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A residents’ group has said proposals to move Lichfield’s market to a car park could pose issues with parking on nearby streets.
Lichfield Place Board has put forward the plan to turn Market Square into a seating area for local bars and restaurants to help cope with reduced capacity in premises because of coronavirus social distancing rules.
It would mean the market moving to the Bird Street car park to make way for the new facility.
But a spokesperson for Beacon Street Area Residents’ Association said it had concerns over the knock-on effect of such a move – as well as the precedent it could set.
“Parking on Beacon Street and neighbouring roads is difficult at the best of times, and we are very concerned that the loss of car parking spaces at Bird Street will force more cars to park on largely residential streets in this area and worsen an already bad situation.
“If the proposal does go ahead, traffic should be restricted from entering the Market Square, and the part of the Bird Street car park used for the market should be fenced off from the rest of the car park.
“The temporary change of use of Bird Street car park in these extremely unusual times should not constitute a precedent for any subsequent redevelopment.”Beacon Street Area Residents’ Association spokesperson
One stallholder has already criticised the plan, saying that market traders were being penalised in order for other businesses to be helped.
BSARA said its members had differing views about whether the scheme should go ahead – but that overall the organisation were not in favour of moving the market.
“We recognise the need to support local bars and restaurants during this very difficult time, and, although some members were in favour, we have serious concerns about the proposal.
“The market traders will again be disrupted from their usual routine, with risk to their businesses.
“Several of our members felt that the market represented a special part of the character of Lichfield and were very unhappy that the traders were obliged to move again.
“We believe the market traders are also being consulted and we support their wishes being fully taken into account.
“If the proposal does go ahead, we would expect the businesses using the space to ensure the appropriate social distancing, both in queues and in the seating itself.
“If customers are not intended to use business’s own bathroom facilities, then portable toilets should be provided.
“We are concerned about an increase in anti-social behaviour and believe a stronger police presence in the area would also be needed.”Beacon Street Area Residents’ Association spokesperson