Draft Shopfront Design Guide Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) - July 2019

Draft North Somerset Council Shopfront Design Guide - July 2019

Shopfront Access

4.1       Accessibility for all

The improved accessibility of businesses to all members of society is of considerable importance. With improved accessibility, a shopfront that takes into consideration the Equality Act (2010) makes good business sense and has the potential to increase custom.

Key principle 4 – alterations should seek to ensure access for all

Very narrow doorways and changes in floor level are unhelpful and shopfront alterations should aim to comply with Building Regulations Approved Document M – Access to and use of buildings. As a general principle, entrances should be clearly defined, well lit, unobstructed and preferably level. Only in exceptional circumstances should people be obliged to ring a bell or wait to be escorted onto the premises.

For the development of a shop unit, an extension to a non-domestic building is treated as a new building under part M of the building regulations. The requirement for suitable independent access need not require separate provision, if it can be demonstrated that the extension will have suitable access through the existing building, which may be modified to provide access.

For alteration work to existing non-domestic buildings, it should comply with Requirement M1, and the building overall should be no less compliant than it was prior to the work being undertaken. Where an alteration does not affect access, there is no need to upgrade access to meet Requirement M1.

Where the whole building is subject to material change of use the whole building should be upgraded to comply with Requirement M1.

Where only part of the building is subject to change of use that part should be upgraded to comply with M1. Sanitary conveniences in, or connected with, that part should comply with M1, as should those in other parts of the building to which users have access. There should be suitable access to that part of the building, either by a route to and through other parts of the building, or independent access.

If the change of use results in a building which includes both non-domestic and domestic parts then the non-domestic and common parts should comply with non-domestic guidance.

Accessibility in historic buildings should be improved as much as is practically possible, without prejudicing the character of the historic building or increasing the risk of long-term deterioration of fabric or fittings.

4.2       Access to upper floors

Where work is proposed to improve a shopfront, and where street level access to a floor above a retail unit is restricted, consideration should be given to integrating an additional entrance door to the shopfront with an internal staircase for improved access to the upper floors. The integration of the new door should complement the character or appearance of the building and street, and is only feasible with a sufficiently wide retail unit. Where residential use is created above a shop, refuse and recycling storage and cycle parking need to be sized and accommodated within the building envelope, not outside.