Cllr Derick Cross
Cllr Derick Cross

A Lichfield councillor has been criticised after questioning the lack of a civic car.

In an email to his colleagues, Cllr Derick Cross said “everything seems to be falling apart and going downhill” after highlighting the fact no vehicle was currently available to civic leaders.

The local authority is awaiting an electric vehicle to become available to replace the previous car.

But Cllr Cross’ comments have been criticised by other members of the council.

Labour’s Cllr Dave Robertson said the Alrewas and Fradley ward member had got his priorities wrong given the challenges of inflation and rising energy bills residents are facing, adding: “Words fail me.”

Cllr Joanne Grange, independent member for Chadsmead ward, said:

“Apart from the obvious issues with entitlement, it’s a big leap from there not being a civic car available to ‘everything seems to be falling apart’.

“If it is, Cllr Cross should maybe check the colour of his rosette and consider why.”

Cllr Joanne Grange, Lichfield District Council

Civic car debate rumbles on

Lichfield District Council House
Lichfield District Council House

The future of taxpayer-funded travel for civic leaders has long been an issue of debate at the council, with a 2016 review seeing the vehicle downgraded from a Jaguar to a Ford Mondeo.

Cllr David Leytham, who chaired the overview and scrutiny committee and is a former chairman of the council, had previously described the civic car as “absolutely essential”.

A meeting on the issue at the time also saw Cllr Joseph Powell suggest the vehicle was more than just a perk of the job for civic leaders:

“It’s important that we make it clear that the car isn’t used for just having drinks and nice meals – we use it for lots of very useful meetings with the council, such as visiting homosexual groups.”

Cllr Joseph Powell speaking at a Lichfield District Council meeting in 2015

More recently, a former chairman and leader of the council said the civic car was “an essential tool of the trade” after Cllr Rob Birch had suggested it was “pretentious and costly”.

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  1. Visiting homosexuals? What century do they think we live in? I think they mean visiting constituents/ residents of our city. I’d say a car is the least of their worries. I’m only surprised they’re not asking for horse drawn carriages seeing as they seem stuck in the 1800’s. Failing that – get a lift from a friend, drive yourself and don’t drink or get a taxi. Even better idea would be to resign.

  2. Useful meetings with homosexuals!
    Dear Lord, what next? Armoured civic car for meetings with dangerous radicals like the W.I.
    Just cancel the car, and use public transport. That might then see an improvement, and actually be of use to local people. Or get on your bike, and use the local bike lanes.

  3. To be fair, Cllr Powell probably thought that homosexuals would like to be visited by civic dignitaries because of the fancy regalia and bling chains of office. Good of him to care.

  4. I’m not condoning that comment by any means, but it was made in 2015 and life has changed a bit since.

  5. Noted two civic cars outside Guidlhall yesterday afternoon.
    Engine running on at least one of them with driver not even in the vehicle, which is illegal anyway. That should not be happening in this day and age. A complete waste of resources and money.

  6. DOWNGRADED! To a ford mondeo. I’m sure many people would be delighted for the opportunity. If the present car is 6 years old there should be plenty of life left in it . Perhaps the council could inform us of its present condition as I’m sure it will last a few more years.

  7. Surely a armoured humvee would be more appropriate in the future as the people of lichfield and burntwood will be lining the streets throwing house bricks at them.

  8. You don’t need a new civic car as the roads in Lichfield are gridlock most days now due to so many new housing estates popping up in already crowded roads… then you allow highways works with temp traffic lights that don’t allow for load of the roads… Eastern Avenue and Streethay are chock a bloc most days and its getting worse.

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