing internal doors, without planning permission and without listed building consent (which for a Grade I listed building has to have the Secretary of State's agreement).

[19/10/08]  We received a response from the Enforcement Officer explaining that the owners have agreed a programme of works with the Council's Historic Environment Team to rectify the damage.  The approach being taken should lead to a satisfactory conclusion, but we will keep an eye on this building to make sure that the work agreed is carried out.

[22/3/09]  We took the photograph on the right, which showed that the internal restoration had been completed, but we were not overjoyed by the lights visible through the window.

From ApplicationBy this time planning application 08/04709/LBA had been most of the way through the planning process, the Conservation Officer had negotiated some changes and the Case Officer had produced his report which had been sent to the Government Office with a recommendation to permit  The picture on the left (from the latest drawing in the planning application) is accompanied by some text which says that all exterior joinery would be painted slate grey.

Watchdog had objected to the application, not with any particular concerns about the style, but we did think that there was insufficient detail about what was planned (was the paint to be gloss or matt for example) and because the lights that had already been fitted (picture above) were not shown in the drawings, we wondered what other details were being omitted.  But most of all, we objected to the Slate Grey colour chosen for the exterior paintwork.

[26/7/09]  By the end of April, the Government Office had replied saying that the Secretary of State was content to let the council grant planning permission, and the Case Officer did so under delegated powers.  Then work started in earnest, and instead of Slate Grey, the window frame was painted white with a lime green edging, and the door was painted white.  The fascia was painted grey, and so was the burglar alarm which had been mounted on the fascia even though it does not show on the planning drawing (see above).

In JulySo we went back to Enforcement, pointing out that the shopfront does not match the plans that were given planning permission.  The response was impressively quick and within days the workmen were back with their paintbrushes.  Unfortunately the outcome was again wrong (pictured right).  Despite planning permission being given for slate grey joinery, the Enforcement Officer said "I have advised the owner to paint the whole door white and remove the lime green border around the window and this has now been completed.  The works are now considered acceptable to the council."  The problem is that this is  Grade I listed building, and the council must obtain the Secretary of State's agreement to all changes made to the building.  What has been done is not what was in the plans sent to the Secretary of State.

So the Enforcement Officer must take one of two courses of action.  Either the owners must be instructed to comply exactly with the drawings given planning permission, which includes changing the lettering on the fascia, removing the burglar alarm and correcting the colour of the joinery; or the applicant must be instructed to raise a retrospective planning application applying for permission for the shopfront as currently installed so that the Secretary of State can approve or reject the variations from the original planning permission.  What cannot be done is simply leaving it as it is because the works are considered acceptable to the council.  Once the Secretary of State chose not to object to the plans submitted, the council lost all authority to agree (or ignore) changes to those plans.

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Rossiters of Bath - Nos.38-41 Broad Street

Rossiters repaintedThis listed building shopfront has been repainted, changing the colour from a grey that was completely appropriate for the age and style of the building, into a purple colour that in a colour that is not from the palette normally enforced for listed buildings in the central area and which breaks all the guidelines in the council's Shopfronts Guide.

We can find no planning application requesting permission to do this.  Rossiters cannot even claim that they did the repainting unaware that planning consent was needed, because they applied for (02/02175/LBA) and were granted permission in 2002 to redecorate in the colour they are now covering up.

[2/11/08]  We have received a response from the Enforcement Officer who said that after he and a Senior Conservation officer had viewed the colours and had decided that the new colour is acceptable based on the vibrant array of colours on show on other shop fronts in the street, and so there will no further action in relation to this case.  We disagree.

PPG15 makes it clear that planning permission is necessary:  C.17 External painting: Painting - or re-painting such as a change of colour - requires listed building consent when it could affect the character of a listed building; and because Rossiters did apply for planning permission to redecorate in the colour they are now covering up, they can hardly claim they did not know that they should apply again for this latest change.  Even more worrying is that the Conservation Officer is apparently ignorant of the Government guidelines and accepted the colour change without a listed building application.

