The clothing chain Crew Clothing is having a corporate makeover. And, as too often happens with corporate ventures, the proposed design is simply unacceptable in our historic conservation area (16/02226/LBC).
The building at 6 King Street probably dates to the 17th century. The frontage is 19th century. It is Grade II listed.
The new proposal is only a little changes from the plans submitted in May. Two of the three doors will now be grey, but one remains a garish yellow.
The hanging sign, which was dangerously low with an ugly support, has been raised and given a more attractive bracket. The main colour of the frontage remains a depressing dark blue.
Currently the frontage of this building is a pleasant, muted shade of grey. It fits in with King Street well. Crew Clothing was even given a heritage award from the Ludlow Conservation Area Advisory Committee for doing such a sensitive job.
There is no hope of a second heritage award if this scheme is allowed to go ahead. The conservation committee reviewed the new proposals and said:
We feel that the proposal was detrimental to the character of the listed building because the dark colour was inappropriate for a red-brick building and it would detract from the character of the shop front by suppressing reflected light from mouldings and other features that give the building character.
Ludlow Town Council took a similar view:
The proposal is out of keeping with the conservation area and streetscene and detrimental to the character of an historic building.
I agree with both of these statements. The new scheme is out of place. The best thing that Crew Clothing could do is to leave the shop front as it is.
My formal objection
The building lies within the Ludlow Conservation Area. It is Grade II listed heritage asset.
NPPF 128 requires that “an applicant [should] describe the significance of any heritage assets affected.” It is not expected that this need be an onerous or exhaustive exercise in an application such as this. But the heritage statement submitted by Wildwood contains nothing more than a copy of the Historic England listing for the building. It contains no analysis and no argument that this scheme is appropriate for the context. It cannot be considered a heritage statement.
A dark scheme such as this doesn’t work on a narrow thoroughfare such as King Street. It dark blue will obliterates the mouldings, which are a distinctive feature of the building. The yellow on the doors, though reduced, is still garish.
This proposal harms the conservation area and the listed building. Although this is less than substantial harm and reversible, it is of some significance in an attractive street like King Street.
The current scheme for the frontage of Crew Clothing won a Ludlow Conservation Award from the Ludlow Conservation Area Advisory Committee. It is far more appropriate than this proposal and demonstrates why muted colours work for this building and King Street.
This proposal should be rejected.
In other retail news, White Stuff is taking over the former Country Casuals store on Castle Street. Another clothing chain, Joules, is expected to move into the former Show Zone premises.