House building

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

Join the Conversation


  1. Hear hear Simon. I’ve never heard such ridiculous arguments for building houses in the city centre. All current research agrees that entertainment and experience is the way forward to bring people, and therefore economic growth into towns. Cllr Grange has the right idea, and must be listened to. Please Lichfield council, do not further destroy this heritage city.

  2. Affordable is a dangerous word. Affordable for whom? Buy to let landlords? Whatever they build will be unaffordable for low earners. Much better to build social housing, but they won’t do that, will they?

  3. Are the Lib Dems now Tories under a different name? This fixation on more and more houses is ridiculous. When people are moving into Lichfield from other areas, this gives a lie to the claim of a housing shortage. And just who will be able to afford city centre houses, probably built with no provision for parking as usual?

  4. An outdoor theatre, ‘Garrick on the Green’ or a botanical garden honouring Erasmus Darwin, not a block of flats! Use this opportunity for our future, don’t waste it on profits for speculators.

  5. I originally thought I would like to see that land used as parkland but that mess of traffic right next to it hardly is conducive to leisure use.
    If it has to be housing I would agree to genuine low cost housing to local people who have lived in the area for some time.

  6. Why has LDC ask for ideas for Tempest land from the Citizens of Lichfield when the people have come up with ideas that will bring people into Lichfield LDC is intent on building more houses when the city already struggling with lack of schools and overcrowded Doctors Surgery’s where even existing residents have difficulty getting an appointment
    We have young people hanging around the Dimbles riding around
    The area on e scooters
    The city needs cinema bowling ally youth clubs
    But as usuall LDC will go against the will of the people of Lichfield and build thier B****y houses and flats on the corner of a very busy road

  7. They will build more old peoples apartments- we need a doctors surgery, entertainment spaces AND THE ROADS CANT COPE ,

  8. so … the Lib dems want to build some flats over some shops in this prime location – a gateway in to the city. by putting flats there they are going to ensure people stay in the city at night. I would suggest they need something to stay in the city for – pubs and restaurants do not appeal to everyone in the evenings, especially younger adults – so some type of recreational use would be nice. many have suggested this in the past – but LDC seem not to be able to listen to their community

  9. Why more houses what is wrong with this council.for a city its dead,sports and leisure facilities would bring people into to the town centre and bring it alive.there are plenty of old houses that can be renovated.

  10. If you create a large residential presence, in the city centre.

    There will be no night time economy. The residents, will complain about the noise.

    If housing is built first. Night time economy planning applications, will be fought by both the new residents and the new homes builders.

    This whole site is going to be a high density housing estate.

  11. We have 1 chance only on this space once it’s houses there is no going back why not turn it into a open space ? Grass and trees are cheap and let’s see how that goes for next 10 years let’s back off the “housing” please and LDC try reading what people want not what you want for once ?

  12. Increasing residential property in town centres to assist regeneration is a new idea and unproven. It was also intended to repurpose unused space which is unlikely to be used commercially again (Debenhams?), not to build new housing in centres.

  13. Backwards thinking, unimaginative, clueless, uninspired, antiquated, bunch of dinosaurs.

    There is no hope with planners like this in charge.

  14. P – “Backwards thinking, unimaginative, clueless, uninspired, antiquated, bunch of dinosaurs.”

    Pretty accurate description of the government, what do you think of LDC?

  15. LDC need to listen the the people who voted them in – the city is crying out for a cinema and eateries to regenerate rhe area NOT more housing
    And then I scroll down and see a picture of our smug MP who is a useful as a chocolate teapot – says it all

  16. The ill advised Friarsgate scheme collapsed at least three years ago, when the council cleared the site and then discovered they didn’t have the money to develop it. Such incompetence would not be tolerated in a commercial company; heads would have rolled a long time ago. Nothing has been done with it since, and when pressed the answer is to just build more houses. That means more council tax and income from developers of course; if you want to know what’s happening, follow the money. Words like ‘affordable’ are banded around as if they mean anything these days. Shops are standing empty, roadworks are spreading like a virus and lasting a similar time, parking for disabled in the city centre has still not been reinstated, roads and cycle paths are not being maintained let alone extended, traffic levels are hitting epidemic proportions, leisure facilities are well below neighbouring towns. Does any of this mean anything to you LDC?

  17. John Allen – There may well have been incompetence at a local level. The smallest of beer when compared to the utter folly and self-harm that is Brexit. LDC is just stepping in the footsteps of the cabal in power.
    The empty site should be a momument to the national folly, our very own Festival UK 2020.

  18. It would be interesting to know how much income the Council have lost from the business rates of the company’s they closed down IE; Kennings Garage, Bike Shop, Credit Union, and the Snack Bar, it must run into thousands of pounds.
    In addition I see today that the newly laid footpath adjacent to the toilets has been dug and patched, also the roadway in front of one of the bus shelters has sunk and broken up

  19. LDC what a pathetic shambles. What more needs to be said? Maybe the members of this house building council could be supplied with hearing aids so that they can hear the cries of th local people which at present fall on deaf ears!!

  20. The most ridiculous excuse for more housing, you want to encourage shopping make it a car park at least it would replace some of the spaces that have been sold off. Also stop overcharging and make more time free again.

  21. Why do we want to encourage shopping? The days of it being a leisure activity are gone. An economy built on selling coffee to each other is hardly the one I want.

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