Temporary changes that saw disabled parking bays relocated to allow bars and restaurants to use streets for outdoor service have been extended for another year.

Parking bays coned off on Tamworth Street in Lichfield city centre

Lichfield District Council made the changes in July 2020 to create more space on local streets during the coronavirus pandemic.

A number of the parking bays were then converted to outdoor seating areas for businesses who applied for pavement licences.

After an extension of the Business and Planning Act 2020, the council has now approved plans to extend the current city centre arrangements until 30th September 2022.

It means the 21 disabled parking bays on Market Street, Bore Street Conduit Street and Tamworth Street will remain suspended, with alternative locations continuing to be available at the Bird Street and Lombard Street car parks.

Cllr Liz Little, cabinet member for major projects, said:

Cllr Liz Little

“With Covid still very much with us, it’s really important that we have space to maintain social distancing in the city centre.

“We also want to support our local businesses who are keen to keep their outside seating areas for another year.

“We hope blue badge holders will understand the decision and continue to make good use of the remaining blue badge bays that are available in the city centre and in Bird Street and Lombard Street car parks.”

Cllr Liz Little, Lichfield District Council

The council said the decision would also mean 18 hospitality businesses would see their pavement licences extended for another year.

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40 Comments

  1. Fantastic idea. Keep the spaces at the car parks and open up the city to help the local companies who struggled. Well done Lichfield.

  2. No thought for people who would struggle with mobility having one leg and having had a Stoke as well I am unfortunately one of many effected Simon bird disappointed in any lack of disability awareness cllr little ( thought)

  3. The suspension of Disabled bays was solely due to Social Distancing regulations as a result of Covid as plainly printed on the signs around the town it had nothing to do with ‘cafe society’s. Social distancing regulations no longer exist so the Disabled Parking bays should be returned. To extend the suspension is just political and economic opportunism and all those Council members who voted for this should be ashamed of themselves. The Disabled community have fought for decades to have the same rights and facilities as fit people and Lichfield Council has put that fight back years with this action, what next, Disabled toilets? I have virtually stopped coming into Lichfield due to the parking bay issue unless my need is desperate. I hearby call upon the decision to be reversed and make the Disabled welcome again

  4. Think it’s a great idea. There is no need for the amount of disabled parking bays that there are in Lichfield anyway. And for that matter, just about everywhere I go too. May as well allow these businesses a little extra “leeway” to try and help them gain their feet after the last 18 months.

  5. I think it’s a good idea, for one year or 6m and then a serious review of the benefits and inequality caused. establishments in question have no external facilities, there is a covid risk being inside, many fit and healthy and some seemingly less than healthy people choose not to wear masks indoors. Said establishments provide services to society, pay council tax and provide jobs. Without these there is less local government money. Some establishments are on their knees. I do have empathy for genuinely disabled people, it must be a huge struggle. It’s the disabled people in two seater sports cars that need regulating out of these oversubscribed spaces.

  6. This is an absolute disgrace. As pointed out, the stated intention for removing the bays was social distancing. It would therefore seem that we have been lied to. No , Cllr Little, we neither understand or accept this decision, and the council should be thoroughly ashamed about this blatant discrimination. How many people will be sitting outside in a few week’s time? We were told the bays would be returned to use in due course- more lies. This council is a complete disgrace.

  7. Most Cities of notation have Traffic Free Centres. York ,Lincoln etc. I agree with Lichfield Centre being pedestrianised. Sadly there is very little forethought for those less able. The Parking in Lichfield is dreadful a bit like the Egg before the Chicken. Perhaps the areas in question should be later in the evening. But winter is fast approaching also. Poor decisions again by LDC.

  8. The centre needs proper pedestrianisation, not the current mess. A remotely-manned bollard that only allows emergency vehicles access, and delivery vehicles outside of 10am-4pm. This works just fine in hundreds of other centres, I’m not sure why Lichfield would or should be any different.

  9. Finally common sense from LDC the disabled community must appreciate they cannot drive and park outside every shop in Lichfield? How do they get to the O2 shop ? It’s something they have taken for granted for too long. Back of B&M is ideal and let’s improve access through the alleyway as planned.

  10. With some of the selfish, blinkered views expressed on this, it’s no wonder the council can get away with such discriminatory decisions. If such people ever find themselves disabled and experiencing the frustrations of it, perhaps they might change their views. We already have a pedestrianised precinct and arcade, why not focus the outdoor cafes there, for those who like to pretend it’s the south of France. But nothing will change and the business friendly Tories will continue to mismanage the show, ably abetted by people who don’t give a toss about the less fortunate.

