Work on a masterplan for Lichfield means rejuvenation of the city centre will be ahead of the curve despite the demise of big name retailers, a councillor has said.
But responding to a question from Cllr Colin Ball on how the potential loss of big name high street brands would impact on the city, Lichfield District Council’s cabinet member for major projects and economic development, Cllr Liz Little, said the masterplan would create a versatile city centre.
“The sad news of the closures of well-known brands, including Debenhams and the Arcadia Group, will no doubt have an impact on high streets throughout the UK.
“The enthusiasm for online shopping, an inability or unwillingness to respond to changing patterns of demand on the part of certain retail groups and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has no doubt accelerated the changes which have been taking place in town and city centres for several years.
“In October, the council endorsed the Lichfield city centre masterplan as a blueprint for the development and regeneration the city centre.
“This puts Lichfield ahead of the curve in terms of its plans to rejuvenate the city centre, with proposals in place for a mixture of uses and experiences for visitors and residents alike.
“Work has been ongoing in respect of commissioning detailed plans and strategies to inform the developments to come forward, with the start of the implementation of projects to take place in 2021.”Cllr Liz Little, Lichfield District Council
The departure of the likes of Thorntons and Carphone Warehouse in recent years along with the potential demise of Debenhams means the city centre will also face more immediate challenges.
But Cllr Little said discussions were taking place to identify both short and long term solutions.
“The council is working closely with the owners of Three Spires Shopping Centre to understand the impacts on the centre itself and the work that is being done to maintain a vibrant and active destination now and for the longer term.Cllr Liz Little, Lichfield District Council