Views sought on Shopfront Design Guide
The Highland Council is asking stakeholders and members of the public for feedback on new draft guidance aimed at ensuring high quality designs for traditional, replacement and new shopfronts.
Not only does the draft Shopfront Design Guide: Planning Guidance provide advice to help promote good quality applications but it encourages developers and applicants to consider design at the earliest stage in their proposals. Once adopted, the Guidance will help provide transparency and clarity in the planning process by assisting Councillors and officers to make consistent decisions in line with best practice.
The document, which is out for consultation until Friday 23 March, sets out general principles for repair, reinstatement and replacement of shopfronts, as well as general principles for new shopfronts in new development. It also considers signage and how good advertising can be accommodated in both traditional and modern shopfronts.
Launching the consultation, Councillor Allan Henderson, Chair of The Highland Council’s Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee said: “Shopfronts are highly visible features of our built environment and the image they project has a significant impact on the way people experience an area, and the overall quality of the built environment.
“Well designed and attractive shopfronts can increase economic activity in an area by helping to provide attractive streets and encouraging people to visit or spend more time which in turn increases footfall and business for traders. However, the opposite is also true as rundown, unattractive and out of character shopfronts can have a negative impact, detracting from the area and discouraging shoppers.
“I would encourage retailers, local businesses, community groups, shoppers and the public to take part in the consultation and let us know their thoughts and ideas.”
The Townscape Heritage scheme for Academy Street in Inverness is currently awarding grant aid for building improvements including reinstating and repairing traditional shopfronts.
The Provost of Inverness Helen Carmichael joins Cllr Henderson in encouraging people to take part. She said: “Maintaining attractive town centres and a vibrant and interesting shopping experience is increasingly important when faced with competition from out-of-town shopping centres and the internet. Local shopping centres need to offer a different and diverse experience, such as an attractive environment to spend time in - shopfronts are an essential component that directly contributes to their success.”
To take part in the consultation visit – http://consult.highland.gov.uk/portal/
Following consultation members of the Council’s Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee will have an opportunity to review the draft Guidance and once it has their approval, it will be formally adopted.