Cllr Iain Eadie

Lichfield must move beyond its reputation as a hidden gem for tourists, a councillor has claimed.

Cllr Iain Eadie, deputy leader of the local authority, made his comments on a podcast hosted by the Lichfield and Tamworth Chamber of Commerce.

A new city centre masterplan is currently being consulted on as Lichfield looks to move on from the Friarsgate debacle, which saw a long-awaited redevelopment scheme collapse after more than a decade of planning.

The new proposals would see the creation of four distinct quarters to help better shape future development and identity.

But Cllr Eadie said it was important that Lichfield became more than a short day out for visitors.

“We have so much to offer – we have to get past being the hidden secret in the Midlands.

“We’ve got to try and turn those day visitors into short stay visitors and put Lichfield on the map in the way people might go to Oxford or Chester for a very nice short break.

“We know we’ve got so much to offer in Lichfield and the district, whether it’s the National Memorial Arboretum or Chasewater.”

Cllr Iain Eadie, Lichfield District Council

The discussion came as a recent report revealed Lichfield’s festivals and events contribute more than £9million to the economy.

And Cllr Eadie believes it is this money which shows how much the city has to gain from growing its reputation.

“We’ve badged ourselves as the city of festivals and people come here and have a great experience.

“It’s really fantastic to see for the visitor economy.”

Cllr Iain Eadie, Lichfield District Council

Click below to hear the full podcast:

Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

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  1. If it is not a day trip for tourists then bulldoze the entire centre and build proper roads not 18c tracks. This is tongue in cheek but with a council that obviously doesn’t want tourists or coaches to park what else can one think. Unfortunately opertunity was missed at the last election to get rid of the current clowns and elect another lot

  2. Get the infrastructure in place first. Get rid of the congestion in the city so visitors can at least get in. Make it more environmentally friendly.

  3. If I go to Chester I go for the day I think this councilor is living in the past of people having days or weeks away. I have a friend in Blackpool, I can be there in 2 hours and if I wanted to be back home in the same. It is 2020 Mr councilor people do day trips

  4. This appears to be the crux of the problem. Is Lichfield to become a full-time visitors centre for tourists with residents who pay taxes feeling left behind and ignored along with all the potholes, lack of cheap parking, really good cycle lanes, environmental and transport issues. Not taking into account factors affecting outer lying rural areas and Burntwood. Or a characterful city that offers much more for residents, workers, local niche shop owners, cafes making for a vibrant city life including our very own old British pub. As well as creating an inviting but ‘different’ place for day or weekend visitors. Perhaps even week long visitors given that anyone taking a week’s leisure break may not necessarily stay in Lichfield spending their cash but go further afield mostly, Birmingham by way of being only one example. Do I need to list others. One important thing character really does count. And once it and our heritage has gone they are gone. Yet this is what makes the UK different to the very modernised tourist centres that have been created in other countries. One error of recent past years was, in my humble opinion, to make every town centre the exact replica of any other with the same chain stores and eateries. How boring was that. It certainly didn’t make for very interesting day or weekends out. Might as well have stayed at home, same difference. Is there a third way? One which encompasses both. I do not see any reason why Lichfield cannot meet the needs of both if carefully thought out. Attracting visitors from home and abroad with good promotional advertising. Who has the courage and imagination to grasp that nettle. One more thing, just for information are the current design consultants locally based and are local residents’ views really being taken into account or is the push to get the designer’s plans passed fuelling the agenda?

  5. We had a medieval like centre with authentic cobbles and time honoured coaching inns. You see these still in many successful tourist cities. Market Street was quaint and had a timeless feeling about it.
    So councillor Eadie thinks it is a hidden gem? It might have been once; now it is run of the mill with few shops and a cathedral. I would call it a half day city. You could cover it all in that time. The Arboretum does its own catering and I doubt many would come here for the sports facilities. Mr Eadie seems to talk up all the responsibilities in his remit. Put him on pot holes and let’s see if he really has the city at heart.

  6. Let’s get local bus services for Hammerwich and surrounding areas so we can get back a forth to enjoy shopping at Litchfield .

  7. Philip character doesn’t have to mean medieval which doesn’t ‘cut it’ these days. Hammerwich resident that is possibly the most important salient point! The out of town shopping requires a car and good road surfaces anyway. Most towns centres are trying to correct the ‘sameness’ mistakes of the 60’s! Spent a week up North in Clitheroe 3 years ago. Why would I go back. The little shop that sold home-made chocolates to die for! The little wine shop with the proprietor who helped me choose exactly the right wine for that occasion or gift. The lovely eatery in the old bank which had a kitchen shop to peruse on the way up. The lovely old pub filled with friendly sociable locals who said ‘come back and stay longer next time”. Yes! The back room of a pub with easy chairs and settees where you sit to enjoy a film with a pint. The Riverside walk beforehand. There again the out of town huge “Emmaus’ Centres for the homeless in France full of everything ‘” previously loved’ you could ever need or want. People flock there especially Brits to bring ‘stuff’ back here. International tourists don’t go touring to sample their own foods. So either this or bulldozing. But the Residents are the salt of the earth. Don’t forget to tend to their needs first and foremost.

