Paul Ray

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A Lib Dem councillor says it is “common sense” to review the Lichfield city centre masterplan once the full impact of coronavirus is known.

A controversial meeting earlier this week saw members of one of Lichfield District Council’s overview and scrutiny committees clash over a way forward for the city centre.

A vote in the session was originally recorded as rejecting the proposals – only for a video review from the meeting to reverse the result.

Cllr Paul Ray told Lichfield Live that he supported the masterplan, but added that caution was needed before it was committed to in full.

“I have said before that the masterplan presents exciting and positive plans for the future of Lichfield city centre.

“I expressed serious concerns at the meeting about the lack of an overall funding strategy.

“The papers for the meeting referred to the council borrowing up to £45million, but before any funding is committed the council must present a proper and detailed funding strategy.

“I also suggested that the consultants who have prepared the masterplan for the council should at the end of this year update it to take account of the impact of COVID-19.

“There is no point in doing that now because the impact is not clear but once it is, the plan should be reviewed.

“Cllr Eadie, Conservative cabinet member responsible for this area, did not support that, but I hope he can reconsider because it is just common sense.”

Cllr Paul Ray, Lichfield District Council
An artist’s impression of the city centre masterplan

Other councillors have also raised concerns over the proposals for the redevelopment of Lichfield city centre in the wake of the current crisis.

Labour representative Cllr Darren Ennis has called for a pause while the full impact of COVID-19 is considered.

“This plan should be reviewed and given at least six months to see how the city centre scene has changed after coronavirus. 

“We have to be making the correct decision before spending potentially millions on a scheme that could fail yet again.”

Cllr Darren Ennis, Lichfield District Council

The city centre masterplan will next be discussed at a meeting of the cabinet next month.

Ross

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.

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3 Comments

  1. Cllr Eadie has yesterday confirmed that the consultants who have prepared the Masterplan will be asked to update it to take account of the impact of COVID-19. That’s a good/sensible decision.

  2. The “consultants” won’t be answerable for the way things work out for the centre. They will be more than happy to keep taking the fees.
    Their four quarters plan is in any case nonsensical.
    Bizarrely the council probably got lucky with Friarsgate as the changing nature of the market place would have made it another type of financial disaster. Not that they get any credit for that.
    Predicting the future in the present climate is a mugs game. We have waited over a decade for the development and should resist the blandishments of experts who would overdevelop a sensitive area.
    Massive expenditure would not be prudent for the next twelve months or so.

  3. Make the area a multi-use piazza and welcoming entry to the city. Buy Chasewater back, clear the line to Chasewater and develop the leisure/tourism side. Keep the rest for the potential collapse of retail as investment capital, and wait.

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