A councillor says there are “very good reasons” why housing should be considered for land left empty following the failed Friarsgate scheme.
The former Tempest Ford site has been vacant since the collapse of the long-awaited Lichfield city centre redevelopment project in 2018.
Two councillors have this week called for steps to be taken to begin construction of housing on the land, which has been surrounded by promotional hoardings in recent years.
Cllr Hugh Ashton, Garrick Road ward member on Lichfield City Council, echoed the views of his Lib Dem colleagues, insisting that new homes needed to form part of any long-term plans to revitalise the city centre.
“There are very good reasons for incorporating housing into city centre developments.
“Housing around the perimeter of a city does not encourage life in the city centre – larger retail facilities tend to move to the periphery, killing trade for established city centre businesses, and parking and transport problems emerge when residents of these perimeter developments come into the city.
“An area devoted only to office space is dead in the evenings and weekends, and retail developments likewise have their dead times.
“A mix, where affordable housing is located on top of commercial premises, helps to keep the city centre and community alive and also helps to alleviate the housing shortage.”Cllr Hugh Ashton, Lichfield City Council
Cllr Ashton has also previously spoken of how he would like to see Lichfield’s former Debenhams store revamped to create an indoor food market and incubator space for new businesses.
He said a mixed use development could also include other aspects to help revitalise the city centre.
“There is no reason why leisure facilities should not also be a part of the mix.
“Though I personally favour a retail or business use for the Debenhams premises, there is no reason why remodelling could not provide an imaginative facility where people could enjoy themselves, alongside residential and commercial space.”Cllr Hugh Ashton, Lichfield City Council