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New scheme could also see redevelopment of Bird Street car park into new courtyard and conversion of council chamber into a wedding venue.


Plans for the future redevelopment of Lichfield city centre could see the creation of four distinct quarters if a masterplan is approved.

A draft report has been produced by David Lock Associates who were brought in by Lichfield District Council to develop a long-term plan.

It comes after the long-awaited Friarsgate scheme bit the dust after more than a decade in the planning.

But the new vision would see the creation of four city quarters:

  • Cathedral Quarter
  • Market Quarter
  • Business and Learning Quarter
  • Southern Gateway Quarter

The draft report explains the thinking behind the proposal:

“The quarters are defined, in part, by the established character of different parts of the city centre, its historic development, and by the prevailing mix of uses present.

“They provide a means of targeting investment ensuring that development opportunities and public realm priorities contribute to helping further enhance the character of each quarter but also the attractiveness and appeal of the wider city centre.

“The quarters are connected by key streets and spaces across the city centre. As well as performing a practical access function, the streets and spaces also lend distinction to different locations in the city centre, helping people to find their way around Lichfield.

“They include the city’s important green parks and spaces which are such an important part of the identity of Lichfield, specifically Minster Pool, Stowe Pool, and Beacon Park.

“Together the quarters, streets and spaces help define the city centre, are deeply embedded in its history and identity, and provide a robust framework for making decisions about its future.”

Draft Lichfield city centre masterplan

Creation of a Bird Street ‘courtyard’

The report has also earmarked key areas for redevelopment as part of the new proposals.

An artist’s impression of the new Bird Street courtyard area

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These include the bus station area which formed a key part of the failed Friarsgate scheme, as well as the Bird Street car park.

The draft masterplan suggest this could create a new courtyard area featuring housing and commercial units along Minster Pool – but with the loss of more than 100 parking spaces.

“A new mixed-use development to the north of the Bird Street site would provide a ground floor of commercial uses that would front onto the parking, as well as providing openings into Minster pool Walk. New apartments would be provided above.

“In the longer term, and should the opportunity arise, the reconfiguration or redevelopment of premises adjoining the Bird Street parking courtyard would provide opportunities for further overlooking of the space and to allow for a wider mix of complementary uses to be introduced into the Market Quarter.”

Draft Lichfield city centre masterplan

The masterplan has also identified a possible revamp of the council’s own headquarters on Frog Lane as part of the project.

A proposal to revamp some of the existing offices is proposed, along with creating new uses for other elements, including the council chamber.

“The location of the District Council House is significant in providing an opportunity to better integrate with the adjacent Birmingham Road Gateway site, through complementary uses.

“The western buildings located on St John Street could provide a self-contained serviced office/conference centre.

“The council chamber and adjacent buildings could be converted to provide a self-contained wedding/occasion venue, with the attractive courtyard garden providing outdoor and breakout space.

“The southern office building could be refurbished to provide a self-contained multi-purpose community space, including for use by local groups associated with the organisation of festivals.”

Draft Lichfield city centre masterplan

Car park, cinema and residential properties

Ambitious plans have also been drawn up for the Birmingham Road area of the site, which would become the new Southern Gateway Quarter.

The hoardings around the site earmarked for the failed Friarsgate scheme on Birmingham Road

Proposals for this area of the city centre include a new multi-storey car park, a cinema and residential properties.

But the report anticipates work to deliver this section of the masterplan could take a further “five to seven years” – and suggests the housing would be built in phase one, with the leisure amenities following in a second phase.

Proposals for the Cathedral Quarter include the installation of a cycle path and walkway around the whole of Minster Pool to create a circular route, while the Business and Learning Quarter area is earmarked for coach parking provision and commercial accommodation for small and start-up businesses.

The draft masterplan will be discussed at a meeting of the economic growth, environment and development overview and scrutiny committee on 17th December.

Ross

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.

30 replies on “Draft masterplan drawn up for the future of Lichfield proposes creation of new city quarters”

  1. Pie in the sky
    All sounds very nice, I think!!!!, but once again far too ambitious, I understood that this company had been tasked with a plan for the “Friarsgate Site” not remodel the whole City, also it indicates that the residential property would be built first with the Bus Station coming at the end of the project, I do think that the rebuild of the multi storey car park should be an urgent consideration before we spend £300,000 on new lighting and further works on the failing structure

  2. “Quarters” are so last year. Every town and city has been developing quarters for a number of years – in fact some have managed more than four quarters! They’ve worked extremely well in some places and less so in others.
    The quarters would have been innovative way back when Friarsgate was first mooted!