  11. Equality Act
    Disability Act
    Think LDC needs to read up on some acts
    As most of Lichfield is retirement homes

  12. I agree that the centre should be pedestrianised, whether its to do with covid or not, it makes no difference. Its outdated thinking allowing cars and people to mix! It would certainly stop the route being used as a short cut by able people driving through the centre. But they should also look to improving if necessary the availibility of disabled spaces in other car parks.

  13. @John Allen, John do you propose that all café owners relocate to the Three Spires Shopping Centre at their own cost? And are we sure that such units are available there with the necessary permission for them to trade in the same way?

    I’m (amongst other roles) a driver for a disabled relative who uses an electric wheelchair so can see both sides of the argument around banning vehicles. But surely no-one can say the current free-for-all is reasonable, with cars ploughing through the centre?

    Lichfield is the exception with having traffic going through the centre. Hundreds of other towns have gone pedestrianised and are much nicer for it.

  14. Be kind. Helping one another. Levelling up. Look out for one another.
    It is all meaningless words really isn’t it. Everyone who uses these words never really means it or understands what these terms actually mean. Instead, it is the likes of those commenting above without any regard for those with restricted mobility that represents not necessarily the majority view, but the pervading view.
    If you are different in any way, if you require any additional help whatsoever through not fault of your own and if you are perceived to gain any sort of advantage thanks to that additional support, then your views are not welcome and are irrelevant.
    There is a wilful lack of empathy and understanding from the council as regards this issue and the huge impact it has on a sizeable section of our community and any visitors we might want to attract to the city. Is the council’s approach setting the tone for those happily dismissing the concerns and requirements of those with mobility issues? Or is the council merely reflecting the views of those who believe the needs of those with mobility issues are irrelevant – for reasons unknown?
    The great British spirit that saw everyone pulling together at the start of the lockdown is being shown for what it really was – a superficial and shallow myth.
    The true British spirit is displayed by the council who has failed to listen to those with legitimate concerns from day one and those who happily dismiss the views and requirements of those with mobility issues in such an ignorant and callous manner.
    It isn’t even Johnson’s Britain, it has been the same for 30 or 40 years. Of course, all those who are applauding the council and dismissing the views of those with mobility issues will be the first to raise hell, complain, accuse the world and his wife of abusing their civil liberties and demand to be heard and get their own way on any decision the council takes that has a negative impact on them personally.

  15. Couldn’t have put it better myself, Scott Armstrong. Those who harp on about cars whizzing through the market place are missing the point, although they also overstate the problem by a considerable margin. Access is an enforcement issue and shouldn’t be used as an excuse to exclude those who need to use disabled bays. Those who cite what has happened in a small number of other towns are also missing the point. What effect has this had on disability access, or don’t they even care? I should have thought that at the rate shops disappear in the precinct, there would be plenty of scope to locate cafes there. If this is part of a council master plan to pedestrianise by stealth, did they not think about this issue, or do people like Cllr Little not care either?

  16. Once again the council have shown they don’t care or even think about disabled people, car parks on offer are too far away from shops to be useful, I’ll stick to shopping outside the town and online. The town is now being turned in one large cafe and will drive more people away. I’m sure there must be a law that looks after disabled people’s interest

  17. John,

    It is possible to care about disability access AND see the other side of the argument.

    Can you name anywhere locally or further afield that still has vehicular traffic going right through it? Here are some that don’t :
    Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Walsall, West Bromwich, Dudley, Halesowen, Aldridge, Derby, Burton, Sutton Coldfield, Hinckley, Nuneaton Bedworth, Mansfield, Nottingham, Leicester, Chesterfield… I could go on and on. It’s far from “a small number”. Are they all wrong?

  18. John wants a disabled parking space in front of every shop in Lichfield? Just accept that’s not how the world works anymore disabled people can easily park back of B&M and do their shopping from there ? Why is there such a craving to park within 4 paces of a bank ? You cannot have full driving access to every shop in Lichfield so why moan about reduced access to a few ? There is no logic to your thinking whatsoever? Time to move on and adopt a new way of living which has been adopted throughout the UK

  19. It is disgraceful that the council has not lifted the ban on parking in Market Street.
    As a disabled man with heart and lung problems, i am unable to walk from Bird Street to get to the bank and Specsave. More discrimination Lichfield Council.

