The Wirksworth Conservation Area is a predominantly urban area, the boundary of which, encompasses the historic town centre and significant areas of historic landscape which form the backdrop to and from the town.
At the heart of the town it includes the Church of St. Mary, Church Walk, St. Mary's Gate, Blind Lane, the Market Place and Crown Yard. The main arterial routes through the town on a north-south axis are Cromford Road, Harrison Drive, The Market Place and St. John's Street. The northern boundary of the Conservation Area includes the juncture of Cromford Road with the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway and is contiguous with the southern boundary of Bolehill Conservation Area. The eastern boundary follows Oakerthorpe Road and the collection of buildings further south around the junction of Wirksworth Moor and continues along Wash Green and St. Helens Lane until it reaches Gorsey Bank. The most southerly boundary of the Conservation Area is contiguous with the northern boundary of Gorsey Bank Conservation Area. Part of the southern boundary includes the playing fields to Anthony Gell School and properties and land around Warmbrook. Further west, the Meadows and land and buildings around West End and The Dale are included. The western part of the Conservation Area also included properties along Cromford Road.
The original designation of Wirksworth Conservation Area was in August 1970. It was further extended in January 1976. There have been no further amendments to the boundary, although a Character Appraisal was carried out in April 2001. It currently comprises 169.65 hectares.
Within Wirksworth Conservation Area there are 991 buildings, of which 90 are listed entries. Of the listed entries St. Mary's Church is listed Grade I. Babington House, 35 Green Hill; 15 Market Place; The Gate House, Gate House Drive; 1 Coldwell Street; The Red Lion Hotel, Market Place and the Former Grammar School on Church Street are all listed Grade II*. The remainder are all listed Grade II. The listed buildings in Wirksworth range from commercial premises to town houses, from manor houses to chapels and from milestones to bollards. All are recognised for the contribution they make both individually and to the street-scene.
Wirksworth Conservation Area contains one Scheduled Monument - the Standing Cross in the Churchyard of St. Mary's Church
Wirksworth Conservation Area Character Appraisal
In April 2001 a comprehensive Conservation Area Character Appraisal was approved, which assessed the special qualities of the character and appearance of Wirksworth Conservation Area, both in terms of its buildings and the relationship of its spaces alongside those buildings. It assessed the archaeology; origins and development of the area; the architectural and historic quality; the setting and landscape of the area; an analysis of the character and considered the negative and neutral factors which impact on the Conservation Area. It did not make any recommendations for amendment to the boundary.
Buildings at Risk
Two of the listed buildings within the Wirksworth Conservation Area are recognised by the District Council as being 'at risk' – The Coach House and Stables rear of Dale House (Grade II) and the Gate Piers, Gate House, The Causeway (Grade II).
Article 4 Direction
Where Article 4 Directions are in place in the District they remove specified 'permitted development rights’ from a property, which means that planning permission will be required for the works as specified in the Direction.
In 1992 an Article 4 Direction was established in Wirksworth for many of the commercial and residential buildings within the Conservation Area. The Article 4 Direction for Wirksworth has been reviewed, and the draft review was made available for public consultation over a period of 6 weeks ending on 24th April 2014.
In May 2014, the District Council approved the revised Article 4(1) Direction, without modification, which came into force on 1st August 2014. All property owners affected by the changes, and other interested parties, were notified in writing of the changes to the original Direction and the planning requirements for their individual properties
The Case for the Direction, the associated Maps and Schedules can be viewed in the related documents below: