Stourport-on-Severn No.2 Conservation Area
Stourport-on-Severn Conservation Area No. 2 is 6.6 hectares in extent and comprises buildings, streets, a length of canal and associated environments, that date primarily from the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and form the central part of the historic core of the Town. The Area continues from the south-west end of the Gilgal and covers the central part of the Town. The buildings in the Area are primarily in the Georgian style, which forms a visually powerful expression that reflects the timing of the Town’s foundations and early growth.
The Conservation Area is situated over a expanse of land that has a very gradual, even but shallow rise from south to north. The highest point of this expanse is approximately 12 metres above the bank level of the River Severn; some 500 metres to the south west. A limb of the Area extends outwards from the northern east end along Mitton Street, and this limb falls away evenly but sharply by some 6 metres as far as the road junction with Severn Road.
The predominant land uses within the Area are as follows:
A) Retail and commercial uses, located mainly along High Street, York Street, New Street, Lickhill Road and Lombard Street; and collectively occupying the entire Area to the west of the canal cut. It is not known whether these premises were originally constructed specifically for retail and commercial use, dwellings, or mixed use (dwellings above shops). However, it is most probable the properties in New Street (particularly the western end) were primarily dwellings; whilst the properties in Lombard Street (western side) were small dwellings or “courts”; and
B) Pockets of long-established residential use occur in Lion Hill (east side), Mitton Street and off Parkes Passage (where there is also two churches). Recent residential use has been added to the Area by way of a redevelopment of the former canal-side loading quay, known as Parkes Quay and conversion of other canal-side buildings in the vicinity.
The Area contains twenty-five Statutory List Entries which relate to approximately forty statutorily listed buildings; together with several other buildings and structures of interest, primarily dating from the late eighteenth to early twentieth century. Some of the latter have been subject to unsympathetic alterations (such as replacement of windows) but none are beyond restoration, which should be considered in preference to redevelopment. Generally, every effort should be made to retain built fabric in the Area dating from the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in particular. Particularly special features in the Area include the following:
- The canal, including the Wallfield Bridge lock, overflow and adjoining lock keepers cottage, towpath, adjoining revetments and Lower Mitton Bridge.
- Former canal maintenance yard workshop and remains of a canal-side crane in Parkes Quay, and a canal building on the east side of the canal cut; both now converted into dwellings.
- War Memorial and Garden (Vale Road).
- Wesleyan Chapel and Manse, and Methodist Church and Sunday school (Parkes Passage).
- Wedged or rounded corners of buildings, where paths and roads meet.
- Nos. 9 & 10, Parkes Passage, which were originally properties of the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal Company.
- Narrow pedestrian nature of Parkes Passage.
The area contains a particularly important man made interruption to the natural topography in the form of the cut through which the canal passes, parallel to the western side of Lion Hill. This adopts a straight, deep passage (approximately 5 metres at its greatest), running from north to south. It enters the Area under the Lower Mitton Bridge (Mitton Street) and exits beneath the Wallfield Bridge (York Street) from where it joins the complex of basins in Area No.1. The canal is retained for almost the entire length of this cut by revetments either side, giving it a corridor-like feel. A stretch of bank on the west side (Parkes Quay) has been historically reduced to allow for the siting of loading facilities. This canal function has now been replaced by recent residential development.
Stourport-on-Severn Conservation Area No. 2 covers part of a town that was established and developed as a result of the construction of the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal, and is the only town in England to hold this distinction. This part of the town thus has immense historic value and because of the relationship between town and canal, the character of the Conservation area is of high importance.
The laying out and construction of the town during the Georgian period has stamped an unmistakable character and appearance on the urban fabric, which provides a clear lead for further development.