Markets on Market Square

A trader who has held a stall on Lichfield market for 25 years has criticised plans to move it to a new site to make way for a seating area.

Lichfield Place Board has put forward a proposal to create the socially distanced space on Market Square in a bid to support pubs and restaurants who face reduced capacity due to coronavirus restrictions.

It would see the traditional markets moved to Bird Street car park if the scheme was to go ahead.

But stallholder Garry Snape said while he felt for businesses facing challenges, it wasn’t fair for market traders to be penalised in order for pubs and restaurants to be helped.

“I have been on Lichfield market for 25 years selling plants on a Friday and Saturday.

“I’ve paid for that position on the market, so why should I lose my income?

“This is just a case of bullying – the cathedral will be next.

“I can understand the pubs having difficult times – we all are – but I wouldn’t expect them to move their business so I could sell my plants in their premises.”

Market trader Garry Snape

Mr Snape said there were other options available to boost hospitality businesses which didn’t include uprooting market traders.

“They should leave the market where it has stood since 1153.

“Why not put the tables on the car park or better still open the streets up put tables outside the pubs? At least then it will be less congested.

“On the market we could leave the stalls up with gaps between them.”

Market trader Garry Snape

People are now being asked to give their views on the idea before a final decision is made.

A spokesperson for Lichfield City Council:

“Lichfield Place Board have requested we make the Market Square available for socially-distanced seating and relocate the Markets to Bird St car park.

“The city council would welcome your comments on this proposal.”

Lichfield City Council spokesperson

People can send their views to


Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.

33 replies on “Stallholder criticises plan to move Lichfield market to make way for socially distanced seating area for pubs and restaurants”

  1. If the beer garden gets the go ahead. Where will people stand who are queuing for HSBC, NatWest, Holland and Barrett, the butchers…

    If stores allow limited numbers of people and the rest have to queue outside, 2m apart from each other. There is going to be congestion. The market area is very tight. There will be also queues for the beer garden. People going in and out with food and drinks. Deliveries and cars driving through….. If McDonalds opens there will be massive queues for that. Everyone congregating in a small area.

  2. I agree that the area may in fact be too small for purpose. Library users will also have to navigate the square, and they are more likely to be potentially vulnerable groups such as elderly people or children. If the council decides to proceed with this idea, they absolutely MUST stop cars driving through from Tamworth Street – traders can make deliveries out of hours, but emergency vehicles only thereafter until close of play, no ifs, no buts, no blue badge exceptions. This area was already an accident waiting to happen due to the selfish and entitled nature of some drivers, so that will have to stop.

  3. Beacon park would have been a better prospect for this, it’s a mess waiting to happen, i can see it, you can see it, the Lichfield Place Board can’t though, can somebody tell me what qualifications you need to be part of this board and where it’s origins arise, do the board actually live local ?

  4. There’s no harm in trying something different and learning what’s going well and not so. The market could wrap up sharpish on Fridays and Saturdays and enable setup of the night’s festivities to take place.

    Social distancing at 2 metres is simply not feasible in most pubs and restaurants so toilet issues would be a real potential for trouble.

    You could argue that Lichfield is largely an eating-and-drinking town so it makes sense to bring that part of the economy back ASAP.

  5. just because some fella has a stall for 25 years means everyone has to stop and suffer. we need to learn to adapt and overcome.
    people might buy more plants if they have had a pint.

  6. I most continental towns and cities the twice weekly market some times more brings in crowds to shop for fresh vedg,fish,meat etc but they do have the advantage of not being flea markets

  7. Leave the market where it is. Lichfield is better than to have beer tables about we don’t need them. What about opening the beer gardens or put tables like some do outside the pubs. Please leave things alone and let’s hopefully carry on like before.

  8. I dont want to see this happen in our town our markets have been a big asset to lichfield . It’s a disaster waiting to happen . It’s a shame the council turn our town into drunken city , think of the people who live around the town who live above the shop’s .

  9. This decision would be the final nail in the coffin for the town center of Lichfield. Not only is the town centre have many empty shops already and with high rent bearing in mind. Yet it now plans to destroy a market thats been there for many decades and survived during bubonic plague pandemic which was in 1348, the market was started the year 1153.

    More decisions like this from, those who work in the council are not clearly aware of what Lichfield needs are only making the city, less attractive and not preparing the city for the future. The only that thing that needs moving are there job positions.

    The market needs revitalising, with lower pitch fees that will attract more to the centre. Common sense is how social distancing will work, if your that scared of catching this Covid. Then Stay Home.

  10. Serioulsy, what about those qing for mcds, the banks, those I. Wheelchairs trying to avoid people. Close the road off. Let pubs put more tables out side. And how about those who don’t want to drink but have got to get round town. Are there going to be more police to monitor the situation. Or is the “board” whoever they are going to rely on people being sensible in social distancing and drinking. Who will foot the bill for the clean up. Has this really been thought through. The market is going through a bad enough time already without more obstacles put in the way.

  11. Certainly sounds a crazy idea to me, I will stop visiting Lichfield if the market moves and I am probably not alone. The market has always been part of the city

  12. Is this a permanent idea or just a fine weather one, the market comes in most weathers, and for 2days a week it is their living, and tradition to Lichfield, Who will monitor he flow of people & where they are seated

  13. Does it occur to people that the Council members may be part of that coffee drinking culture and they may want more of it ?