And we wonder which street was visited to see the "vibrant array of colours", because apart from Rossiters (the subject of this enforcement, on both sides of the road) and Belushi's (also the subject of enforcement) and Phase 8 (also the subject of enforcement) the colours used in Broad Street are all appropriate for listed buildings.

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The Rummer - No.6 Newmarket Row

We first reported this to Enforcement when we noticed workmen inside and the fact that somehow they had managed to break one of the windows facing the street.  We got the astonishing reply that evidence was needed that work which affected the character of the building was being carried out.  No work should be started on a listed building until listed building consent has been sought and granted.

inside view inside view

These pictures are proof that work which affects the character of the building is being carried out.  The destruction of a section of ceiling (picture, right) should never be permitted without specific consent.  Underneath the relatively modern fittings in the left hand photograph is moulded timber which could have historical significance too.

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Salathai - Nos.14-15 Pierrpont Street

Repainted shopThis business spreads across two listed buildings, and it was repainted, provided with new signs and opened for business without applying for Listed Building consent or Advertising Consent.

The effect in this case is not unpleasant, but it remains important that such work does secure the necessary permissions so that a lack of enforcement here cannot be quoted as a precedent for another business making significant changes to the appearance of their own premises having chosen a completely unacceptable colour scheme.

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Scoffs - No.9 Terrace Walk

This listed building (by John Wood) has a complicated history.  In 2007, V Cars occupied the premises and put their name on the fascia (below left) and then raised a retrospective application (07/02338/LBA) for listed building consent.

VCars fasciaThat application was refused permission and the reason for refusal included the judgement that "The fascia sign by virtue of its size, design and detailing has a detrimental impact upon the statutory listed building".  The photograph shows that fascia, and also that the shopfront was white.

green frontEarly in 2009, planning permission (08/04525/LBA) was granted to replace the windows above the shop, and to remove the oversized fascia.  The documentation showed that the fascia then bore the name "The Garden Cafe" above a "To Let" sign in the window.  The paintwork remained white.

In January 2010, Scoffs occupied the shop.  We reported the premises to Enforcement because it had been repainted green (pictured right) when it used to be white.  A significant change of colour requires listed building consent, regardless of whether the colour would be considered acceptable.  Also, the fascia is still the oversized one which was refused permission, because the application to remove it which had been granted had not been implemented.  So the size of the Scoffs fascia is not permitted.  We were allocated 10/00022/LBWORK as the Enforcement case number.

No Listed Building application to cover this significant change of colour was raised;  nor was the oversized fascia removed.

Scoffs 2011Instead, in February 2011, the painters were at work again, repainting the shopfront a lighter colour and repainting the business name on the (still) oversized and (still) unpermitted oversized fascia (pictured left).  We reported this to Enforcement.

Again, it is not a question of whether the colour would be acceptable, it is the lack of listed building consent that is important.  A listed building consent can be accompanied by conditions if necessary, controlling the finish, the method of application or the treatment of any underlying surface damage if the case officer considers conditions are necessary.

However, regardless of the colour issue, until the oversized fascia is removed and a smaller one matching the premises next door is in place (hopefully the original is underneath the oversized one), this shopfront will always be an Enforcement matter.  The original permission to do this expired on 17 February 2011, so a new permission, effectively to extend the validity of the earlier permission will now be needed.

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Shaw Trust - No.11 George Street

The ShopfrontWe are including this for completeness, but the report to Enforcement was made by a planning case officer in response to a retrospective planning application (08/03471/LBA).  This picture is from the planning application and shows the undamaged part, and 9to the edge of the picture) the boarded up damaged part.

