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Published by the Society in the Ripon Gazette, 19th October 2008
The need for shops to be distinctive in their looks is understandable. But as David Winpenny of RIPON CIVIC SOCIETY notes, there should also be an awareness of the effect that shop fronts have on the rest of the local streetscape. Here he looks at two premises that take a different view of how to put themselves forward.

Yorkshire Trading Company’s Market Square façade is not part of an historic building. Like Curry’s next door it is in a dull brick box – but that it not an excuse for bad manners when it comes to its shop front. The recent refurbishment, while it has at long last done away with the flaking paintwork and rotting wood that previously characterised the store, has not improved its presence on the Square. The two styles of lettering are unsubtle. The green colour of the fascia is too strident for the site, and the shop window posters are an offensive jumble. Worse, however, is the clutter on the pavement. While shops are allowed to display their wears within the bounds of their own property, they should not encroach on to the street. At Yorkshire Trading Company there is always a slick of buckets, mops, garden furniture, clothes, tools, utensils – anything that might sell that day or that they want particularly to push – that pushes out three or four feet into the way of pedestrians. This is unattractive and should be removed.

The Abode shop in Westgate is a completely different story. Here, the façade is kept in good condition and the paintwork is fresh and clean. All the paintwork is the same colour, a delicate grey. It could have been utterly boring. In fact, because it is kept spotless it enhances the elegance of the Edwardian shop front, letting shadows and mouldings play their part in varying the surface. The grey tones in well with the black-and-white chequerboard pattern of the entrance tiles. And the simple lettering – just the single word ‘abode’ – is all that is needed.

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