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Lichfield could be transformed if the city centre was fully pedestrianised to create a cafe culture, an MP has said.

Michael Fabricant said the rise of al fresco food and drink in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic could create a positive shift for the city.

Michael Fabricant in the outdoor seating area at Corner Cafe on Bore Street

The Conservative MP said moving disabled parking and putting limits on when deliveries would be the key.

“I have spoken in the past about continuing to work from home where possible when the pandemic is over with the consequence of less pollution and fewer blocked roads – but town and city planners should be flexible and learn from COVID-19 too.

“I believe that in Lichfield, the inner heart of the city – Bore Street, Bird Street, Market Street and Dam Street – should be permanently pedestrianised with access only for deliveries at specified times. 

“Other cities have done this years ago to great success. Disabled parking can be made available adjacent to the pedestrianised zone and adequate parking – able and disabled – would have to be provided.

“A single retractable bollard in Tamworth Street, operated by an electronic pass, would ensure that only essential vehicles could still get through.

“It would transform the very essence of our city for the better.”

Michael Fabricant MP

Social distancing measures introduced during the coronavirus crisis mean that businesses are utilising additional space outside premises in order to keep serving customers.

“The temporary pavement cafés allowed in Bore Street and elsewhere arising from emergency COVID legislation show the way.

“Pedestrianisation will encourage tourism and boost our local economy. The evidence from elsewhere in the country is that it becomes a magnet for visitors and results in a more imaginative and diverse retail and dining offer.

“It would need imagination and flexibility from Staffordshire County Council who have authority over highways, but even they may have to admit that keeping cobble-stoned Bird Street open as a traffic throughway is neither practical nor desirable.”

Michael Fabricant MP

“Pedestrianisation is always controversial”

The current one way route through Lichfield city centre offers disabled parking spaces.

“Of course, I am well aware that pedestrianisation is always controversial.

“The able and disabled understandably and inevitably worry initially about access while shop keepers are concerned about reduced passing trade.

“But elsewhere over the last forty years, pedestrianisation has been shown to encourage footfall and make for a cleaner and more pleasant shopping and dining experience – and this rewards locals as well as visitors. 

“Pedestrianisation logically follows on from the cobble stoning of the city centre.

“While this is essentially a council matter, I have asked Lichfield District Council leader, Cllr Doug Pullen, to give this matter some thought and I hope that it will eventually be incorporated into the council’s developing plans for Lichfield’s future.”

Michael Fabricant MP

Ross

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.

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26 Comments

  1. Mr Fabricant, why did you also vote against the Djanogly amendment to require parliamentary approval for trade agreements? Did blind party loyalty trump representing your constituents and protecting their interests?

    This isn’t “taking back control”!

  2. I’m intrigued as to how disabled parking provision could be made “adjacent to the pedestrianised zone”. What does this mean?

    He seemed quite dismissive on social media when challenged about parking provision, particularly for disabled people, so a bit of clarification on what he envisages would be welcome.

  3. I also am interested as to why Mr Fabricant voted as he did – I guess he will cite the whip …but also the Russia Report eh ?.. corruption throughout Government

  4. Good luck with the pedestrian idea Michael! I remember when the ‘semi pedestrian’ area was first put in place- completely ignored by most motorists, it was even ‘policed’ at busy times to inform and encourage proper use- useless!

  5. Part of the centre is supposed to be pedestrianised now but ruined by the council failing to fine cars illegally accessing it.
    Is where MF is sitting the same area where the council were fining disabled drivers for obstructive parking only a few weeks ago.
    Regarding the nhs vote surely the government aren’t going to renege on their promises!

  6. The amount of non-disabled traffic going through Lichfield city centre is already too high. Also, I doubt this will be implemented due to the delivery vans and vehicles required to supply market stalls too.

  7. Have already raised issue with you re cafe setting up in disabled spaces despite cafe having designated outdoor space. The issue could be easily solved if the same exit out could be made entrance as well & closing off market square area for pedestrianisation making it accessible for all.
    This would allow delivery drivers to drop off in this area as well & bike users to safely leave bikes.
    Other than that you are making the mobility shop inaccessible.

  8. Not sure how this fits in with Lichfield Council’s “masterplan” where it has designated particular “quarters” – I believe it is four – to rejuvinate Lichfield city centre now that the big new retail scheme is a dead duck?
    Our MP is claiming popular support for this idea but just like the folly of creating a drinking and dining facility in the market square, which would have become a no-go zone for a majority of the public, I doubt very much if everyone is in favour. Pedestrianising the city centre and relocating disabled access and parking away from the main shopping areas will effectively deter many from visiting Lichfield. We have an ageing population so access for all and disabled parking should be among the priorities. Shopmobility’s new location away from the city centre is a classic example of how not to do it. I fear our MP’s plan falls into the category.
    Just because he enjoyed an “al freesco” refreshment whilst sat in a disabled parking bay on a dry afternoon, does not mean the whoole city should be pedestrianised.
    What happens when he returns to London. He won’t care whether Lichfield is pedestrianised or not.

    As for the person saying it is currently dangerous for pedestrians, surely you should just open your eyes and be more aware of what is going on around you. If you step into any road you can expect serious things to happen. Lichfield city centre is no different to any road.

  9. MF does as he is told by the Whip’s Office and cannot think for himself. Whenever he is challenged by a constituent, he will not engage in dialogue.

    Looks like MF and his Tory colleagues have sold the NHS down the river so that the US can buy large chunks of it. Welcome to the latest US State! Shame on you Michael.

  10. Mr fabricant you have nothing new to say and ate a follower not a leader. You wag your tail to Boris and are a yes man with no real awareness of social inequality. Your image is what matters to you most.

  11. Mr Fabricant, why did you vote against the Djanogly amendment to require parliamentary approval for trade agreements? And Can you tell us why you voted against the protection of the NHS.
    Or should I go direct to Donald in seeking the answer .

  12. Tell you what, I’m going to ask Mr Fabricant himself. His face / advert is on the site here so I’ll email him now and ask him to explain why he voted down a clause intended to protect the NHS and publicly-funded health and care services from foreign control.

  13. If the hope is that the cafe culture might encourage people to help the economy by shopping, then it might be a good idea to get some decent shops first. Market Street is the most depressing sight for a city centre I have seen for many years.

  14. The English do not have ” cafe culture” that means doing what they do across the dreaded Chanel and sitting for an hour or more with one coffee or beer talking to friends and watching the world go by. That is not good for business so you would probably be moved on. Where my sister lives a coffee and croissant for breakfast in a cafe can last 2 hours

  15. I don’t often find myself agreeing with El Fab, but this is a wonderful idea – one that would offer a different experience for visitors and residents to the city centre. If the high street outlook really is as bleak as forecasts predict, then a move to more service-based business is something that can extend the life of brick-and-mortar business districts.
    Obviously a balance has to be struck with blue badge access and deliveries to those addresses that don’t have rear-access from the surrounding streets, but in principle it could be a real advantage for Lichfield if something like this was done sooner rather than later.

  16. The 42 new disabled bays are too far from the shops for disabled people. The clue is in the word “disabled”. So where we used to park outside Wilko and go for a coffee in the City Corner Cafe, this is now too far from the car park. So in future we will be going somewhere more welcoming for disabled people, and definitely not Lichfield

  17. Turns out the MP was right, pedestrianisation does have a huge impact on the city centre – LDC has managed to annoy the hell out of a huge number of local people and businesses by doing it without fully consulting with people.

    It has created a whole load of anger and confusion around Lichfield. But then that does seem to be one of the main achievements of our MP too.

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