The shop front of No.11 is highly decorative, and considered to be of such high quality that it is specifically featured in the council's Shopfronts Guide as an exceptional example.  It has recently been vandalised and repaired, and the planning application was raised to obtain retrospective permission for the repairs.  We have checked the documentation, and it clearly says that repairs will be made to return the shop front to its original condition.  The Case Officer has quite rightly pointed out that the repairs that have been done do not match this "as original" aspiration, and therefore planning permission cannot be given, and therefore it becomes an Enforcement issue.  We wholeheartedly support this decision.

We will try to obtain a picture of the repaired part at a later date.

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Subway - No.11 Westgate Street

[1/11/09]  Subway has now raised a Listed Building application 09/03679/LBA for the signs as currently installed which are still awaiting a verdict from the appeal. This prevents any further enforcement action until one or other of the planning applications is determined.  But there is one benefit.  The banner pictured below had been removed, the last time we looked.

Subway's banner[1/11/09]  We expected Subway to keep a low profile while their planning appeal was in hand, but not so!

A large printed plastic banner has appeared on their listed fascia.  Through a magnifying glass it is possible to see on the original photograph that hooks have been screwed into the fascia to hold the sign.

The banner covers the name that according to the planning appeal was so important to the level of business being conducted.  We believe that this banner undermines the substance of their appeal.

Subway vouchers[3/10/09]  We have been informed that Subway in Westgate Street have appealed against their enforcement notice, or rather to be more accurate, they have appealed against their application for advertising consent being refused.

Enforcement action will of course cease until the appeal is determined.  We have considerable difficulty believing the statement in the appeal application that changing the gold vinyl letters for white and yellow acrylic ones has been the cause of their increased turnover, particularly when books of vouchers offering specially discounted prices (10 vouchers saving a total of £27) were issued during that time.

Subway's signs[26/4/09]This premises was brought to our attention when a new sign was placed on the fascia, a different projecting sign was installed and vinyl text was placed on the pillar.

This is a Grade II listed building and new signs can only be installed with planning permission.  Subway then raised a retrospective  advertising planning application (09/01089/AR) for the signs as installed.  Watchdog objected to it.

Both we and the Enforcement Officer think that a retrospective Listed Building application should also be submitted but it has not been raised to date.  The need for a Listed Building application should be no surprise because Subway raised one (07/02729/LBA) for the signs that have now been removed; signs that the earlier application claimed were "to maintain the character of the site as a Grade II listed building".  Those signs gained listed building consent.  Today's replacements do not accord with the guidelines in the Shopfronts Guide.

[7/2/10]  The results of the appeal have now been published.  The Appeal Inspector ruled that the sign on the fascia was acceptable, but that on the pillar was not.

The verdict on the fascia sign was disappointing.  We have been attempting to improve the appearance of the street as a whole, and the Inspector's "lowest common denominator" approach, that there are other signs as bad in the vicinity, undermines that aim.  However, we are pleased to see that the vertical sign on the pillar was considered unacceptable, and we wait to see if Enforcement can now get that removed.

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Sunglasses Hut - No.6 Stall Street

Sunglasses HutThis premises has had several attempts to gain planning permission for its corporate style, and we have reported previous unauthorised changes to Enforcement.  The most recent planning application 09/00726/LBA was again refused, on the grounds that the corporate style for the exterior appearance was inappropriate for a Grade II listed building and that so little detail of the internal changes was provided in the documentation that no evaluation was possible.  The Design and Access Statement makes no reference to interior changes at all.

Despite this refusal on 9th June 2009, the photograph on the right, taken on 20th June shows that the business has gone ahead with interior changes.

A partition has been erected, and over it there is the illuminated fascia sign that Enforcement had asked them to take down from the front of the shop a year ago.  Neither the partition nor the sign has planning permission.  Nor has the fascia sign that currently adorns the front of the building.  We have therefore raised a new report to Enforcement.

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Tanning centre - No.26A Shaftesbury Road

November [21/11/10] Update

New fasciaOn 9 November, Enforcement responded, informing us that the premises had agreed to leave the illumination switched off.  We were happy to close the case on that basis, particularly when our spot check confirmed that the signs were no longer illuminated.

