We used this image in the survey of Alnwick shopfronts that we designed in May. We published the findings in our August newsletter. The County Council didn’t receive <the relevant planning application> for this shop front until October.
In our survey this was the shop front that respondents disliked the most. Twenty-four respondents chose to rate it as “a poor design that has damaged the appearance of our town, and detracts from the experience of visitors and shoppers“. Ten respondents were less harsh, and just rated it as disappointing. “an opportunity has been missed to enhance the town” and “the experience of visitors and shoppers could be improved if others were encouraged to do better” . Nobody rated this as an example of good practice. The shop is at a very prominent location in the centre of the conservation area, and we continue to hear similar comments.
The survey gave us some useful pointers on how the local community feel about different Alnwick shopfronts, but planners and councillors need specific comments. So we had already raised concerns with the county, and now that the application has been published we have submitted the following objections:
- The colour and materials of the sign and fascia do not come up to the standard of existing guidelines.
- In other conservation areas the same colour is used but toned down by the addition of a curved wooden frame in light oak on the fascia and the sign. It looks much better.
- The Civic Society also wishes to note its displeasure at the fact that this application is retrospective. It displays a disrespect for the community which is hard to bear.
Because this is a retrospective application anyone who comments can base their views – not on a proposed plan – but on what can already be seen at a prominent location in Alnwick.
We hope members will take advantage of the opportunity.