Plans for a new leisure centre to be built on a park in Lichfield will take a step forward if councillors approve plans for the land to officially earmarked for the scheme.

Stychbrook Park. Picture: Google Streetview
Stychbrook Park. Picture: Google Streetview

Lichfield District Council has identified Stychbrook Park as the location of the long-term replacement for Friary Grange Leisure Centre.

A report to a meeting of the local authority’s cabinet is asking for the land to be formally put forward for the development.

“Stychbrook Park has been identified as the preferred site for the proposed new Lichfield leisure centre.

“In accordance with Section 122 of the Local Government Act 1972, Lichfield District Council is required to appropriate the public open space before any development can proceed.

“The appropriation is a separate process to planning approval and is required to be completed ahead of any planning application. Once appropriated, the council could then make a planning application to develop a leisure centre on the site.

“The planning application will include a further consultation exercise and allow for a fuller examination of some of the issues.”

Report to Lichfield District Council’s cabinet

The council said it had only seen 118 responses to a six-week consultation over the formal proposal to use the site – significantly below the 1,500 who responded to a consultation over the future of Beacon Park’s golf course.

Of those, 84 objected to the use of Stychbrook Park, while 17 supported it and the same amount were seeking more information.

A task group meeting in March said that, despite local objections, the scheme should progress.

“Substantial open space will remain”

The proposed layout of the new leisure centre at Stychbrook Park
The proposed layout of the new leisure centre at Stychbrook Park

The report to cabinet added:

“It was felt that the number of objections were outweighed by the resident benefit delivered by a leisure centre.

“It was further considered that many of the objections were extraneous to the appropriation of the site, but will be carried forward to any subsequent planning process where they will be fully explored and resolved.

“While an area of Stychbrook Park will be lost in order to build a new leisure centre, substantial open space will remain.

“The existing children’s play area will remain along with wooded areas and other grassed areas. The adjacent Christian Fields will be unaffected and still provide local residents with amenity green space within a ten-minute walk distance.

“A new leisure centre will deliver a step-change in physical activity provision for residents. Only through providing a network of excellent quality facilities, can we encourage residents to make positive choices relating to their leisure time.”

Report to Lichfield District Council’s cabinet

The cabinet meeting to discuss the issue will take place on 10th May.

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18 Comments

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  1. I live in Lichfield and just came back from a weekend in Stratford upon Avon. Stratford is smaller than Lichfield by my word they are light years ahead in infrastrucure. They have a superb, large, multi-purpose leisure centre, take full advantage of their history with musuems that attract visitors and support the economy.

    I’m not saying Lichfield will ever have the draw and tourism numbers that Stratford has, but it really does just highlight how poor our Council is when Lichfield, which has its own attractions, falls so far short in so many departments. The most pathetic shortfall is the leisure centre. Areas much smaller than Lichfield have excellent sports halls and leisure centres. The fact this Council cannot even get this right just flabbergasts me. We really do deserve better.

  2. From what I can tell, it isn’t a leisure centre. It’s an indoor lane swimming pool. Utter garbage.

  3. Once again the Council fails to listen to residents opinions and show total disregard to any of those in the locality. Take away green spaces whilst leaving a derelict prime city centre location site. Councillors you should all be ashamed of yourselves in pursuing this green field option.

  4. Yes, normal service resumed. Let’s do a consultation to tick a box and then completely ignore the view of the overwhelming majority. Same old LDC planning department.

  5. Obviously the Council want this to go ahead despite local residents’ opposition to the plan. They don’t have to live with the day to day increased traffic and total inconvenience of it all .Residents who live directly opposite the proposed entrance will see their property values fall. The traffic turning right at the end of Curborough Road to get onto Eastern Avenue will back up at peak times of usage of the centre.