Just over a week later, the premises appears to have changed hands.  The fascia and all the signs inside now show the name glöden (which is Swedish for Glow).  More seriously, as can be seen from this picture, the illumination is back on.  Illuminated signs need planning permission, and no valid permission for illuminated signs exists for this address.  So once again it becomes an enforcement issue.

The Previous [31/10/10 update] Applications

In May 2009, the "Retrospective" application (which did not show what was installed) for advertising consent (09/00713/AR) was refused permission.  We think the case officer was exactly right in assessing "Overall the proposed box signage is considered unacceptable in terms of design and illumination" and "The signage must also either span the full width of the building or two separate signs for the two units which are well balanced be submitted as one application".

Then in August came another "Retrospective" application (10/03422/AR) for advertising consent.  It was given permission.

Supplied DrawingOn the left is the drawing from the planning application.  The only significant change between this application and the previous ones is that the projecting sign has been moved from the right hand end of the fascia to above it, and the words say that both sign and fascia are "Not Illuminated".
As drawnThe right hand top picture shows what was given permission.
As photographedThe right hand bottom photo was taken four days later.  It is brightly illuminated from internal lights, and neither the lighting nor the words "tanning studio" at both ends have planning permission.

More puzzling was why the same case officer took such different views of almost exactly the same signage.  Compare:
May 2009: "bright colours and featureless design give the signage a solid and heavy appearance which is over dominant and considered out of character within the local area which would be of visual harm to the street scene".
Oct 2010: "the removal of the illumination is considered significant enough to alter the overall appearance of the signage and on balance is not considered to be of visual harm within the locality"

Then compare:
May 2009: "the signage must also either span the full width of the building or two separate signs for the two units which are well balanced be submitted as one application"
Oct 2010: "The existing fascia box does not span the full width of the fascia as the building is spilt into 2 units, one of which has failed to be leased. Once occupied an additional sign on the fascia would help balance the shopfront".

We have in the past been concerned about differing standards between case officers, but never before have we seen such diametrically opposing views from the same case officer over so short a time.

Is this drop in standards going to be the norm for an understaffed and overworked planning group from now on?  If case officers are not now able to properly assess planning applications in the time available, then they must start giving more credence to the public comments on applications.  In this particular case, both Watchdog and the Bath Preservation Trust gave soundly argued advice against consent, and because that advice was ignored, more work has landed on the Enforcement desks.

The original [31/5/09 update] applications

Two planning applications were raised for this property, one (08/01673/FUL) for change of use to hair salon and solarium, and the other (08/01612/AR) for shop signs.  The change of use was approved, but the application for the signs was refused on the grounds that the colour design, materials and illumination were inappropriate.  In the officers report there is a recommendation for a fascia sign in the style of the earlier sign for the kitchen shop and a traditional non-illuminated hanging sign.  No other application was made after these two were determined.

Fascia SignNevertheless, the property now sports a myriad of new signs.  Along with a boxed fascia is a projecting sign, and although we have seen neither switched on yet, they both look as though they are illuminated.  They are different from the signs described in 08/01612/AR.

Tanning Salon

The whole shopfront is now a mess of signage, with splashes, a full window internal vinyl and more of the "sunburn pink" used for the fascia.  None of these signs has planning permission.  They certainly don't enhance the area

A new planning application 09/00713/AR has been raised, which rather bizarrely claims to be retrospective but shows signs that are slightly different from those already installed.  These signs are to be externally illuminated.  So enforcement action will be suspended pending a decision on the new planning application.


[31/5/09]  On 26th May, the planning application was refused on the grounds of appearance and illumination.  Enforcement action ceased when the planning application was raised.  Now that the application has been refused, enforcement action is again merited.