  20. If Reasonable Chap has carried out a disability access survey in all of the towns he mentions, I would be most impressed. Perhaps he could share the results of his survey with the rest of us so that we can get a perspective on the issue. I suspect this is not the case though. There is also the concept of social proof, whereby if you wonder if something is ok to do, however appalling, you look at what others are doing. If even some of them are doing the same thing, it’s ok. That opens up all sorts of possibilities for bad behavior, doesn’t it? And Mr Mr, I don’t expect people to be able to park outside every shop, that would be unworkable and ridiculous, and gross exaggeration doesn’t help your case. Access to some key places would be good, which is what we had before Cllr Little’s brainwave. The need and practicality of providing access to town/city centres needs to be determined on a case by case basis, and if this is difficult then usable alternatives need to be provided that still provide means of access for disabled. The layout of Lichfield city centre does mean that some key facilities need access through the city centre, unless you are proposing to force them to re-locate at their own cost, to mirror your argument. Yes, there is legislation to protect disabled, the Equality Act and the Disability Discrimination Act before this. However, they both suffer from the same flaw, in that no body was tasked with enforcing them. If someone feels discriminated against, it is up to them to take an action at County Court. In the real world, this is extremely unlikely to happen, which is why people, shops and councils can get away with flouting the legislation. If this is, as stated, the new world we live in, then it is a very sad state of affairs, and we have clearly learned nothing from the pandemic.

  21. D-L
    Bad call. Lichfield D. C. Just one more nail in the coffin of a once wonderful City, which now manages to side line the aged and disabled. Is this now, discrimination of the less abled.

  22. Make your mind up John.. You said it was a small number of towns that had gone pedestrianised, but a glance at pictures of most town and city centres in the UK show that’s not true. So assuming you accept you were wrong on that point, are you now saying all those car-free places got it wrong? I’m confused.

  23. TO ALL DISABLED PEOPLE DO WHAT I DO, ABANDON LICHFIELD SHOPPING AND GO WHERE YOU CAN PARK FREE RIGHT OUTSIDE THE SHOP YOU WANT. LICHFIELD IS BECOMING A GHOST TOWN.

  24. Reasonable Chap – there are pedestrianised areas in many towns, that wasn’t the point under debate here. Lichfield already has pedestrianised areas. I notice you have not responded to my point about disabled access surveys. Have you not done one of these then? Are you saying that ‘hundreds’ of towns are fully pedestrianised, where cars cannot enter any part of the town? A bold claim. Can you back this up, and tell us what effect this has had on disabled access? You have also not responded to my point about the nature of Lichfield city centre. Your response is selective to say the least.

  25. This morning I saw three cars drive round from Tamworth Street past Market Square, none of them going as slowly as you might reasonably expect in semi-pedestrianised area with schoolchildren and elderly people around. All three were occupied by young, suited-and-booted people at 8.25am. I did not see a blue badge in any of these vehicles. I know I am likely to get howls of protest about this, but what I see every time I’m in the city centre leads me to think that there are a lot of selfish people who put their own convenience over other’s people’s safety and wellbeing. A couple of years ago I witnessed a confused gentleman trying to drive his car the wrong way up Tamworth Street until he was stopped by a police officer. This was during one of our food festivals (!) with hundreds of people all around him, otherwise I don’t suppose the police would have been there.

    We need proper pedestrianisation with automated bollards to control access, as Bruno Marsbar states above. Yes, it’s an enforcement issue. No, the council has neither the money nor the will to employ traffic wardens to do this job, which only the desperate would accept in view of the poor pay and threats/abuse/assault by motorists which wardens experience daily. ANPR and penalty charge notices will deter some but by no means all drivers from flouting the rules – a percentage will always try to chance their arm and subsequently clog up the council and the Traffic Enforcement Centre with spurious appeals.

    We need a culture change, and I’m hoping the council is starting to see this.

  26. John, you said pedestrianisation had “happened in a small number of towns”. Now you say “there are pedestrianised areas in many towns”. Are you OK?

  27. LDC pandering with one hand to the cafe fraternity while the other hand is forever hiking up business rates. Tamworth has everything Lichfield wishes it could have and still provides convenient access for all, both able-bodied and disabled.

  28. Where is our wonderful MP when we, the disabled need his help. Come winter, his Riviera will be sinking. Is he down in Wakes looking after his sheep when he should be looked after his disabled flock here.

  29. jonesy85 – Of course LDC is hiking up business rates, the Conservative government is defunding all local authorities. Without government money where will funding for services come from?

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