A report has recommended councillors reject plans for a redevelopment scheme in Lichfield.

An artist's impression of the new Beacon Street development
An artist’s impression of the new Beacon Street development

Friel Homes said last year that they were hopeful the proposal for land around the former Angel Croft Hotel site would be approved.

The scheme includes the creation of a boutique hotel along with the creation of 29 new homes, together with improved access via a new route over Leomansley Brook.

But a report to Lichfield District Council’s planning committee has recommended refusal.

An artist's impression of the new Beacon Street development
An artist’s impression of the new Beacon Street development

“The proposed redevelopment of the site would result in an overdevelopment of the site, resulting in a poorly articulated and visually cramped form of development which does not respect or reflect the character of the Lichfield city centre conservation area.

“In doing so, the proposal would cause harm to the significance of heritage assets, Lichfield city centre conservation area, Beacon Park, and listed buildings Angel Croft, Westgate House, Westgate Cottage, Erasmus Darwin House and Lichfield Cathedral by virtue of impact on their settings.”

Report to Lichfield District Council’s planning committee

The report also raises concerns over the loss of “established and protected trees” as part of the development.

The proposals had been given backing by local groups, including Beacon Street Area Residents’ Association who said it would “massively improve the area”.

Councillors will make a final decision on whether to allow the development at the meeting on 26th January.

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19 Comments

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  1. Obviously I don’t know all the details but yet again the council look to do nothing rather than look for constructive developments to move Lichfield neighbourhoods forward. This site has been pretty much derelict for the last 10 years. As a prime site very close to the Cathedral this doesn’t give a positive impression of the City. Make a positive decision for once rather than sit on your hands.

  2. Really?? Maybe if the developers could also stick a characterless 5 story retirement home on there as well, that would appease the “Planning committee”.

  3. Could you please state what this report is and who is the author of it. ‘A report’ doesn’t provide any context – is it from the conservation officer? planning officers? other statutory consultees? Or a local group such as the Civic Society? This project appears to be generally well supported by city groups and beats yet more housing on green fields, so it would be nice to know where this report is from. Let’s have the full picture.

  4. Ohhh I love this; people moan about this and do bugger all about 1000’s of new Lego Land houses being built elsewhere in Lichfield !!!

  5. @David Crump: It’s a council planning report – every planning meeting will have reports by a council officer into the application, which then draws in views from all officers, objectors etc.

  6. This beggars belief. It is almost as though the council planning officers are doing everything possible to make Lichfield a worse place to live. How on earth can they support the encircling of Lichfield with thousands of 2/3 bed box houses with gardens the size of a six-pence, all piled on top of each other in a cramped, unattractive way, and yet oppose a development like this, which will clearly improve a run-down area of Lichfield centre? It makes zero sense. Can we find out who exactly it is in the Council that’s preparing these reports?

  7. I am an advocate of appropriate development in the heritage part of the city. There has been support for this project in some quarters that seemed less than impartial. The reasons for the advice to reject seem legitimate.
    Many developers seem determined to maximise the use of land they have. I totally endorse the comment above regarding many of the current estates being built and the quality and density of these. This proposed development is in the conservation area and has to be treated differently. That’s what conservation means.

  8. So far, I have heard nothing but support for this scheme from all sides and all levels. All major stakeholders have voiced their support, and those who have seen the detailed proposals, including those who are knowledgeable about planning constraints, are not only supportive but enthusiastic about this development.
    Yes, this is in a conservation area, but given the choice between a sensitively designed and planned development, the majority of which will not be visible from the road, and which will bring benefits to residents of the area (e.g., repair of footpaths, traffic calming measures) and to the city (such as employment and increased visitor footfall), it seems the officer(s) in charge of planning would sooner see a car park backing onto scrub land.

  9. People would sooner see derelict buildings than a useful rebuild there is no reason a good builder could develop the site

  10. Not heard anything so crazy in a long time. This development is the best proposal I have seen anywhere and would enhance the centre of Lichfield.

    What is the direct opposite is the cramped developments that have been allowed outside of the centre where there is more land. They should have been sent back to the drawing board, not this fantastic looking development.

  11. Anyone know the planning application reference number? I’m keen to see who the report was from exactly, @Ross are you sure this is from a planning officer? As @David Crumb says, the article is very vague on who this report was written by.
    Personally, I wouldn’t agree this is over development. The costs on projects such as this are astronomical if you consider the increased costs of design, negotiations, works to the public realm, below ground works and the cost of land in such a location. The developer must include enough development to make it profitable and with such high risks the margin has to be healthy to include the inevitable unexpected costs. I expect a scheme involving less GIA wouldn’t stack up. Credit to the developers and the architects for finding a scheme that does work. They have including lots of works to improve the public realm which would only reduce profit and they’ve even spent the additional costs on hiding all the parking below ground by using car lifts. I have no skin this game and I certainly back this scheme.

  12. Henry, yes I am certain it was a planning officer. It’s a report to a meeting of the planning committee which has been commissioned by the council to aid the final decision by the members. It is not binding, but lays out the position based on policy and opinions of various stakeholders, both internal and external.

  13. Who has written the report? What criteria guided their judgement? Who were they listening to? The cathedral wasn’t officially asked for a view and had we been consulted we’d have said we welcome it. We’ve got architectural monotony in Lichfield: red brick, glass and grey steel. Socially too having us become the retirement capital of England is disastrous. Wake up planners -think new thoughts!

  14. Ridiculous – currently derelict and looks a mess. A boutique hotel would be great for the area and the redevelopment is much better than all the new estates popping up everywhere in Lichfield. Its a blot on the landscape currently.

  15. Of course they recommend refusal, it isn’t on a green field. Can’t be improving a brownfield site can we? Completely goes against the grain for the morons running planning in this area.

  16. The planning application recommendation to refuse the development of land and buildings at Angel Croft and Westgate in Beacon Street, Lichfield is contradictory and the reasons for refusal are at best vague. The development provides much needed sympathically built, residential housing for families, in addition to a small, high end, boutique hotel, providing employment for local people. The recommended refusal goes on to comment that the development of the site is ‘poorly articulated, visually cramped and does not reflect the character of the Lichfield City Centre Conservation area’, having reviewed the plans, I would say this development is to the contrary, and supports the nature of the buildings and residential properties it surrounds. The proposed extension to Westgate Cottage to facilitate the hotel and apartments will complement the building and secure its future for many years to come.

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