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Thai by the Weir - No.16 Argyle Street

As it wasAs it is nowThis listed premises (listed as a group covering 9-16) has changed hands - and changed colour.  Compare the before (left) and after (right) pictures.  Number 16 is especially mentioned in the listing as having an excellent shopfront.  What happens to it is therefore important.

One of the reasons why redecoration of listed shopfronts should be through a listed building application is that it then gives the Conservation Officer the opportunity to condition colours, finishes, methods and preparation.

Rotten woodHowever, in this case, the red colour has just been slapped over rotting timber and in no time at all, the rot is showing through, see picture right.  If a listed building application had been raised, repair and treatment of the underlying wood would almost certainly have been conditioned.

Thus we are raising this as a new enforcement case because the red hue chosen is uncharacteristic of buildings of this age, and repairs as well as paint are needed.

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Townsend Antiques - No.1 Saville Row

Townsend Antiques 

This shop front has been boarded up so securely that it is impossible to tell if it is to protect the shopfront from further damage (we understand that there might have been some vandalism to it) or to conceal unauthorised listed building work.  So we have asked Enforcement to check.

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TP Windows - Nos.85-86 Lower Bristol Road

TP Windows signTP Windows have an unauthorised timber sign attached to the wall of St James Cemetery.

We can find no planning application for the newly installed sign.

St James Cemetery includes listed structures.  The Gateway, The Lodge and Cemetery Chapel are all Grade II listed.  Therefore anything attached to the Cemetery wall, which is curtilage listed with the gateway, requires listed building consent, and there is no application for this either.

[28/9/08]  The Enforcement Officer has written requiring removal of the sign  by 30/9/08 and to make good any damage caused.  Watchdog has also been in touch with cemetery staff, who assure us that if approached by TP Windows, they would not give permission for any sign to be attached to the cemetery wall.

[5/10/08]  The debate goes on.  The Enforcement officer believes that the wall in question belongs to TP Windows and not the cemetery, and therefore it is not listed.  We disagree.  Whether a structure is listed or not depends on its function, not on who owns it, and this wall encloses the cemetery, is continuous with the rest of the wall that forms the cemetery frontage, and leads into the listed cemetery Lodge and Gateway.  Therefore the walls enclosing the front of the cemetery are curtilage listed, according to the definition of curtilage in PPG15.  Meanwhile, Enforcement have insisted that the sign is removed because it has not got planning permission, and has recommended that a planning application is submitted to get approval for the sign.

Cemetery encroachment[12/10/08]  The sign has not been removed yet.  We have closely examined this sign, and some of the supporting timbers encroach into the cemetery (see picture right - the sign itself is to the right of the picture and the metal post with the ball top belongs to the cemetery, so all the timber beyond that point is in cemetery land.  It is also possible that the erection of the sign dislodged the railings seen on the left of the picture, but we have no "before" photograph so we cannot say for certain, but we will ask the Cemeteries Manager if he knows).  Because of this encroachment into the cemetery we are insisting that the sign is removed immediately, regardless of any intention to apply for planning permission for a sign.

FixingsDuring our examination we also noticed how poor and unsightly the attachments to the wall were (pictured left), and how much damage has been done by fixing the sign.  Whilst in all probability it does not reflect the quality of the workmanship that is used to fit the windows this company supplies, we do wonder whether the appearance of the protruding crossed screws and unsightly spacer might deter potential customers from entering the premises.

[7/12/08]  The Enforcement Officer has provided an update explaining that he hasn't seen for himself what has been done but he has been informed that the old sign has been replaced with a smaller sign which falls within the guidelines for forecourt signs, and he would be interested in our views.

New signTP Windows signSo we had a look.  There is no doubt that the new sign (pictured left) is not so tall as the first sign (pictured right to approximately the same scale), though is is of similar width.  We measured it, and it is within the size limits for a forecourt sign.   Also noticeable is that the supporting timbers reach the ground rather than finishing partway up the wall.

