Gilgal Conservation Area
The Gilgal Conservation area is 2.6 hectares in extent and comprises a group of buildings and associated environments that date from the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries, and form the oldest part of the Town.
In the east the Gilgal Conservation Area covers Lower Mitton which, prior to the 1760s, was a small hamlet and the only settlement in the vicinity; being located at a historic crossing point of the River Stour. In the late 1760s the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal was constructed around the west of the hamlet in order to link the Rivers Trent (far to the north) and Severn (nearby to the south). Lower Mitton continued to be the favoured crossing point of the Stour, but the canal and its terminus with the River Severn provided an environment for trade and commerce that instigated the foundation, laying out and construction of the adjoining town of Stourport-on-Severn.
In some respects it is difficult to appreciate the historic and architectural interest of Gilgal Conservation Area. This is not because such interest does not exist, but because of the detracting effects of vehicular traffic and the erosion of traditional architectural features. In particular, there has been widespread replacement of historic windows with modern uPVC double-glazing, replacement of doors, rendering or painting of walls, and unsympathetic front extensions.
Away from the roads, the bank-side to the west of Gilgal and its footpaths retain historic integrity. The footpaths wind between private gardens, which help to abate the noise and fumes of traffic. Elsewhere there are basic elements such as scale, massing, original layout, historic fabric, rooflines, and physical relationship to the adjoining Georgian town and Canal, which are of interest, and which give clues to the evolution of the Area. The Area has the potential to be a meaningful representation of the past, provided thought, will and positive measures are exercised.