    It would have been more interesting if the consultants had come up with something other than the trusted old quarter.

    We should be capitalising on Lichfield’s history and the compact but interesting lay out of the city. The development of a distinct identity that combines the practicalities for local residents with the destination features that would entice visitors from near and far still hasn’t been forthcoming.

    A bit of imagination goes a long way, sadly not in Lichfield so far.

  3. Jayne
    A cinema is mentioned

    Proposals for this area of the city centre include a new multi-storey car park, a cinema and residential properties.

    But don’t hold your breath, we have to build the residential first!!!!!!

  4. Perhaps rename the city Lichfield Keynes after the master plan conception. Admittedly it is difficult to remodel a city with such a historic footprint, but this plan seems to be mostly business orientated and lacks any sensitivity to its heritage. In any case the costing would be prohibitive and exponentially greater than the failed Friarsgate. A bit like Brexit, Lichfields future planning has become a ‘Ground Hog’ day. A city 1400 years in the making facing its demise in one generation.

  5. Residential – In Lichfield terms this means more housing for the elderly. Kick out the 100 year old councillors, bring in some new blood who can develop the city into the modern age, for modern people. Will never happen though.

  6. I take it our city planners will continue to be “rewarded” by those who can’t wait to get their hands on Lichfield. After all, no real Lichfield person would have agreed to the ongoing over-development of the city. No ideas about how to make it an efficient and comfortable place to live. Hey, why bother Lichfield planners? For you nothing matters other than targets and I reckon not one of you actually lives here. You’re a bunch of greedy, capricious individuals who deserve to suffer like the rest of us who live here thanks to your rampant immigration of extra people that means a city big enough for 20,000 people is inhabited by at least double that number. Absolute shame on you all.

  7. Fantastic, town is becoming increasingly inaccessible so why not cocktail it up completely and make parking a complete nightmare.
    Destroying this wonderfully historic city by allowing grey and green metal clad monstrosities to blight this once beautiful city.
    A council without taste, sense or vision.

  8. Shops yes but if you study the city centre it is pubs, cafés ,eating establishments together with charity shops and offices. There are very few shops of character

  9. I entirely agree with a lot of the comments .Lichfield is famous for its very long history , sadly this sounds like th rape of an ancient monument . The council have still not done anything with friarsgate .A cinema was a good idea,. The biggest problem would be the destruction of buildings that have semi modern or Belgian frontages, but very old buildings behind .I also assume that it would create more shops, we can’t fill those we’ve got, (God bless charity shops) I also assume most of the accommodation would be retirement homes of which we already have many,,sadly most of have balconies overlooking non ornamental car parks .
    OH NO NOT AGAIN

  10. Another pie in the sky plan How on Earth would you encourage tourists and shoppers when you scrap 100 parking spaces ?? So many visitors are disabled and would need to be close to the attractions like the market or cathedral. Just fill the city with apartments and allow all the shops to move to retail parks, so short sighted ideas ,!!

  11. The city centre has already been destroyed by removing car parking, removing more is idiotic. And we all know the only phase ever completed is residential.

  12. A cinema and a multi-storey car park. The planners (who, no doubt, don’t live in our wonderful historic little city) won’t be happy until they’ve ruined it, just like Tamworth. Tourists come to Lichfield because it’s quaint and characterful, that’s also why we like living here. When will they ever learn?!

  13. This will ruin Lichfield and it will lose its identity. It’s not like another town so don’t make it like one. There are to many pubs and bars. Banks .barbers and charity shops. We need shops that sell stuff people actually need. Bus routes are appalling and taxis are to expensive to travel out of Lichfield. We need schools and doctors surgerys to provide services for all these new estates that are being built. I really don’t know who devises all these far to adventurous plans. We need basic amenities in Lichfield. Decent bus service. Decent shops.an a&e department. Schools. Doctor’s. It takes weeks to see my gp as it is without building all these old folks places. What draws people to Lichfield is going to be lost and people will end up moving out. The village feeling it once had is long gone. Let’s hope it doesn’t lose all its charm and safety for the almighty pound….. Lichfield could end up a goast town… Play on it’s individuality and charm.

  14. What an absolute shocking idea yet not unexpected. When I read this is see

    “we are building more residential, but we will keep it traditional (tradition as in retirement homes) don’t worry we won’t block the view of the cathedral when we take away your biggest and most convenient car park for more residential properties (that can be expanded) but we will throw a bit of grass down if you decide you want to have a look at those flats.

