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Report urges councillors to back plans for retirement apartments on former shop site in Lichfield city centre

Councillors have been urged to approve plans to build apartments on a former shop site in Lichfield city centre.

The site of the former What! store in Lichfield. Pic: Google Streetview

The site of the former What! store in Lichfield. Pic: Google Streetview

Developers hope to convert the land where the What! store once stood on Cross Keys into 44 retirement apartments.

Part of the site is owned by Lichfield District Council and the application will be discussed at a meeting of the local authority’s planning committee next week.

But a report by a planning officer has said that – subject to an objection from the flood team at Staffordshire County Council being removed once an analysis of any potential risk is received – the development should be given the go ahead.

Objections had been raised by Lichfield Civic Society over the design of the building.

An artist's impression of the new retirement apartments

An artist’s impression of the new retirement apartments

However, the report added: “The council’s conservation officer does not raise any object to the development, given that the scheme provides residential units which are appropriately articulated and pay a contemporary and attractive complement to the established development in the city centre.

“Economically the development would facilitate the re-use of an underused Brownfield site, offer a development opportunity and bring additional residents and potential consumers into this edge of city centre location.

“Socially it has been demonstrated that the development will not impact upon the reasonable residential amenity of any existing or proposed future residents within this and neighbouring sites, while conditions can be utilised to protect the future amenity of proposed residents within this site.

“Environmentally it is considered that the development is acceptable in this sustainable city centre site, and the development would preserve and enhance the character and appearance of the Lichfield City Conservation Area and the setting of surrounding listed buildings, including views of the cathedral.”

The report and application will be debated at the planning committee meeting on September 18.

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