Plans to revamp the front of a prominent Hereford city-centre shop have been knocked back.

WHSmith opened a Toys R Us outlet last month in its High Town branch, a grade II listed building within the city’s central conservation area.

It had previously put in a planning application to install four Toys R Us vinyl graphics on its windows, the largest measuring 2.7 by 1.8 metres.


But Herefordshire Council’s buildings conservation officer Debra Lewis said these “will produce a dead shopfrontage with the shop interior not being able to be viewed”, and that displaying Toys R Us goods instead “would be far more appropriate”.

She concluded the signs would cause “less than substantial harm to the listed building” which would “not be outweighed by the public benefits” – clarifying that “‘less than substantial harm’ is still significant harm in heritage terms”.

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It didn’t help that WHSmith did not appear to have submitted an application for listed building consent, she added.

Planning officer Eleanor Barry agreed that the retailer’s proposal “does not conserve or protect the listed building and overall surrounding area”.

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