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

Draft North Somerset Council Shopfront Design Guide - July 2019


North Somerset has a range of shopping opportunities from individual shops, local centres through to town centres and retail parks. Our aim is to ensure residents and visitors spend locally with these businesses, benefit from an enjoyable shopping and leisure experience, and make sure our heritage assets are enhanced and put to a viable use consistent with their conservation.

One of the council’s key priorities is to ensure our town centres and villages are thriving. Each is unique, we want to celebrate this identity, support local retailers and regenerate poorly performing areas to create quality environments that people are proud of, are places they want to visit and the whole community can enjoy.

High quality shopfront design set within a cohesive streetscape can have tremendous impact on the retail and visitor experience, especially at a time where the role of the traditional high street is changing. This document sets out the principles to be followed when designing shopfronts or converting retail premises into residential or other forms of accommodation.

1.1       Who is this document for?

This document has been created for use by all parties involved in the design of shopfronts or the conversion of shops to other uses such as residential. It is applicable to property owners as well as residents, estate agents, developers, contractors, shopfitters, architects, planning officers, civic societies and town and parish councils.

This Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) is intended to help those proposing to alter or install a new shopfront or to convert a shop into residential or other form of accommodation. It sets out what is required in terms of permissions and statutory consents. It promotes a greater understanding of the existing heritage value and architectural detail of existing shopfronts in North Somerset and will ensure delivery of a high standard of design and workmanship which will benefit traders, shoppers and improve the local environment.

These guidelines apply to all businesses in Use Class A as set out in the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 and its subsequent amendments. At the time of publication this includes:

A1 (Shops)

Shops, retail warehouses, hairdressers, undertakers, travel and ticket agencies, post offices, pet shops, sandwich bars, showrooms, domestic hire shops, dry cleaners, funeral directors and internet cafes.

A2 (Professional and Financial Services)

Financial services such as banks and building societies, professional services (other than health and medical services) and including estate and employment agencies. It does not include betting offices or pay day loan shops.

A3 (Restaurants and Cafes)

For the sale of food and drink for consumption on the premises – restaurants, snack bars and cafes.

A4 (Drinking Establishments)

Public houses, wine bars or other drinking establishments (but not night clubs).

A5 (Hot Food Takeaways)

For the sale of hot food for consumption off the premises.

Although A2 does not include betting offices or pay day loan shops, for the purposes of shopfront design these will be included in the scope of the SPD.

1.2       Why is shopfront design important?

Shopfronts are the most conspicuous part of a building’s façade and as the first point of contact between a business and the public, a well-designed shopfront is integral to enticing customers inside. An accessible shop will increase customer numbers.

Implementation of good design can have a considerable impact on the wider streetscape; cumulative improvement can ultimately lead to the creation of aesthetically pleasing retail areas as well as the overall improvement of a village or town centre. Conversely, poor design decisions can harm an area, especially if the cumulative impact of small scale changes occurs over a prolonged period.

Shopfronts contribute to an immediate impression of a place and the general condition of shopfronts can affect the image of a town or village. High quality, well maintained shopfronts make a town feel more welcoming to locals and visitors. They contribute towards a stronger sense of identity, and importantly, encourage a greater number of visitors. Unfortunately, the appearance of some buildings has been spoiled by inappropriate shopfront alterations which are unsympathetic to the character and appearance of their buildings and wider surroundings.

This document has been produced by North Somerset Council in conjunction with Historic England as part of the Heritage Action Zone scheme which aims to promote and enhance the heritage of Weston-super-Mare. It sets out design principles and standards which will preserve or enhance the appearance of both historic and modern shopfronts and the principles and standards detailed in this document are applicable throughout the North Somerset Council area.

 Figure 1: A beautifully crafted and well maintained shopfront, Clevedon

figure 1 Clevedon