  8. I’ve lived in Lichfield 40 years and in that period all they have added to the town is houses and nothing fun for people to do. First sort out the infrastructure then work out how to improve the tourism. As you you can see from the frairsgate. The council are a bunch of clown pockets

  9. Jonas, clowns are there to make you laugh not cry. So sad really the destruction. I guess what I was attempting to say is that it was the local people and their social life that made that town. Not grand schemes.

  10. One of the first on most visitors calls after travelling either by car or coach is the toilets either at the bus station or those situated by the beacon park enterance which have been closed for a very long time or the grotty toilets at the underground carpark ,perhaps you councellors need to view these and think do these give Lichfield a good expereance

  11. Robert Griffiths-Jones as I usually bike or walk into Lichfield centre I often need to stop and relieve myself. Visitors would need to have convenient public toilets available too. I agree with you that the toilets have to be updated. And hopefully kept free as one doesn’t always have the cash. It’s a devil having to cross your legs while trying to get hold of some. The ones near Minster Pool are really ancient! The ones in Beacon Park aren’t fit for purpose. Like travelling back in time. I confess to my embarrassment I have on occasion gone into McDonald’s just for a wee.

  12. I left Burntwood at 8AM today. It took until 8.30AM to get to Tesco in Lichfield. It’s normally a 9 minute drive. Let’s hope the visitors use the train.

  13. How lovely it would be if that rickity bus depot and surrounding area was turned into a sports complex, cinema and bowling alley, and an upstairs with shops,quaint old pub and cafes and toilets..I think that is what the local taxpayer requires ….we also need entertaining. Also an out of town park and ride.

  14. I live in Cheslyn Hay and was born in Lichfield . I love the city and visit very often now I’m retired . the problem is with public transport it takes 1-5 hours , and a night out I have to leave at 6-20 to get the last bus from Cannock , hardly a night out

  15. Katie I think that’s a really good idea for the defunct bus station though there might be a need to have a discussion about a sports complex with the Friary Grange Centre? Also a park and ride had already crossed my mind. I also think that in the year 2020 that those in the rural areas such as Hammerwich and Cheslyn Hay residents have such a problem getting into the centre. Hope you don’t mind me commenting but I think it’s good for local people to express their opinions.

  16. Lichfield has never been a ‘Hidden Secret’, it’s just that we have been far enough away from the predictors to afford us some safety. Population mobility is now eroding that position and the market freedom given to speculators and developers is doing the rest. We have government and councillors to thank for this. It is improbable we can escape the reality of expanding neighbours while we are expanding towards them. The miniscule problems expressed here are as nothing compared to the starker reality ahead.
    When I lived in Birmingham I saw the same fate befall the likes of Solihull, Sutton Coldfield and many more satellite communities. Our orbit is now within range.

  17. Philip it is wholesale destruction of communities. Just like the destruction in Lichfield city centre. Having lived away for 13 years I see it very clearly. It is obvious there has been no real involvement of local people and their communities in any decision making. And just as there has been no joined up thinking in regard to these issues it was ever the same same with no joined up thinking about the railways. What with HS2 it is a complete and utter mess, waste of time and so much money much paid for by tax payers, who are the very people not being served. And they say you can’t throw money at problems when they defend their illogical decisions. If they were football managers they would all be sacked.

  18. Lichfield has become nothing more than a commuter city. It’s what has driven housing development beyond the reaches of local people many who have had to move from the area to be able to afford to buy a house, and don’t get me started on social housing for those that will never be in a financial position to afford to buy either in Lichfield or elsewhere, and can’t even afford to rent privately in the area. I think Cllr. Eadie lives in his own little bubble.

  19. Fantastic idea Mr Eadie…..more houses, more visitors, same roads, same congestion, same short sighted vision from a failing council. Has Mr Eadie ever tried to get out of Tesco Car Park on a Saturday afternoon? Or try to cross town around 4pm?? It’s mental.

  20. One bus ticket (Arriva) from Burntwood to Lichfield. 15 minutes. £4.20

    One bus ticket (Arriva) from Burntwood to Lichfield. 1 hour, 7 minutes, 2 buses. £4.

  21. Well more houses, more tarmac, less and less trees and hedges to drink up the rain that falls more and more as a result. Cause and effect. More hard core less greenery and earth to soak it up. No wonder there is flooding! When will it stop? I suppose when the whole of the UK is covered like this from top to bottom. Such nonsense. Of course one needs to look at the money trail. Who benefits?. Not the ordinary person who cannot afford to pay for the new constructions or even the bus fare. How about some forward thinking. How about some thought as to where this is all leading. Such short-sightedness would be laughable if it weren’t so sad. Not only Lichfield but the whole of Staffordshire has so much potential. So much to offer for locals and tourists. Why sell ourselves short. All it needs is imagination and the willpower to focus time and energy.

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