Councillors have said that the use of outdoor seating in Lichfield city centre must be balanced against the impact on drivers using on street spaces in future.

Parking bays coned off on Tamworth Street in Lichfield city centre
Parking bays coned off on Tamworth Street in Lichfield city centre

The comments came in a task group report to an overview and scrutiny committee meeting at Lichfield District Council on Thursday (16th September).

A debate over parking for blue badge holders has taken place since a number of city centre spaces were relocated to nearby car parks to allow for outdoor seating areas to be introduced in the wake of the Covid pandemic.

The task group report said that the use of former bays needed to be “balanced” against the impact on drivers – but added that the Friary Inner car park had been recognised as a “good location” for spaces in future.

“It was discussed how the introduction of café pavement licensing had impacted these users and would continue to in the future.

“It was noted and agreed that outdoor dining had enhanced the city centre but it was felt that the bigger picture on parking needed to be balanced against this.”

Lichfield District Council task group report

The task group discussions were held as part of a review of the car parking strategy in the city centre masterplan.

The report also revealed that the prospect of introducing schemes such as park and ride were unlikely to work given the geographic features of Lichfield.

“Park and ride was considered and it was felt that Lichfield city was a more compact area with the out of centre areas being much closer than other places that run these schemes, such as York or Worcester, and so it was questioned if this would actually be of benefit.

“It was suggested that it could be useful during peak times of the events calendar including festivals.”

Lichfield District Council task group report

“Did not have the level of detail expected

City centre masterplan artist's impression
An artist’s impression of the city centre masterplan

The task group also said it had “concerns” over the a lack of detail being used to underpin some aspects of the draft parking strategy.

“Members felt that it was more a broadbrush evaluation and review document and suggested that it be referred to as such to prevent any potential disappointed expectations.

“It was discussed that there was little data shown on where, what and why people came and parked in the city and therefore it was difficult to know if the strategy was a correct one.

“There were concerns that the document, as produced by consultants, did not have the level of detail expected with no options included.

“It was reported that this was a high level document which would then bring forward the action plan of works, projects and business cases to be undertaken.”

Lichfield District Council task group report

21 replies on “Task group says benefits of city centre outdoor dining spaces must be balanced against the impact on parking provision”

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  1. We were in Lichfield on Saturday. We were amazed how many cars drove through past the market. Its extremely dangerous when there are so many people and children about. A visitor we were speaking to from Lancashire was horrified.

  2. I’m all for keeping cars out of the city centre but spare a thought for tradesmen like myself who get called to leaks and other emergencies? I love the outside seating and keeping general traffic including the disabled from the centre is a must. Not sure how it could policed to allow tradesmen etc to gain access?

  3. Lichfield must be the only City in the UK that considers motorists before pedestrians. I see the advantage to blue badge holders of getting to the shops easier but I also see the young boys speeding through the middle of the town. Pedestrianised the centre to bring pedestrian safety in line with other UK cities and help the bars and cafes that have been struggling.

  4. Please let’s learn from many cities in Europe which are far more vibrant for outdoor dining. The UK and Lichfield remains in the past. I lived in Amsterdam for 7 years and loved eating and drinking outside in all weathers whilst watching the world go by.

  5. Well according to the responses so far it’s a case of screw the disabled, is it? The disabled bays outside the banks in the market place were taken out of use for no good reason, unless the staff there are going to start dispensing money outside? Many of the bays in Bore Street have been lost to the pavement cafes, which of course won’t see much custom in a few week’s time. The original excuse for removing the bays was to aid social distancing, which doesn’t seem to apply to outdoor seating now. The stated intent to bring back the bays eventually seems to have been forgotten. Many disabled people relied on the bays in the market place to access banks, opticians, dentists etc, since for many it is too far from the carpark near Minster pool. If other people are driving through this area without a good excuse, surely it is an enforcement issue. Pedestrianisation is fine for those who can walk around the centre, but spare a thought for those who can’t. We had a reasonable compromise before the overgrown plant pots and traffic cones appeared.

  6. Spare a thought for disabled drivers who cannot walk very even from the car park behind B&M .never once have I been stopped by a traffic warden to have my badge checked

  7. I only want blue badge parking back so that barber on Tamworth St goes back inside and stops harassing people as they walk by.

