Lichfield’s MP has said a move by council officials to order a local business to tear up tape marking social distancing was “neither fair nor sensible”.

The independent retailer – which has asked not to be named – was told by Lichfield District Council to remove the markings from the pavement outside the premises over fears it could be a trip hazard.

With Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlining the first steps to move the country out of lockdown, Conservative MP Michael Fabricant said there needed to be consistency to allow businesses to trade effectively.

Michael Fabricant

“Using common sense not only applies to social distancing, it also applies to Government civil servants and local council officials during this lock-down.  

“Banks and other institutions are taping out areas on the pavement to ensure social distancing when queing for ATM machines, so for council officials to pick on a small trader in isolation is neither fair nor sensible.

“I really do think that officials need to act consistently or else their judgment will be called into grave doubt.”

Michael Fabricant MP

Lichfield District Council said it was “urgently reviewing” guidelines after the incident.

But Cllr Angela Lax, cabinet member for legal and regulatory services, did not outline whether the tape outside the business could be reinstated.

Angela Lax

“This case has highlighted that we urgently need to review our guidance to businesses to reflect the changing landscape we are in.

“We are working with Staffordshire County Council to make sure the guidance is updated following the latest advice as soon as possible.

“We are also looking at how we can improve our communications with businesses to make sure we are supportive and helpful. 

“We would like to encourage businesses to get in touch with us if they need help as they adapt to new ways of working.”

Cllr Angela Lax, Lichfield District Council


Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.

45 replies on “Lichfield MP tells council officials to show common sense after business is ordered to remove tape marking social distance space over ‘trip hazard’ fears”

  1. Well this is a pathetic decision by the LDC of course.
    But is ‘common sense’ becoming the new govt slogan because you hear it all the time now.
    As the MP knows very well, one person’s common sense is another’s stupidity. So ultimately the govt will try to blame the people for a second wave of the virus because they didn’t use a ‘dollop of British common sense’.
    It’s a shame the govt didn’t apply some common sense itself when it didn’t provide adequate testing and PPE in care homes before moving patients from hospitals into them, creating another pandemic.

  2. “We would like to encourage businesses to get in touch with us if they need help as they adapt to new ways of working.”
    This woman clearly doesn’t do irony.
    Anyway, they’re holding a review, and on we go.

  3. Local businesses are doing a great job in trying to adapt and should be supported through this crisis. They should not have to deal with this ‘red tape’ issue on top of everything else…..lots of other businesses are using tape, they’re being responsible, not trying to trip their customers up! Come on LDC, we want our businesses to thrive!

  4. James:

    “Fabricant asking for a common sense approach, is a bit like Diane Abbot asking for an intelligent debate.”


    “She has faced disproportionate sexism and racism as a public figure, individually receiving almost half of all abuse directed at women MPs during the 2017 election campaign.”

    You’re the problem.

  5. Re trip hazards, LDC would be better occupied sorting out the appalling paving in the city – Bird Street only one example. Perfect time to get it done properly. with fewer people about.

  6. Question for Patricia, why just sort the paving in the city what about sorting our paving (and the potholes) in the darker out reaches of the district?
    Oh I forgot that would mean LDC spending some of the council tax we pay to them on Burntwood and other supporting areas instead of just their precious city.
    Lock down isn’t affecting our relationship with Mr Fabricant because we never see or hear from him anyway

  7. Use yellow paint to mark the area. The PEOPLE will be blamed for another outbreak which will be due to going back to work too soon or social distancing being ignored. THANKYOU BORIS for your brilliant work in opening up the Country to early.

  8. Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

    – Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
    – Why the early bird gets the worm;
    – Life isn’t always fair;
    – And maybe it was my fault.

    Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

    His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

    Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

    It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

    Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

    Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

    Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

    Common Sense was preceded in death,
    -by his parents, Truth and Trust,
    -by his wife, Discretion,
    -by his daughter, Responsibility,
    -and by his son, Reason.

