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Support for council’s proposals, but changes to Bird Street car park remain a contentious issue


A consultation on the proposed Lichfield city centre masterplan has revealed that more than three quarters of people support the overall strategy.

The draft document was drawn up by specialists brought in by Lichfield District Council.

The blueprint sought to find a way forward for the city centre after the demise of the doomed Friarsgate redevelopment project after more than ten years of planning.

Among the proposals were improvements to the land around the Birmingham Road site left derelict by the Friarsgate collapse and the creation of four distinct quarters.

A report from Cllr Iain Eadie, cabinet member for investment, economic growth and tourism, revealed that 1,100 people attended drop-in sessions as part of the consultation, while 141 responses were received via questionnaires.

Iain Eadie

“Overall the feedback received was positive with 77% of respondents answering ‘yes’ when asked if they thought the overall strategy is correct.

“One issue regarding this from a number of respondents was whether there should be more focus on sustainability and carbon neutral initiatives within the plan.

“Concerns were raised that the cumulative scale of future development proposals seems out of character with the realistic capacity of the historic environment.

“In terms of the Birmingham Road Gateway, 78% answered ‘yes’ when asked if the development opportunity would improve the city centre.

“Further feedback included the need for more affordable housing, car parking issues and consideration of public open space to be incorporated into the proposals.”

Cllr Iain Eadie, Lichfield District Council

However, the hot topic in many of the responses was the proposal to convert the Bird Street car park into a new courtyard area.

“Loss of car parking”

Cllr Eadie’s report said the issue had been a key one for those engaging with the consultation.

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

“One key issue is the Bird Street Courtyard proposals. This garnered more individual responses than the other proposed development opportunities.

“75% of respondents answered ‘yes’ when asked ‘Do you think the Bird Street Courtyard development opportunity will help improve the city centre?’.

“Additional comments included that the B&M store and adjacent Staffordshire County Council land should be incorporated into the proposals, that the NCN Cycle Route currently sited in the car park should be mentioned, and historic landforms should be reflected.

“Concerns have been raised regarding loss of car parking, building heights, layout and design and views into/ and out of the site need to be carefully considered.”

Cllr Iain Eadie, Lichfield District Council

“Lichfield Transport Hub”

Residents were also keen to offer ideas about how other areas left in limbo in the wake of Friarsgate could be improved as part of the masterplan.

Part of the site which had been earmarked for Friarsgate

A proposal for a Lichfield Transport Hub was welcomed by 83% of those who took part in the consultation.

“The ideas contained within the plan to help pedestrian accessibility to the city centre from Lichfield City train station by way of the ‘Birmingham Road Corridor’ interventions was supported by 88% of respondents.

“Many responses had specific ideas for how this could be implemented including overpass/underpass from the railway station, synchronisation of traffic light junctions and changes to the highway in general.

“In addition 83% of respondents agreed that the proposed Lichfield Transport Hub would enhance the arrival experience to the city by bus, coach, train and taxi, but raised concerns that the bus station must be of a size to allow for future expansion and that there should be an enclosed waiting area.

“There was good support for the ideas of pedestrian priority streets and improvements to pedestrian walkways and linkages.

“However, there were mixed views to the reopening of lower Bore Street.

“It was also raised that pedestrian priority streets need better enforcement, that they should not exclude cyclists and that the whole of the city centre could be pedestrianised.

“In addition 93% of respondents supported the strategy to improve pedestrian walkways and linkages, with ideas including large city centre maps to be displayed in the city.

“Respondents also encouraged a review of street furniture and that heritage improvements could be referenced such as shop front improvements, tourism signage and a revival of heritage features within the public realm.”

Cllr Iain Eadie, Lichfield District Council

The responses to the consultation will be considered at an overview and scrutiny committee meeting at Lichfield District Council on 11th March.

Ross

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.

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10 Comments

  1. Do please consider :
    —First time house buyers. Not all have access to a car and therefore cheaper housing outside city city would not be practical. Also public transport to the surrounding villages is limited.
    —Consider allowing some general store /provisions businesses in centre ie Mand S again at sensible rates. The folks from all the senior residences I am sure would benefit as would I and friends who choose to walk into town rather than drive to larger venues.
    —Reconsider remembrance garden and proposed path along Minster Pool- this peaceful place needs keeping – a through path would draw a different atmosphere plus possibly destroy sanctuary on that side for birds and geese etc. At present provided by shrubs.

  2. Comment-2

    In the bigger picture please do reserve funding with which to provide the new Swimming Pool.

  3. For changes of this magnitude it requires a local referendum. The figures quoted in this ‘consultation’ are meaningless in the context of the size of the local population. Far too few people took part. Even if they are true, which I doubt, then any conclusions drawn from them cannot be seen as an endorsement. Every household in the city should be contacted by the council as the Mercury no longer has independent distribution and thus many are denied council notifications.
    Are we really looking for the best outcome for the city and its heritage or is this another capitalistic attempt to benefit developers?
    Sadly, since Friarsgate, we have to scrutinise all proposed developments. Many still feel changes and expansion is going too fast.

  4. The council are doing nothing more than delaying the inevitable.

    Once they have started building the new homes on this site. The new residents will complain about any developments. There will be no cinema or entertainment venues, as they will disturb the new residents. No bars or restaurants. No shops or commercial premises.

    The whole development will become a housing estate.

    The council tax payers are paying for the land to be cleared. The contamination to be removed.

    The developers will then pop in, make millions and disappear.

  5. Am in agreement with one reader. The wider implications of this NOT being put to the tax payers in Lichfield is the way forward. I’ve not seen any flyer only council tax bill sent by this council. Finally, why has it been allowed to pay an independent consultant to make a report based only on a handful of responses. Again, what a total waste of tax payers money

  6. Whilst the council keeps giving the green light for developers to enhance Gods waiting room – because that’s what the city has become, there will be nothing for the younger generation, try visiting the city on a weekday , it’s an eye opener , same faces pottering round and round like groundhog day.

  7. 163 out of a population of nearly 70,000,000 and half of them have already recovered. This is not the Black Death! The excercise in mass hysteria is wholly disproportionate.
    There is a whole range of other things that might kill you before this virus. Why the hype has got to this level (even on a Worldwide basis) is difficult to understand.
    Unless a vaccine is produced (not this year) and mass vaccination takes place the virus will continue to be infective for as long as it takes for the population to aquire immunity and thus prevent its spread. The probability is that this will happen when enough people have been infected and cannot then pass on the virus.
    With modern mobility it is impossible to stop the spread of these viruses.

  8. “The excercise in mass hysteria is wholly disproportionate.” Philip Allso. And who will profit. The big pharma whilst “volunteers” are being asked to help the NHS out. Again whose priorities are important. Speaks for itself.

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