A survey has revealed “deterioration” of the structure has increased, leaving Lichfield District Council with no option but to close the Birmingham Road site.
There is no indication as to how long the closure will last, with a council spokesperson confirming only that the closure “may be temporary”.
Shutting a key city centre car park in the busy pre-Christmas period is far from ideal, but the council have insisted that safety must come first.
Councillor David Smith, Leader of Lichfield District Council, said:
“With Christmas shopping in full swing, it is a really unfortunate time of year to close one of our main city car parks. However, our primary concern has to be people’s safety. Because of this, we have had no choice but to close the multi-storey.
“We are incredibly sorry for the inconvenience this will cause shoppers and traders. However, we are making some changes to other city car parks which will mean shoppers and visitors should still be able to find somewhere central to park.”
The car park had been earmarked for work to widen the spaces following feedback from drivers.
But with the closure of the multi-storey while further structural surveys are carried out, the council have been forced to make changes to their parking provision.
Ruth Plant, Director of Operational Services, added:
“It’s quite normal for a car park of its age and construction to deteriorate slowly over time, so we carry out regular structural surveys to ensure it remains safe. Our recent expert survey has shown that the rate of deterioration has increased recently, so we have closed the car park before it becomes unsafe.
“We monitor the number of cars in our car parks on a weekly basis. Using figures from last week, which was an incredibly busy time of year as it included the Christmas Lights switch on and late night shopping evening, we are confident that by making some small changes to nearby car parks, shoppers and visitors won’t struggle to park centrally.
“We will be changing the lower level of Lombard Street car park to short-stay at weekends. The District Council House car park, on Frog Lane, will also be open from 6.30 every night for free, over the festive period, which will be ideal for theatre customers, late night shoppers and people visiting the city at night. We will keep the situation under close review and will be working with our partners over the coming days to explore other local central parking.”
The news also means that the shop-mobility service will need to find a new home while the car park’s safety is assessed further. Arrangements are currently being made to identify new premises.