    He is survived by his 5 stepbrothers;
    – I Know My Rights
    – I Want It Now
    – Someone Else Is To Blame
    – I’m A Victim
    – Pay me for Doing Nothing

    Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

  9. ML get over yourself. Typical rant over isolated and often misreported circumstances. Most people most of the time behave with consideration and respect to others, nothing like your rant. You need to give up reading the Daily Mail or any of those rags that invent stuff to sell papers.

  10. There you are ML. Instructions from the teacher on what you can and can’t read. It’s the tolerance you know.

  11. John Griffin I do not read newspapers as they give the version the billionare owners (who lives in somewhere like the Bahamas ) view on what is happening so before insulting me get on your knees in front of your yellow haired idol

  12. John Griffin
    What rant by the way I was quoting a quote written in 1998 but you are not bright enough to realize that. Yes Rob the expert teacher has spouted not taking in the humour of it but it is o so true. If it stands still long enough sue it if it moves shoot it. We are following the Yanks, except for shooting, because the author was American not the Daily Mail

  13. Well perhaps people think being dead is a temporary thing. I have just given the car a run. It has been eight weeks and I was worried that any longer might cause problems.
    Coming back the car park on the A151 by Hopwas Woods was totally full as I passed at 2:30. Further down the road Whittington Golf Club had its car park full. You cannot legislate common sense. Probably the thirty plus thousand now dead thought it would never happen to them.

  14. When I was travelling about this week out to some of the villages near Lichfield and around the city itself I noticed an increase in road traffic and people out walking, running and cycling. I was out for most of the day on Tuesday and Wednesday and saw more people than I have done in recent weeks.
    But I must say most still seemed to be observing social distancing and more people had face coverings than I have previously seen.
    Perhaps we need to give people more credit. They are out more, but they are still being cautious.

  15. I live in a village near Lichfield,not seen anyone wearing masks,plenty of walkers and as I have been doing 5 miles a day since this started I have come to know a lot of them. Cyclists are becoming a menace on narrow lanes and even meeting them on field paths. Cars are being driven by loonatics. As for bobbies not seen one since this started. Common sense as I said somewhere was bred out of the English 50 years ago we live in a society of I will do what I like when I like end of story

  16. These comments are slowly becoming identical to the Daily Mail comments section…..reactionary and largely mad.

    Same old voices, same old opinions (you know who you are). Rarely anything positive to say, moan moan moan…..blah blah blah…..

    “Please get out of the new world if you can’t lend a hand”.


  17. @Simon. I don’t read the Daily Mail and find your outburst a bit disquieting. You talk about positivity without explaining your opinion and any options. I won’t try and guess what that might be.
    All British government’s advise caution. Coming out of this crisis is probably the most difficult phase. A reckless approach might prove catastrophic. This is a contagious disease. I could catch it off you, or you off me for that matter. Do you feel anything for the situation?
    You should hope that a vaccine can be found. While we all hope this horrible situation will go away soon it might just not. Your paraphrasing of Dylan is meaningless in this situation. What ‘hand’ do you have in mind?

  18. Philip Allso – there is so much wrong with your post, I’m not sure where to start.

    Firstly, why do you assume my comments relate to you, specifically?

    Secondly, my point about a lack of positivity was made in relation to the comments that preceded mine, made up mostly of people criticising others for various things. Too much traffic on the road (says driver of car); cars driving too fast; lots of people not wearing masks (and?); too many cyclists on the road…

    My opinion (if you’d like it) is that, this Gov acted far too slowly in the early days of the virus. However, we are her now and the time to point the finger and blame isn’t today. Let’s get through this with helpful suggestions, upbeat comments and positivity.

    Finally, I didn’t paraphrase Dylan – I quoted a line from a song – verbatim. You may wish to look up the definition of “Paraphrase”.

    It still stands, however. If people have nothing helpful / positive to say during this lockdown period, perhaps it’s better to say nothing? It we let it, the situation can consume us with bitterness for other people. Nobody likes a moaner.