  14. All of the above concerns can be thought through and solved. The town, like many others, is on its knees economy-wide. The automatic resistance and negativity to initiatives like the one being suggested is depressing.

  15. This scheme is a red herring I suspect consultants advising the council are proposing this are hoping that if the market was moved
    to carpark it would fail and then open up the opportunity to pedestrianise the car park which was one of there schemes. who are
    the Lichfield Place Board lets have the names of its members, and
    what Authority do they have.

  16. As a city we should be absolutely looking at ideas like this to help these businesses, not just for the businesses to stay alive but for the culture of this beautiful city.

    Someone moaning about having to move down the road purely because he has been there 25 years when so many businesses face complete closure, shows only complete ignorance and selfishness. An attitude not at all welcome in a time we all need to adapt, grow and support each other.

  17. Whilst I can see that the way forward is that changes have to be met, this is not a practical one. There will be too many people congregating in one area. Where will they have got their drinks from? How far will they therefore walk with them in their hands to this seating area? Where will their rubbish go if this is a joint venture of more than one bar/ restaurant? Is this a fair weather proposal? There are more questions than answers. Let’s look at the success of the food festivals and maybe follow their initiative. The walkway along the side of Minster pool for example is a nice area. The Market traders need to be able to load unload. So this section would be ideal. As for the bars and restaurants, outside seating should be utilised outside their own premises surely? Most of the area is pedestrianised, let’s use it.
    This is a huge learning curve for us all and this problem is not going away so there will be trials and errors for sure. Having the market square as an outdoor seating area may not be such a good idea, too much concentration of bodies into a relatively small area is a recipe for problems under social distancing measures. I am sure we will get there and a solution be sourced. But it has to work for the majority not the few.

  18. From the many comments on here it is obvious that some do not understand the nature of a market. A market relies on good through footfall and Bird Street car park, notwithstanding the loss of parking spaces, will not provide this. A market also needs to be seen especially by visitors to the City (when they return) and unless you enter from that side of the city you wouldn’t know of its existence. Nobody would consider moving a retail shop and market traders are retailers who happen to retail outside, come rain, shine, hail, winds and snow I might add, with none of the benefits that indoor traders enjoy. #Stephen I think it’s you that shows ignorance and selfishness. After 25 years the Plant man has every right to complain because if he’s moved to the car park he too will probably go out of business, along with many other market traders. Maybe instead of bemoaning his plight you could instead offer him some ‘support’ and understanding.

  19. It would be interesting to know how many people have actually bothered emailing the relevant person at the council rather than belly-aching on here.

  20. So it’s Lichfield Bid that want use of the Market Square and Lichfield Bid on decision making Committee?
    I’m confused. Can Lichfield Council please make it clear how these decisions are made?

  21. As a footnote to this we are now in a situation where if our covid 19 number goes up too much we could find ourselves in a localised lock down. We would be back to square one.
    It is so important that we proceed with caution.
    I can’t wait for all shops and pubs to go back to normal so let’s make sure we don’t go backwards.

  22. Excellent letter #Grumpycoffee. More or less the same as the one I wrote #Richard.
    And hopefully those that belong to this unknown committee will be reading the comments on this site.

  23. I really feel that the Market should remain on the Market Square, the clue is in the title, and it has had a charter since the 1100’s. There is no way of policing where drinks are purchased in relation to the pubs.People will buy tins of alcohol from nearby shops to drink, and I think there is a law preventing the drinking alcohol wandering around in the City?

  24. Pedestrianised Lichfield City center should allow for tables to be put outside pubs coffee shops etc… If market square is made into beer garden there will obviously be queuing but will there also be a time limit for those seated drinking or will you be downing your pint/drink whilst waiting in the queue… and will portoloos be installed.. If the market is to be moved what’s wrong with the precinct?

  25. Jeepers, I take it none of you has ever run a business! All the hurdles mentioned can be overcome with a bit of will, imagination and creativity.

    For starters, the area can be enclosed by barriers with one entry and exit. This will be manned by security who will deny entry to people bringing their own drink (and why would that happen any more than people taking their own drink into pubs)?

    Toilets would be portaloos with gel available inside and outside.

    Social distancing would be achieved with less seating than under normal circumstances.

    There would most likely be as many stalls selling food as drink, so it would not be a drunken free-for-all. The kind of deadbeats who cause trouble in some of the rowdier bars wouldn’t bother with a civilised setup like this in the first place.

    I hope it gets off the ground and is a success.

  26. Richard it was said that the idea was that it was for the pubs that had no garden not for other stalls to be set up,anyway if every pub in the centre of town set up a stall there would be no room for people.

  27. Ann, has it been rubber-stamped that the market will have to shift on all days it operates? Or could it be that the on market days it packs up at the end of trading, vacates the area and lets the hospitality area set up?

    Eventually, bars and restaurants will open again in their premises and won’t need to use the market square. So the market traders can return after a hopefully short-lived exile all of 200 yards away.

    It won’t make much difference to the average shopper if they make their purchases in a carpark or a square. However few people want to eat or drink on a converted carpark.

    I am indeed not a market trader – but I am realistic enough to know that things can’t stay the same for ever.

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