However, we don't think that this meets the definition of a forecourt sign because it is still attached to the cemetery wall (see picture below left), and we still maintain that it needs Listed Building Consent for that because the wall is the functional boundary of the cemetery and is continuous with the Grade II listed entrance arch,The fixing it is curtilage listed (see box below right), regardless of who claims to own it.  A forecourt sign should be free standing.  This one isn't.

From PPG15:

3.31 The listing of a building confers protection not only on the building, but also on any object or structure fixed to the building which is ancillary to the building.

3.34 The principal tests relate to ... whether the structure forms part of the land, and its use and function.  Changes in ownership, occupation or use after the listing date will not bring about the de-listing.

We also consider that this sign in this position is a distraction to traffic.  In both photographs you can see a road sign immediately to the right of the advertisement board, but the board is bigger, more brightly coloured  and contains words, so it will tend to attract a driver's eye more than the sign a driver should be heeding.  In fulfilling its function as an advertisement, it is a traffic hazard.

So on these grounds, we maintain our objection, and will report that to Enforcement.  All the guidelines indicate that nothing can be attached to the cemetery wall without listed building consent, no matter who actually owns the wall according to the deeds.

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Upper Borough Walls - No.1

Repainted shopfrontThis shop front has recently been painted gloss white (see photograph).  It was originally black.  Neither a brilliant white colour nor a high gloss finish are normally permitted on a listed building in central Bath.

The building is Grade II Listed, so anything that changes the external appearance of a listed building should only take place with planning permission.  We can find no relevant Listed Building Consent for this work.  So we have asked Enforcement to check.

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Velo Lounge - Nos.30-31 Moorland Road

Velo Lounge frontThe Velo Lounge installed unauthorised illumination in the form of four swan-neck light fittings.  When this was brought to the attention of the council, the business submitted a retrospective planning application (08/02456/AR).

Swan-neck lighting is specifically mentioned in the council's Shopfront Guide as unacceptable in any circumstances, and planning permission was refused.  But despite that refusal the lights remain.  On 2nd December 2008 the applicants appealed against the planning refusal.  This appeal is still pending.

The sun blind also had no planning permission, but a retrospective application for it was raised (08/04398/FUL).  As the interior is always needing lights on, the purpose of the sun blind is not at all obvious.  On 28 January 2009, permission for the awning was refused for reasons of pedestrian safety.

[15/3/09]  On 11th March 2009, the Appeal decision was published, and the decision was to permit the use of the current lighting for 5 years.  That decision was reached on the grounds that similar lights have been fitted on one other premises in Moorland Road.  This is a clear indication that once one business has done something inappropriate, all other businesses are free to copy it.  This was a bad decision, because it means that any attempt to improve the look of the street is likely to be guided by the worst looking shopfront.

Meanwhile, the Velo Lounge is still using the blind that was refused permission (see picture taken 10 March), and we regard that enforcement case as still open.

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Visions Windows - No.6 Walcot Buildings

We have reported what we believe to be unauthorised work to this listed building, and we are waiting for a response from the council.  There was a planning application 07/03074/LBA which was approved.  However, the work in progress is not in accordance with the drawings given planning permission

Side viewFront viewThe sketch on the left shows the side profile of the shop front, according to the planning permission, and the sketch on the right shows the front view.  the point to note is  that there are two small steps out from the shop front to the flat top.

Next doorThe reason why this is important is that this is the style of the frontages.  The picture on the right is of the shop next door, and although the mouldings are more elaborate, there are two clear steps out to a small overhang, but they are small steps so that they don't hide the detailing in the shade.  Other shop fronts along Walcot Buildings are similarly constructed.

Current appearanceNow look at the photograph taken on 5th October on the left.  Even accepting that the work is unfinished because bare wood is showing, it is only a crude imitation of what was given planning permission.  It is just a shelf, and it protrudes far too far in all directions.