    Keep smiling, and please do look up the meaning of “Paraphrase”.

  19. I actually think there is far more to celebrate than criticise during this awful period. Communities coming together to help out the needy, most people (as Barry Scott said earlier) observing the social distancing measures, people adhering to queuing without incident, the NHS and nurses finally getting recognition for the amazing work they do and have done since the NHS’ inception. There has been an outpouring of goodwill generally speaking, and as a community we can be extremely proud of that.

  20. Simon…. “Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand.”
    I am pleased to help with your understanding of paraphrasing.
    You can’t teach me much about Bob Dylan. And probably not English language usage for that matter.
    If you can fined anything to calibrate about 34,000 deaths and a ruined economy you are far more optimistic than I am.

  21. @Philip Allso…

    You seem terribly confused about the definition of “paraphrase” so i’ve attached it below.

    Learn to pronounce
    express the meaning of (something written or spoken) using different words, especially to achieve greater clarity.”

    So if I were to paraphrase, I would have given a general gist of the lyric, an approximation. However…..

    I didn’t paraphrase – I directly quoted. The two things are entirely different old chap.

    Please don’t attempt to overstate your grasp of the English language when you clearly and demonstrably struggle with a simple verb like “paraphrase”.

    I choose to be optimistic as it’s preferable to the alternative. You may wish to think about that.

    Keep smiling.

  22. @Philip Allso

    Ps. From a previous post of yours, what does “ All British government’s advise caution“ mean? It’s wrong on so many levels, I cannot simply overlook it as a typo.

    It seems, I could teach you a considerable amount about the language you profess to be so knowledgeable about.

    Keep smiling old boy.

  23. Simon… aren’t you a touchy individual? The four governments refer to the devaluted areas of the UK. Each have been operating what they call nuances, that is minor alterations. Nevertheless all still advocate caution. They are England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Each is autonomous and could act unilaterally in respect of the health provisions for coronavirus. This is not difficult to understand.
    I am pleased that you are reading my posts even if you are finding your comprehension difficult. Keep listening to Dylan. When you get his words right they do have great meaning.

  24. Wow – now who’s being touchy haha!!

    Your use of the apostrophe in your sentence “All British government’s advise caution“ is incorrect. That is the point I was making – I apologise if this confused you – again.

    Again, if you’re unable to properly use grammar to the level of a competent adult, I’d hold off declaring your claimed prowess with the language.

    Might I recommend you look at KS3 level English?

    You may chose to interpret my choice to correct you as trite however, how else are you going to learn?

    Keep smiling old boy.

    Is this because I

  25. Oh for Heaven’s sake! Why can’t we all start to act like civilised people? We’re old enough to vote. We’re old enough to do things to girls. We can go to prison. We can drive. Last week I even got into an ‘X’ film, for Christ’s sake.

  26. #Rik Young-Juan – “We’re old enough to do things to girls”. What sort of comment is this? What has it got to do with the story? If you had any common sense you wouldn’t be making such comments. And is there any need to use the Lord’s name in vain?

  27. AnnS the man is acting like a child ignore him and he might go away.As for some one using the word fascist he probably does not even know what the word means or refers to .

  28. @Rick Young-Juan

    Are you trying to be funny? Because I think it’s in pretty poor taste if you are, that’s all. I’m not a fridge you know.

  29. Having seen the tone this debate has taken I now regret having taken Simon to task regarding his original post. If you are offended Simon I apologise. I did over react when in reality nothing was to be achieved from it. Put it down to cabin fever if you like.
    We are privaliged to be able to express our opinions on this site. I have seen others degenerate to the extent where they have been discontinued. Ross and Lichfield Live deserve better. Perhaps we can draw a line under it now and re-establish the quality discussions which have characterised this site.

  30. Pretty angry stuff, right? Let them try and ignore that, right? Those clever trousers in the army! And the police, and the government, if they can!
    I might even be put in prison! And have water DRIPPED on my head!
    I might even get a personal message from Cliff!

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