  8. The obvious solution would be to install a barrier on the road by where vehicles try to drive through town, and have access controlled remotely via an intercom system.

    Having said that, I’m not sure why Lichfield should be any different to virtually every other town that has embraced pedestrianisation. They are far more pleasant places to walk around without dodging vehicles, and there is no God-given right to park precisely where you want anyway!

  9. This topic always covers the same ground. I think our council needs to be talking to other councils who have successfully pedestrianised shopping areas, to see what support they provide to the disabled and how they facilitate essential access for tradesmen and deliveries. If they can do it, Lichfield can.

    With apologies to John Allen, I don’t think the previous arrangement was a ‘reasonable compromise’ – it was dangerous to pedestrians and remains so.

  10. Surely this is the time to be looking at traffic flow and parking in and around Lichfield. The situation can only get worse when the many local developments come on line. There is a preponderance in Lichfield to get things wrong. It seems to me that not only can they not find solutions, they cannot see the problems in the first place.
    It has been said elsewhere that there is despondency amongst the administration. Little wonder.

  11. The City Centre needs either full pedestrianisation of the ‘cobbled zone’ or nothing at all – decide one way or the other. The old system just didn’t work as people without permits or blue badges ignored the restrictions and drove through anyway.

  12. Disables drivers still need to drive past the market to get to the disabled parking spaces by Wilko’s so I assume if it’s completely pedestrianised those spaces will be gone also .

  13. Fantastic bar rock n rola. Tamworth street.outside bars are the way shud not drive down there.and that barber outside asking people to try the bar is fantastic.good luck to them.

  14. I believe the outside seating has brought Lichfield alive and given it a genuine continental feel – and for the sake of the city, definitely needs to be retained. If made permanent, businesses would be more likely to make the investment needed in parasols, blankets, etc. for the cooler and wetter weather. However, not all businesses need the benefit of outside seating, so is it not possible for there to be disabled parking outside those, including banks. Surely a mixed approach is possible – it just needs an open mind and a little creative thinking to do it in a safe, affordable and sustainable way.

  15. We were sat in the window at BeerBohm on Saturday afternoon and witnessed many cars driving ridiculously fast in what is essentially a pedestrian area – one driver even sounded his horn to make a someone pushing a wheelchair move out of their way! Clearly no sympathy amongst the disabled! That person could have been deaf and not heard the car horn!

    Visitors to the City centre are not used to our car filled pedestrian centre! It shows poor planning and lack of understanding of the needs of City centre users!

  16. When making changes to the town centre why are disabled people not considered, during COVID parking was removed due to social distancing but was really so restaurant and cafes could have outdoor areas which meant moving disabled parking further away from shops and banks. I have now started to shop outside the town centre and online which many disabled people also have done, i now only go into town for the library and to collect my prescriptions from boots. I now hear that the council are now looking to take away all the disabled parking in town on planned changes to this area again disabled people are being ignored. We keep getting told that there is places in the parking lots but these can be too far away, I now park behind Lloyd’s but on most days find this too far away to do everything I would like to do in town so then I stay at home and shop online. I was told by Staffordshire council that Bore street was still available for disabled parking but when you have 4 businesses using the disabled bays for outdoor seating in Bore Street it doesn’t leave the spaces we are told are available. I know I’m not the only one that feels Lichfield only seem to care about the tourists and able body people and have no respect for the disabled

  17. Ok why not make all disabled parking at the back of B&M then offer a free motability scooter so they can access the banks etc ? No blue badge = no scooter simple
    Their logic about access to the shops don’t wash with me what about shops which are not next to market street ? How do they get there ? Or do they only shop in banks ?

  18. We have just returned from Tenby. From July until the first week of September traffic is not allowed to drive through the town between11am to 5pm. All deliveries have to be made before 11am and then bollards are put up and entrance and exits are manned so no cars can get through. It is a joy to walk along the streets there. Lichfield is not a pedestrian town at all. We were in town the other day and “white van man” drove along the pedestrianised area by Boots and along past Cafe Nero. Something needs to be sorted out.

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