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Local Planning Guidance No 12 - Shopfronts Design and Security

Good design is welcome everywhere and the principles contained in this guide apply throughout the County Borough. The proposals and guidelines which follow have been prepared and adopted by the Council to foster a better standard of design. By taking note of the straightforward advice contained in this leaflet it is hoped that developers and shopowners will appreciate the need for attractive design schemes for repair or improvement of shopfronts and their related advertisements and incorporate necessary features at planning application stage. It does not remove the need for skilled architectural advice.

The term "shopfront" refers to the whole of the building's street elevation from pavement to roof and across its full width and not just the display window and its surround; "advertisements" refers solely to advertising matters on shopfronts - it does not intend to cover other forms of advertisement in other situations.

These guidelines cannot hope to cover all areas and applicants and agents are advised wherever the circumstances are unusual to discuss their proposals with a planning officer prior to formal submission of an application. Most new developments will be considered with regard to the following proposals.

General principles

The major appeal of the local townscape is the character of its buildings and streets. Quality design standards are an asset providing a source of pride and pleasure to many and an additional factor in enhancing the commercial attractiveness of an area. For this asset to be retained, or even be recreated, each property must contribute to the individual character of the street, otherwise there will be the continual erosion of the attractive individuality of buildings to be replaced by an anonymous townscape of limited appeal.

To ensure that the streetscene and each building's attractiveness is retained the following design principles need to be considered:


The Council will not permit the removal of an existing shopfront which contributes to the character of the building or the surrounding area.

The Council will not grant planning permission for new shopfronts unless the proposal is sympathetic with the appearance of the building and the surrounding streetscene.

Proposals Should Not:

Standardised shopfront designs will only be acceptable in exceptional cases and if they suit the particular building and streetscenes in question.

The retention of original shopfront designs, sash windows and doors is preferable to their replacement by modern equivalents.


The choice of material should reflect the character of the building and surrounding landscape.

The colouring and styling details used should be in sympathy with the building and the area.

Decorative details should be used/maintained to provide interest and variety.

The fascia should respect the size, proportions and design of the individual buildings with particular attention being taken that:

A design which "frames" the display window is encouraged to ensure that visual solidity is retained and encourages the eye to move towards the shop entrance.


The Council will attempt to secure that advertisements do not adversely affect the architecture of buildings and adjoining areas and that they are designed to enhance the appearance of the area.

Advertisements should normally be restricted to "informative" advertising - the name of the firm, type of business carried out and the product sold. "Promotional" advertisements will not be allowed.

Care should be taken in choosing lettering, colouring and materials which respect the building and area.

Fascia signs should complement the existing building and their size and position should reflect adjacent properties and the streetscene in general.

Signs are to be non-illuminated unless opening hours require this.

Where suitable, projecting signs of traditional hanging design will be permitted and should be limited to one per building, unless two street frontages are involved and not above the fascia level.

Forecourt signs will be assessed having regard to their affect on visual amenities and do not contribute to "clutter". Within shopping areas free-standing external signs will be discouraged as they are an obstruction to ease of access, especially to disabled and elderly groups.


Adopted October 1993