Policy RET 4: Shop fronts and security

Shop Fronts

  1. Proposals for new shop fronts or alterations to existing shops, including commercial premises, will be supported subject to meeting the following criteria:
    1. the design and materials used must be of a high quality and must relate to the building as an entity and the character of the area;
    2. proposals should reflect the traditional character of shop fronts and include historically accurate detailing;
    3. new shopfronts in conservation areas should incorporate traditional design elements and materials; and
    4. the proposals should be designed to meet the needs of disabled people; and
    5. any existing features of historic or architectural interest are retained.


  1. Shopfronts should present an active frontage to the street scene at all times. Where security is essential, preference will be given to internal open mesh grilles. Where it is demonstrated that additional security is necessary, following the consideration first of other measures such as security glazing, lighting, closed circuit TV and alarms, external open mesh grilles may be permitted. The housing for retractable open mesh grilles should be integrated into the shop front fascia. External solid shutters that obscure the shopfront will not be permitted.

Blinds and Canopies

  1. Applications for blinds, canopies, awnings or any such similar device will be permitted subject to satisfying the following criteria:
    1. the size, colours, design and materials are appropriate to the character and features of the building, and the character and appearance of the local area;
    2. proposals should not obscure features of architectural or historic interest or be uncharacteristic of a building’s design;
    3. by reason of height or degree of projection the canopy must not interfere with free pedestrian or traffic movement; and
    4. where canopies are retractable, the canopy/blind box must be recessed in the plane of the shop front. Where this is physically impossible, projecting blind boxes must be inconspicuous and painted in a colour to match the shop front.

Supporting information

9.17 This policy supports LPS Policy SE 1 'Design', which seeks to make sure that development makes a positive contribution to its surroundings. Shopfronts affect the character and attractiveness of an area, and very particular attention should be given to the design and appearance of shop fronts in conservation areas. The council will seek to make sure that new shopfronts are of a high standard everywhere and are sensitive to the area in which they are located and of the building concerned to make sure that important existing historical/architectural features are retained. The policy also seeks to comply with legislation regarding access and facilities for disabled people. For further guidance on this matter, reference can be made to the Easy Access to Historic Buildings (2015) report.

9.18 Shop windows provide views into and out of premises and help bring activity and enhance feelings of security. External steel shutters, and particularly solid shutters, along shop fronts can create dead and hostile environments and can attract vandalism and graffiti. Opportunities to improve security that do not require obtrusive features on the exterior of buildings, such as security glazing and alarm systems, should always be explored first before open mesh external shutters are considered. Proposals for the installation of metal shutter boxes, external grilles or other obtrusive features will not be acceptable in conservation areas or on listed buildings.

Related documents

Policy information


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