Closure among the options being considered as councillors review future of Lichfield Shopmobility service

Councillors are reviewing the future of the Shopmobility service in Lichfield.

A number of options – including closure – are being considered as the service’s current site near the multi-storey car park will be demolished to make way for the Friarsgate development.

Although a new unit is being proposed for Shopmobility as part of the redevelopment, Lichfield District Council is planning to review the future of the facility beforehand.

Cllr Helen Fisher

Cllr Helen Fisher

In a report, Cllr Helen Fisher, Cabinet member for tourism, said that there were currently 70 members of the service.

“Although membership has declined over the past three years, usage has remained relatively consistent,” she said.

“A charging scheme was approved and introduced in April 2014. Fees comprise an annual membership of £5 and a charge of £1 per visit.

“The introduction of the charges could explain the drop in members but we also need to be mindful that scooters have become increasingly affordable in recent years and privately owned vehicles are a common sight on the city streets.

“The Shopmobility service has been given notice that it will need to vacate its unit by January 2017. It is therefore timely to consider whether it remains relevant and represents value for money – and whether the council should continue to be the operator.”

Shopmobility currently employs one in-house attendant working 30 hours a week, with casual and agency staff used as required.

The council has budgeted £37,030 to run the service in 2016/17.

But a number of options are being considered:

  • Continue to operate using a temporary location while Friarsgate is built.
  • Close the Shopmobility service permanently.
  • Reduce the running cost by cutting the number of days it opens or by increasing the charges.
  • Seek an alternative organisation to run Shopmobility.
  • Temporarily suspend Shopmobility while Friarsgate is built.

Councillors will discuss the options at a meeting of the leisure, parks and waste management overview and scrutiny committee on Monday (June 20).

Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

2 Comments

  1. JoAnne Woodward

    2nd July, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    I belong to the Shopmobility schemes in Lichfield, Burton and Tamworth, without them I would be unable to access shops in these towns. I live in a rural area where a mobility scooter is of no use so buying one is a waste of money. The simple fact is if you shut down Shopmobility I will have stop shopping in Lichfield, something I have done for over 30 years. I offer this challenge to any memeber of the Council with guts enough to take it up, live a week in my life before you decide to cut anymore services used by disabled people.

  2. AgitatorofPeople

    4th July, 2016 at 8:42 am

    The average price of a mobility scooter is £1200, not exactly small change, and if you are coming into town by car or public transport, you may not be able to take your mobility scooter.
    What is the councils plan for Lichfield? to turn it into an environment where only the well heeled and able bodied can access it, the new shopping centre is going to cost multi millions to build, and LDC cant find £37,030 annually to run this service. Conservative Councillors = Nasty.

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