    We will build another multi story car park next to the other one so that visitors have such a shocking view when they arrive on train that they will be even more amazed when they get to see what is behind it but we won’t tell you how big this car park will be because we want to get as many flats built first … oh yeh a cinema at some point. “

    We can’t let this go ahead and need to start to object to this as it sounds as appealing as a 1970’s inner city shopping centre.

  15. Just when you think Lichfield c.c. could not come up with another
    crazy scheme it does not disapoint with the Bird Street car park.
    They are a complete load of bunglers, I will give them a idea for there
    project why not cover Minster Pool over and build a multi-story on it to replace the ones lost in Bird Street. You know it makes sense.?

  16. I understand that the (Lichfield) wall will remain, :ie when the demolition of the Police Station,toilet block Etc. is complete then the six foot high wall round the Police Station site will remain, so we will have our own dividing wall.
    Why it is staying?, I would like to know the reasoning behind the decision

  17. GFI. Hahaha
    Birmingham New Street is so alien!!!!! Born and brought up in Staffordshire and in my youth frequenting Birmingham I now find I no longer belong. Birmingham has become a centre for whom??? Not locals that’s for sure. And not especially young people either. So for whom is it developed. The architects, the designers, what is happening with their education. I walk into a store, it reminds me of the mistakes of the 60’s shopping centres. I walk out without buying anything. Oh yes so very new and modern. But what is modern? And why? I walk into New Street and I walk out again. Surely this is not what Lichfield is about. Or do I have it wrong.

  18. Having made the above comment I see Birmingham as being a completely different proposition to Lichfield. I’m not wanting to ‘put Birmingham down’. Birmingham is a wonderful city to visit and it caters for different types of people. International travellers and businesses. I once said to a friend, a resident in Birmingham, that Lichfield has a lot of Charity shops, she replied “yes, Lichfield is poor isn’t it”. When I don’t see Lichfield as poor I see it as being ‘different’, as having different priorities. After all it’s my perception that one of the mistakes of the 60’s planning was making every town centre the same.

  19. Well Megan, Lichfield underwent similar change in the 60s. Stow Street and Bakers Lane were totally redeveloped and Bakers Lane has since been redeveloped again. It is now an area of no significant historical importance and exceedingly bland.
    In your earlier post you wonder for whom and what purpose the present crop of redevelopments apply. I think that is a good question and, in the light of what we see, not easily answered. It is tempting but perhaps simplistic to think commercial interests are the main or only incentive.
    It is very difficult to retain the heritage and ethos of a historical city while moving it into changing times. Places like Chester, Bath, York and others have largely achieved this. Lichfield seems incapable of doing likewise and the commercial considerations are ever nibbling at the edges. Our main car parking area is now under threat.
    You are right to cite Birmingham (I am from there) as a comparison. It abandoned its history, adopted multi culture and the commercial ethos is now all important. It dosen’ t matter on one level but the pride it used to engender in its citizens is now much diminished. Perhaps like there, I am afraid we might have seen the best of Lichfield.

  20. Philip I understand where you are coming from and I agree with you. Especially about in whose interests redevelopment lies. It seems such a pity that we have to give into whatever is fashionable at any given moment in time. Fashion is ephemeral as you know. Diversity is important but it doesn’t have to mean annihilation of heritage. Heritage is important too. Visit any foreign country and for the most part you will enjoy seeing something different to what you see at home, the diverseness of them makes those places an enjoyment to visit. A tree that blooms needs roots to feed it does it not. If it doesn’t have roots how does it thrive. To make every place the same defeats the object of diversity. Does Lichfield just succumb to becoming a smaller version of Birmingham? Yes Baker St and Stowe Street are examples of this fashion ‘idea’. They are very bland and largely passing through areas for me have to say. I traversed some of the heritage streets of Lichfield today and again saw the beauty of them. They lifted my spirit. They are so different, so diverse. It is my wont to do this in town centres at times, having been away from the area and the UK for several years I probably see the changes more clearly than most. See the wood for the trees as the saying goes. Lichfield is a beautiful City and it’s heritage town centre is a sight for sore eyes. The places you mention, Chester, Bath and York are well worth visiting. They have not given up or given in. They have managed it how can Lichfield not. Where there is a will there is a way. Memories are made of this sort of thing, never to be forgotten, tales to tell people about. I have very special memories of Chester. A weekend visit just before the Christmas holiday period a few years back now. It was a truly wonderful experience. Really magical. The whole scenario. I have similar memories of York and Bath too. So different to the normal run of the mill places. They have something to offer whilst still retaining character and retaining positive incentives for the local residents to have something to care about. Exactly the same kind of never to be forgotten memories that I have as when I have visited characterful places abroad. Yes, who is in the driving seat Philip? Change for change’s sake is never a good idea.

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