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The temporary disabled bays in the Bird Street car park

A Labour councillor says changes to disabled parking provision in Lichfield city centre has hit those in greatest need the hardest.

Lichfield District Council has suspended on street blue badge on Bore Street, Conduit Street, Market Street and Tamworth Street.

Disabled provision has been moved to Bird Street and Lombard Street.

But Cllr Rob Birch said the removal of the on-street bays would have a negative impact.

Cllr Rob Birch

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“Councillors were never consulted on this and if we had been I for one would have opposed it.

“It is essential that we are inclusive of all who want to enjoy the city centre and make use of its facilities.

“The disabled parking areas have been established for many years and are a great facilitator to those who need access to the town.

“I don’t think the removal of disabled parking to the outskirts has made a great deal of difference to the social distancing but has detrimented those in greatest need. 

“For me the benefits of this do not in any way outweigh the problems it has caused for many.

“It is also a little offensive to see the elderly and disabled members of our society moved out of the centre like some sort of social problem.”

Cllr Rob Birch

The switch came after Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant said the permanent pedestrianisation of the city centre could boost tourism and trade.

But Cllr Birch said such a proposals was “inconsiderate”.

“There have been recent calls by some, not least our MP to completely close off the centre to vehicles and have it fully pedestrianised.

“This will massively disadvantage disabled people needing to park outside shops or banks, elderly people needing to be dropped off or those needing direct access.

“It is ill thought out and inconsiderate.

“The majority of the centre is already pedestrianised and the through route provides a vital lifeline to many. I’d urge anyone who objects to complain to their councillor.”

Cllr Rob Birch

Ross

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.

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15 Comments

  1. A councillor with concerns, thanks Rob!
    I will ask, if LDC and Cllr Liz Little are serious about pedestrianising the centre, why haven’t they reviewed and improved the poor Shopmobility service to compensate, an easy move that would solve a number of problems. For those not familiar…

    Based in the Friary car park multistorey past the Lichfield campus some way from the centre, It’s on a first come first served basis and your scooter or wheelchair must be booked at least 24 hours before its required, you need to attend a training session and provide I.D./address proofs, pay an annual registration of £5 & £1 per use of equipment.
    Only available Tuesday to Saturday at the following times:
    Morning pick up: 10am to 11am
    Morning return or afternoon pick up: 12noon to 1.30pm
    Afternoon return: 3pm to 3.30pm
    Shopmobility does not run on Mondays and Sundays.

    To say the current system is restrictive, difficult, not fit for purpose and screams we dont care is the understatement.
    A review of the disabled provision in Lichfield the current shambles and the individuals running it should be made a priority at LDC.

  2. I feel that disabled people are being completely ignored and even discriminated against due to this appalling movement of the parking sites in the centre of town. Has anyone on the council any idea of the inconvenience this has caused or do they even care because if they did this would not have happened.

  3. I put a comment on about this last week and its disappeared. my husband is disabled and would struggle to walk to the shops from the relocated parking spaces. do Lichfield not want people to come. all this has done is stopped us from visiting.

  4. Something needs to change here – the ‘pedestrianised’ town centre was a joke. This was a good attempt to properly allow people to wander around the town but after a couple of traffic free days, cars and vans are now back in town and endangering pedestrians. Okay if losing disabled spaces is too difficult let’s have proper enforcement ie. disabled badges only and with a speed limit of 10 mph. Not too difficult.

  5. Couldn’t believe I had no parking facilities in the centre today. Will not be coming to Lichfield again. Will go to Tamworth.
    Disabled driver!

  6. Waited outside the dentist this morning. Loads of cars and Vans driving past and fast. Hope no one gets killed. Worried about small children. It’s either pedestrianised or not.

  7. Councillor make worng decesion on parking. I am not supporting. This kind of parking. This is going to making more problems for Business in lichfield. Already shortage of parking in Lichfield. Now making worsen for our business. People’s coming in Lichfield. That would be warres for our customers.

  8. If the disabled drivers are unable to use them and there are not enough spaces for everyone else. It will be the end for town centre. Had trouble finding a parking spot at 1130 this morning.

  9. As a disabled driver you can’t drive thru the town centre in Tamworth either nor park outside any of the shops so I don’t see by having to park at the rear of B & M any issue. I think the new system of just allowing delivery vehicles in & out is just what was needed as quite often we have no where to stop without blocking the road to make deliveries to the shops. The only thing that needs to change is to allow delivery vehicles on a Friday just like the rest of the week as most stores have stock arriving on a Friday ready for the weekend just keep Saturday & Sunday’s as vehicle free altogether.

  10. Well said Cllr Birch, the stopping of disabled parking in the city centre is a disgrace. Public bodies have a special responsibility under the Equality Act to lead the way in disabled access, not dismiss it for some misguided and unnecessary dogma about pedestrianisation. Restrict access by all means, but don’t exclude the disabled who cannot walk from distant car parks. This is the 21st century, councils really should know better. It will benefit neither the disabled nor local businesses who are trying to recover. After months of being isolated, this is a kick in the teeth for all with mobility problems who are trying to get out again.

  11. Well said #Jason tonks. I had been thinking the same when I read all the comments from those who said they would be rushing off to Tamworth. I do think though that the shop mobility scheme has got to be massively improved if the intention to ban cars from the city centre is a long-term prospect. Logically it makes sense to me to centralise parking for the disabled, say a whole floor of the multi-storey (but could be anywhere) and base the shop mobility scheme in the same place or is this too simple a solution?

  12. Contacted Cllr Birch & thanked him for his help & comments. A really gracious reply Saying he will be endeavouring to address the situation with his colleagues. This is how democracy should work consultation & not parading for a photo op in front of the camera.

  13. Whilst I appreciate the benefits of the shop mobility scheme, it is restrictive time wise and where it is currently located is not convenient for anyone. Also worth bearing in mind that being a historic city there are many buildings not accessible for wheelchairs or scooters, hence the need to park close to them to get into them. All this is so unnecessary as I really can’t see it will make much difference to social distancing and will make parking more difficult for everyone else. Nobody will benefit from this measure but a lot of disabled people will suffer. Ill conceived and frankly disgraceful.

  14. I agree the suspension of disabled parking is adisgrace and stupid -it does not help social distancing at all-this is just an attemp t to move towards pedestrianising the city centre by stealth, a mvce which will kill off whatever remains of the businesses there.I am disabled and canot walk more than a few paces – came to Lichfield today to investigate moving my banking accounts to Lichfield from Walsall because of the (before ban) easier access to them =I won’t be coming back !Bad as it is. I’ll stick with Walsall. If Michel Fabricant gets his way, Lichfield will be a dead centre withinn a year

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