  6. @George – for clarity this isn’t a planning issue, it’s the formal appropriation of the land. Planning is the stage later in the process

  7. By far the worst council I have ever come across. They’re just appalling in so many ways. The above comment on Stratford upon Avon is spot on. You can compare Lichfield to a vast number of cities and it’s just rubbish. They really are a bunch of dinosaurs. The proposed layout is far from impressive. They have suggested a 5 million budget, sorry but that is nowhere near enough. Please do us all a favour and look at other councils and copy what they do.

  8. Ross, isn’t it essentially the same thing, in that the land will only be appropriated if LDC (including the Planning Department) decide it is going to use that land for the swimming pool? Otherwise, what would be the point in the “appropriation”? I don’t claim to be an expert but it looks like the relevant departments have decided it’s decision made, and the residents are totally ignored as usual.

    I wouldn’t even mind so much if it was an actual leisure centre with a sports hall and other facilities seen in good, proper, leisure centres. This is a swimming pool with an outdoor pitch. Swim House has just opened in Lichfield and so another swimming pool (on its own) isn’t even needed, and is a waste of money and valuable green space. Either do it properly or just don’t bother LDC.

  9. @George: No, appropriation is effectively a regulatory step where the council say they would like to build on land. Planning will then follow and take into account factors such as layout, design, stakeholder views etc.

  10. Let’s face it we can all rant a rave and write reams of disapproval but No one within LDC are listening regarding this or any other proposal. Housing Strategy,Infrastructure,failed projects, planting trees, meeting behind closed doors, Blue Bags. The list is endless.
    They are all useless each and everyone of them…Time to Rid.

  11. Surely a leisure centre should have a variety of facilities that cater for all age groups and activities. I know of groups who play badminton, indoor bowls, fitness training, basketball and other activities. Leisure does not always imply physical activity and groups like arthritis care and talking newspaper could also benefit.
    This is a poor design and concept. It needs radical and perceptive redesign. Problem is I don’t think our council is capable of doing that.

  12. While we’re on the subject of Stratford upon Avon, they also have an actual hospital you know…yes, an actual, proper hospital. With a population of 30k. Just shows it can be done LDC, are you listening?….

    (Obviously not)

  13. Yes it’s a pathetic proposal, the minimum LDC think they can get away with after the outcry following their proposed closure of the Friary Grange Leisure Centre.
    It’s worth remembering that the proposed closure followed the the inability of the District and County councils to agree on the future operation (and funding/responsibility) of the centre. Both were willing to abandon it and give up on providing a leisure centre. Fortunately the outcry resulted in LDC having to keep the existing centre open until a new centre is available. This demonstrates that the Friary Grange could be retained if the two councils could cooperate, instead of abandoning it (and demolishing it at significant cost) and replacing it with a far inferior new centre.

  14. What I don’t understand is, if it’s clear the majority of residents don’t just want a swimming pool, and it’s clear that the majority of residents don’t want a swimming pool at this location, why does it appear that LDC is still going ahead? What is wrong with them?

    We need an actual leisure centre, with a multi-use sports hall and other facilities typically seen in decent leisure centres. If they don’t have the money yet then keep trying to raise it. No point wasting what is there (i.e. £5m) on a swimming pool, which, on its own, isn’t wanted and takes up more precious green space.

  15. There used to be a lovely Cottage Hospital opposite the Bowling Green till LDC sold the site for houses. Then the Samuel Johnswas built and the hospital was down graded by taking away the A & E. The Staff are great at the SJ but an A & E being put back would help Lichfield Residents by not having to go to Queens. That space on Eastern Avenue should be left for Youngsters to play on, and Walkers as well.

  16. Blame where blame is due. The whole academy process, started under Blair for failing schools but turbocharged by Gove in 2010, handed a massive £££ to a company with no assets (the Trust), and the Tories in LDC effectively handed a local asset to that company too (playing fields for building sell at £0.5m per footie pitch currently). Face up, there will be NO money for a new leisure centre, unless a private company takes a punt, with LDC donating the land in exchange for short term electoral benefits (made Centre happen?)

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