Dear <<First Name>>,
Row of cartoon houses
Wirksworth Transition Community Land Trust

house in tree logo
Charity number 1178158
Newsletter 5 -  Sept-Oct 2021

Link to our website.
In this issue
Outcome of our AGM in July
Wirksworth Eco Fayre 2 October
Good Practice in Retrofitting
Buy the Stone Centre?
Other useful links
Our Board
Our AGM did not attract any members to attend, just existing trustees. We were quorate, so we continued and had a useful discussion with our speaker about how we might do better! John Youatt had experience in helping to establish the Youlgreave CLT, and he made a number of suggestions. 

We had hoped our project of retrofitting four houses would get us on track again, but unfortunately, the owner withdrew. That has resulted in more resignations from the board because existing trustees have been working for a long time to get a project going, and each time we think we might have one, it falls through!

We have now decided to concentrate on trying to get an agreement with the Peak District Rural Housing Assn, so that together we will be stronger to negotiate taking on the affordable housing at the Middleton Road development, which was paused during Covid, but is expected to start up again. Alison Clamp, who recently retired from PDRHA, has agreed to help us.

Otherwise, we will keep putting out a smaller newsletter (apologies for the delay in publishing this issue) and continue to review our future. One suggestion is that if the Middleton Road housing doesn't materialise, we will wind up our charitable CLT and see if a younger group of Wirksworth residents might be interested in setting up a much more flexible model, such as a Community Benefit Society, which doesn't have the constraints imposed by the Charities Commission.

We will keep you posted. If you would like to find out more about becoming a trustee, do contact us on
We are collaborating with other environmental groups in Wirksworth to put on an Eco Fayre on 2 October. The event was initiated by Wirksworth Churches Together and the WTCLT will be having a stall to show people more about retrofitting their houses. We are also organising a talk and discussion about Air Source Heat Pumps at the end of the event, 2pm in The Maltings. If you have an ASHP or are considering getting one, then do come along.

The Eco Fayre is planned for sharing information about actions that individuals and households can take to tackle the climate and ecological crisis. It will take place alongside the monthly Farmers’ Market, from 9am to 2pm.
The Revd Jenny Few, Chair of Wirksworth Churches Together said; “We are in the lead up to COP26 in Glasgow in November, which is the ‘best-last-chance’ summit for avoiding climate breakdown.

Most of us are worrying about the increasing floods, storms, wild-fires and melting ice caps and want to know what we can do ourselves to make a difference.  We are Flyer for Eco Fayreholding the Eco Fayre to show that everyone can do something however small and lots of small actions add up to something bigger.”
The event will demonstrate a surprising range of day-to-day actions for using less fossil fuel, such as switching to green alternatives in our houses for heating and generating electricity, and in our transport with electric cars, electric bikes, pedal bikes and walking. One stall will show how to waste less ‘Stuff’ by learning how to make things last longer using the four R’s, Recycle, Repair, Re-use and Re-fill. Other stalls will show how to grow some of our own food and even find it in the roadsides, as well as how we can increase the dwindling biodiversity in our gardens, verges and countryside.
Chlldren will be catered for at The Maltings in an area organised by the Wirksworth Eco Centre for making bug houses and boats. A locally-produced guide to the Energy Switch Initiative will be launched on how to change to a Green alternative energy supplier. Planet-friendly refreshments and recipes will be provided.
Stalls will be outside and inside, using open spaces around the heart of the town centre and The Maltings on St. Mary’s Gate. Nothing will be sold or bought but experience and ideas will be shared.

        tumble down house
            Photo by Mary Ann Hooper

Anyone fancy having a go at this retrofitting project? It was an irresistably photogenic ruin I passed when cycling recently in the Lincolnshire Wolds!

Four key principles for energy efficient retrofitting of houses

If you are considering getting an air source heat pump as an alternative to gas, or PV solar panels to generate electricity from the sun, be sure to look first at the "fabric" of your house. British houses are the leakiest in Europe - so make reducing the demand for energy your first priority.

1. Insulation

For walls, floors, roofs, lofts and windows, energy efficiency obviously depends on good levels of insulation.

2. Airtightness

Airtightness (or reduction of draughts) is an often overlooked aspect of energy efficiency which can make a huge impact on the warmth and comfort of a home.

3. Continuity of insulation (or minimising 'thermal bridging')

To work best, insulation needs to work in a continuous ‘blanket’ around the house, minimising any gaps in the insulation (known as ‘thermal bridges’). Examples of ‘thermal bridges include holes in the building envelope for pipes and cables or gaps in insulation where the wall meets the roof, which breaks the continuity of insulation and loses heat out of the building.

4. Ventilation

As airtightness improves in a building, it is also vital that potential dampness is considered so as to avoid condensation. Opening a window or even using 'trickle vents' can defeat the purpose of airtightness - the ideal alternative is to install a Mechanical Ventilation & Heat mechanical ventilation and heat recovery imageRecovery (MVHR) system, in which the heat of the air being vented is transferred to the fresh air coming in.

