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A series of shop fronts lit up at night

Shopfront and Signage update approved by Cabinet.  

by Emily Maguire

Knowsley Council’s Cabinet have approved an update to the Council’s Shopfronts and Signage Design Supplementary Planning Document.

The planning document was adopted by the Cabinet in January 2016 and provides detailed guidance -on how shopfronts and signage should be designed. Since its introduction, it has made a valuable contribution to improving the quality of commercial premises across the Borough.

Since the document was adopted seven years ago, there have been a number of changes to the planning system, and a review in 2022 found that the existing Supplementary Planning Document no longer reflected changes that have been made to planning use classes, did not address a new permitted development right to change the use of buildings, and did not properly reflect changes to national planning policy and guidance, which emphasise the importance of good design and the tools available to achieve it.

Cabinet were asked to review and approve proposed changes to the Supplementary Planning Document and the revised document now includes;

  • References to national planning policy and guidance have been updated to reflect changes made since 2016.
  • Inclusion of a link to the Council’s local validation checklist, which will allow applicants to clearly understand what information they have to provide to the Council when making an application for planning permission.
  • An explanation of how the Council will deal with prior approval applications to change “commercial, business and service use” to residential use.
  • The inclusion of reference to the Building Regulations to ensure that applicants are aware of the requirement to make new shop fronts accessible.
  • Additional guidance on fascia signs to ensure that they do not obscure important features.
  • A new section on canopies and blinds.
  • Changes to the guidance on security and roller shutters to introduce more flexibility for businesses which cannot practically use internal roller shutters.
  • A Design Checklist which enables applicants to quickly reference how their proposals respond to the guidance in the Supplementary Planning Document.

Cllr Tony Brennan, Knowsley Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development said: “A huge number of new businesses and organisations have opened across the borough in recent years and having a clear direction from the council in terms of their shopfronts and signage means that our towns and villages are consistently attractive and also meet the needs of our communities.

“The updated guidance will only make it clearer and easier for applicants to understand what is expected of them when submitting plans for their premises.”

You can view the full updated Shopfronts and Signage Design Supplementary Planning Document online here