OrnamentationThe decorative gilding is still there, but it is overpowered by the slab immediately on the top of it.  When the previous ledge (now removed) was in place, it had a moulding above the gilded ornamentation (pictured right) that set it in context, and anybody looking at the sketches from the planning application would have expected those mouldings to be retained with the new decking on top.

So why have we got this jerry-built apology for a listed shop front?  It is not what was given consent.

[19/10/08]  We have received a response from the Enforcement Officer explaining that the Senior Conservation Officer has been aware of this issue since the Spring when a site visit took place, but in that Department's view, although there were minor deviations noted from the approved plans of the Listed Building Consent, they were such that it would not be expedient to take enforcement action in this matter.

We disagree.  The shop fronts along this part of the road have a consistency of appearance even though they differ one from another.  This shopfront has some very fine detailing (pictured) which is now completely overshadowed by an oversized shelf, despite the planning drawings stating explicitly "overhang reduced".  An original moulding above the gilding has also been removed, presumably never to be seen again.  The fact that nobody cares enough to get this rectified is a disgrace.

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The White Company - Nos.15-16 Northgate Street

White Co ShopfrontThere are two planning applications pending: 08/02832/LBA which applied for new signs and decoration to the shop front plus internal alterations combining the two separate addresses (Nos. 15 and 16) into a single shop, and 08/02833/AR for the advertising signs.

Despite these planning applications being still pending decisions, work started on redecorating the shop front and some internal alterations could be seen inside the premises.  The case officer and Historic Environment Team were notified.

Progress report:  After intervention by the listed building officer who entered into discussions with applicant, work stopped for a while, but has now restarted (this picture was taken on 16th September 2008).  Some revised documents were submitted to the listed building application on 1st September.  Watchdog has objected to the advertising signs.

Life then got complicated. Application 08/02832/LBA was given consent on 3 February 2009, but only after 08/02833/AR for the signs was refused.  Then 08/04323/AR and 08/04324/LBA were refused on 15/1/09, an earlier 08/02472/LBA consent 3/2/09 and 09/00313/LBA is pending.

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The Wild Cafe - No.10a Queen Street

Painting in handThis listed building is having its windows painted without Listed Building consent.

We have managed to photograph the action with the right hand window not started and the others not finished, so that the change of colour is obvious.

PPG15 requires listed building consent to be given where external redecoration is other than like with like, and blue is very clearly not white.  Whether the colour would be acceptable is not the issue.  If consent is sought, it allows the preparation, the paint finish and any repairs to be controlled by condition to preserve the character of the building.

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Wild Planet exhibition - Kingston Buildings

Kingston Buildings 4 April 11The planning application was raised by the Tourism, Leisure & Culture group of B&NES, was evaluated at the 16th March 2011 DCC and was refused permission.

Installation has gone ahead despite planning refusal.  The picture on the right is of the greatest concentration of picture stands, but others have been installed in Abbey Churchyard between the Tourist Information Office and the Roman Baths.  This is a clear breach of planning law.

We had no option but to report the actions of Tourism, Leisure & Culture to Enforcement.  We expect Enforcement to force this exhibition to be removed.   Deciding it is not expedient to enforce is not an option, because no public body can be seen to condone an illegal act without itself being guilty of maladministration.

Our legal researches for our March DCC news item indicate that it is not the public body itself that is culpable but the person responsible for the breach.  The planning application was submitted by David Lawrence, so it would appear that if the exhibition remains despite the planning refusal, it is this officer personally who has broken the law, and whether he faces criminal charges is therefore in the hands of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

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Yak Yeti Yak - No.12 Pierrepont Street

Railings and signThis prominently placed Grade II listed building (listed as "Pierrepont House" rather than as Number 12) has had a sign fixed to the railings using metal bars, see picture, right.

Railing topsAlso, the tops of the railings have been painted an uncharacteristic colour.  Nowhere else on a listed building in Bath has red been considered appropriate.

There appears to have been no planning application for either of these changes to the premises.  If there had been, we would not have expected planning permission to have been granted.

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