CLICK HERE for more information and diagrams.


Derbyshire Dales District Council is tackling fuel poverty with better energy efficiency in the houses of low-income residents and reducing carbon emissions.

Work will begin soon to install energy efficiency measures such as external wall insulation and solar PV panels in a further 89 properties across the district to tackle fuel poverty and reduce carbon emissions.

The council is applying for nearly £1 million of additional funding to expand its housing fuel poverty programme helping improve the energy efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint of the worst performing homes across the district.

In partnership with other neighbouring local authorities a programme of work will begin in September to strengthen the council’s approach to enforcing minimum energy efficiency standards in privately rented properties.                          

A permanent record of all work done on any house!

TrustMark is building a national electronic database where any work done on your house must be sent by the builder or installer to this "hub" and becomes part of a Property Passport - so any owners can access a full record of work done since the property was first recorded on the database.

Find out more here.



A Retrofitting Business?

Richard Rowlatt, one of our trustees, suggests this idea for the Stones site which is for sale in the centre of Wirksworth.
Retrofitting renewable energy equipment to dwellings in Wirksworth: a discussion document.

This document is a proposal to set up a building firm on the vacant site of Stones of Wirksworth. This would specialise in  retro-fitting existing houses to be as energy-efficient as possible in heating and lighting, using electricity generated from renewable sources such as wind and solar power.
Stones Centre building
The firm would undertake damp-proofing and insulation in preparation for installing solar panels (photovoltaic and water heating), heat pumps (ground source and  air source), air conditioning, wood burning stoves etc.

A complete bespoke service of high standards and strict honesty is to be provided, from initial surveys to making good and redecorating on completion. The staff are to be highly qualified, well trained and conscientious in their various trades, professions and other areas of skill and expertise.

The venture is to be regarded as a co-operative in the following respects:
* a)    All employees to have a stake in the venture. As such they would be share holders in the business. Any incentive bonuses are to be shared out equally. The salary of the highest paid employee
* b)    Profits are to be re-invested the business, apart from providing shareholders with a safe investment.
* c)    The activities of the co-operative are to be to the benefit of the town of Wirksworth, for instance in providing training and employment to young people. The development of the project would be part of the Town Plan devised by Wirksworth Town Council.
* d)    The business is continually to expand in volume and scope with ultimate aim of rendering all Wirksworth self sufficient in electricity generated from wind turbines and solar panels.

The site of Stones of Wirksworth
It will be seen from the photographs that the site provides ample workshop, storage and parking space, as well as for showrooms and office space.

The site is on offer for £850,000. Total start-up costs would perhaps be in the order of £2,000,000 minimum, but raising the money could be spread out once the the business is up and running and bringing in income, so that investors can be confident in the soundness of the enterprise.

Stages in setting up the business. (These stages overlap)
1. 1.    Set up the co-op.
2. 2.    Gain ownership of the site.
3. 3.    Ground and structural survey the of the site.
4. 4.    Re-design the lay out
5. 5.    Estimate the costs of repair, renovation and       retrofitting.
6. 6.    Secure repeated planning permission at every stage of the process
7. 7.    Renovate the buildings, including retrofitting.
8. 8.    Stockpile equipment and materials
9. 9.    Recruit and train the workforce.
10. 10.     Open the business.
The ultimate aim is to make the business itself self-sufficient in renewable energy. When therefore budgeting and funds allow the co-operative could erect a 10-15 megawatt wind turbine on the ridge of high ground between Black Rock and Alton Height. This can be supplemented by solar voltaic panels on roof tops or patches of vacant land. The net output from the wind turbine would exceed the needs of the building business and of the land owner. Excess electricity could be sold to the national grid.

Sources of funding
*     Grants
*     Donations
*     Loans
*     Individual investments
    *     Share issues
    *     Short term high interest bonds
    *     Investments by larger organisations. For instance 1) big renewal energy firms need reliable and efficient subcontractors. 2) the business could be an agency for manufacturers of sophisticated equipment.

I would be grateful to receive any comments or suggestions.

Richard Rowlatt.C/o
                   Stone Centre from air

Marches Energy Agency

Marches Energy Agency (MEA), working  closely with the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Local Authorities Energy Partnership (LEAP), is a registered charity and social enterprise, specialising in the delivery of practical, effective and creative ways of promoting and enabling energy reduction and renewable energy solutions. They are a great source of useful information on their website and publish an e-newsletter that you can easily sign up for.  Click here.

Centre for Sustainable Energy
Packed with useful information on home energy. Click here. - on the sustainable road to zero carbon
This website is another amazing source of information about what businesses and the government are doing to get to net zero. It also has e-newsletters you can sign up for.
Click here.

Our Board
Ivan Dixon (Treasurer)
Vacant (Secretary)
Mary Ann Hooper (Chair)
Mike Whittall
Richard Rowlatt
Vacancies: 6

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