geoffrey litherland Wirksworth 0

Support for renewable energy at 37a St John Street, Wirksworth

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Support green energy!!!

Please sign this petition to support the installation of solar panels on the roof of 37a St John Street, Wirksworth (a grade 2 listed building next to the Memorial Gardens) – the council have recommended our planning application is refused because they would be visible from the street in the conservation area. We have chosen very sophisticated solar panels that are not the standard panels you usually see - they are the most visually unobtrusive possible with the latest technology for both high efficiency and slick appearance. The sustainability benefits of renewable energy surely outweigh the minimal visual impact of these in light of the climate emergency! Read on to find out more if needed.


37a St John Street is a listed building that we are renovating to bring it back to life after years of neglect. Historic England recommendations for solar panels on historic buildings have been taken into consideration in our plans - we have selected efficient and slick panels with a black, anti-reflective finish, mounted on low, black coloured brackets to be as visually unobtrusive as possible. They will be centred and butted together to create a seamless, symmetrical, unified block, and cabling will not be visible.

The solar panels would work in combination with a ground source heat pump to make the building carbon neutral, using solely renewable energy sources, supported by other energy efficiency measures: e.g. installation of wall and roof insulation throughout, double glazing/ secondary glazing, draught proofing, underfloor heating.

The aim is to create a sustainable, warm and comfortable home that strikes a balance between “saving energy and reducing carbon emissions, sustaining heritage significance, and maintaining a healthy building” (Historic England: Energy Efficiency and Historic Buildings: Solar Electrics (photovoltaics), 2018).

The solar panels will be visible from the Memorial Gardens / main street, so the council have recommended this application is refused because they deem solar panels to look ‘alien’ in the Wirksworth conservation area. They also don’t see the sustainability benefit of one home moving to renewables to be significant enough.

The council’s own conservation report, however, states that the solar panels in our proposal would not cause substantial visual ‘harm’ to the building and setting, and the local Derbyshire Dales policies all claim they will address the challenges of climate change, which is of high importance given that the area has high levels of per capita carbon emissions and is situated in an area of natural beauty, which the local policy plan outlines the need to protect and enhance for social, physical and economic reasons. Strategic objectives to support this include facilitating low carbon development and energy generation from renewable sources through retro-fitting or refurbishment of existing buildings (Adopted Derbyshire Dales Local Plan, p28).

The UK is missing nearly all its renewable energy targets - 75% of our electricity must come from clean energy sources by 2030 if we are to meet legally binding commitments to zero emissions by 2050, but we are long way off. 19 million homes need to be decarbonized in order to meet these targets.

The measures proposed in our application aim to support these targets and create a sustainable, energy efficient home.

There are other examples of solar panels being approved on listed / heritage buildings in Derbyshire Dales and beyond, and if approved, this could be a landmark case for Wirksworth, showing how progressive and sustainable the council can be.

Please sign our petition to support our solar panels application!!

PLEASE NOTE: your name and address will be visible on this petition and published online, but personal contact information (email address) will be removed.

FULL DETAILS OF THE PROPOSAL CAN BE FOUND HERE: - click on ‘view associated documents’ and see in particular the ‘Heritage Statement’ for our full proposal, design, and rationale, the ‘Additional Information’ file for details of the solar panels, andOfficers Report- Committee’ to see the council’s report.

This petition has been organised by: Angharad McLaren, 37a St John Street, Wirksworth, DE4 4DS. Email:

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