A group of Lib Dem councillors have called for “action not words” to unlock stalled projects in Lichfield.
A meeting of Lichfield District Council next week will discuss plans to push ahead with the redevelopment of land earmarked for the failed Friarsgate scheme.
Local authority chiefs have also suggested more money could be provided to build a new leisure centre at Stychbrook Park after it failed to secure Levelling Up funding from the Government.
Liberal Democrat councillors Paul Ray, Hugh Ashton and Miles Trent have now called for the Conservative leadership at the district council to back up their words with actions to ensure the city doesn’t have to wait any longer for both schemes to get off the ground.
Cllr Ashton, Garrick ward representative at Lichfield City Council, said:
“It’s now time for action, not words.
“Conservative councillors have spoken about the Birmingham Road site and the leisure centre, but when you read what they’ve said they actually say nothing.
“The Birmingham Road site is an eyesore in the centre of Lichfield and there has been a lack of action from the council to move this forward.
“Doug Pullen [leader of the district council] said last week about the Birmingham Road site that it is a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity and a ‘lofty ambition’ – but what does that mean?”Cllr Hugh Ashton
Cllr Trent, who represents the Chadsmead ward on Lichfield City Council, said recent comments from the Conservative leadership over the long-term future of proposals for a new leisure centre also needed further explanation.
It comes after the district council’s cabinet member for finance, Cllr Rob Strachan, said more funding could be put in, despite the local authority opting not to award the project Community Infrastructure Levy funding.
“Cllr Pullen said nothing had changed at all on the leisure plans, but the council has just got to be more proactive in getting out there to raise funding so this can move forward.
“Cllr Strachan said the authority could step up with capital funding where projects are stalled – but then at the same time the council decided not to use funding available for community infrastructure projects to help build the new leisure centre.”Cllr Miles Trent
“Affordable homes for key workers”
Cllr Paul Ray, who represents Chadsmead ward on Lichfield District Council, said specific suggestions had been made for the former Friarsgate land.
“I am a member of the task group overseeing the Conservatives‘ running of these projects and I desperately want to see them get off the ground.
“Together with Cllr Hugh Ashton I have made specific proposals to assist with moving the Birmingham Road site forward.
“These have included proposing that homes built on this site are affordable homes for key workers and that any retail facilities have a focus on independent and craft or artisan businesses.”Cllr Paul Ray, Lichfield District Council
The long term plans for the Birmingham Road site will be discussed at a meeting of Lichfield District Council on 22nd February.