Outdoor seating at Melbourne in Lichfield. Picture: Melbourne
Outdoor seating at Melbourne in Lichfield. Picture: Melbourne

Council officers have been told to halt enforcement of changes to new rules which could see Lichfield city centre businesses forced to remove outdoor seating areas.

It comes after outlets in parts of the city were told new pedestrianisation rules meant they would be restricted on when their customers could sit on the street at the front of their premises.

Bosses from Melbourne coffee shop on Bird Street were told no street furniture – including seating and tables – would be allowed from Monday to Wednesday.

A spokesperson said:

“We survived Brexit, Covid, energy prices and the soaring costs of goods as a business, but the council now wants to take away outdoor seating from the hospitality businesses in the city centre.

“When will stupid fights end and our energy go into running a business start?

“Being told we can put chairs and tables out after 12 from Thursday to Sunday only, yet the breakfast trade is from 8am to 11am – but that’s okay because Lichfield District Council has told me that chairs and tables during winter is for smokers only – that’s a huge slap in the face to pram pushers, wheelchair users, dog walkers and general people that choose to sit outside since Covid.”

Melbourne spokesperson

The changes coincide with new pedestrianisation rules introduced this week which see blue badge holders, delivery drivers and permit holders able to access city centre roads on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

But Cllr Doug Pullen, leader of Lichfield District Council, said he had stepped in to prevent enforcement taking place in a bid to protect local businesses.

“A thriving street cafe culture in Lichfield is one of the very few positives borne out of Covid restrictions and I want to see it continue.

“I’ve asked officers at Lichfield District Council to pause any work they’re doing on enforcing pavement licences as it will put our hospitality economy at risk.”

Cllr Doug Pullen, Lichfield District Council

A Lichfield District Council spokesperson confirmed the temporary halt had now been put in place.

“Following the statement made today by Cllr Doug Pullen, we are pausing work on pavement licences in order to develop a clear policy working with all stakeholders.”

Lichfield District Council spokesperson

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.

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Local Man
17 days ago

Some of these shops could put their tables & chairs elsewhere. Though forcing cafes etc to remove them altogether during certain periods is not totally irresponsible. Some of these tables & chairs are getting in the way during very busy periods and an accident is just waitin to arise if not already.

Lichfield has a too many cafes and its coming to a time where some will find their bubble is about to pop. Cafe owners are fretting about their custom and pointing the finger at every change around them. Yet I think they need a fresh cup of coffee brewed because they’re not realising their up against the likes of Costa, Nero and more just steps away from one another. I say, quit the whinging.

17 days ago

Ye gods and little fishes, there are some barmpots working for LDC.

Steven Norman
17 days ago

Did Doug get the idea from his Conservative Vice Chairman?

“The deputy chairman of Britain’s governing Conservative Party, LeeAndersonMP has called for the government to “ignore the law” and deport asylum seekers the same day they arrive.”

There is no statement that has been issued to councillors and nothing on the website. Can only conclude his Twitter, sorry, X, account has been hacked.

Herbert Hogwash
17 days ago

Local Man, your wisdom knows no bounds. Maybe pop in and see the cafe owners and explain to them where they’re going wrong.

17 days ago

Public sector numpties who have never had to generate income and sales trying to kill businesses and a positive development, when times are hard enough. Those tables can be full, meaning more customers for the same overheads. Looks like LDC still has issues with errant staff thinking they make policy without engaging with councillors. I take it Janice double barrel was not aware of this but who knows?

17 days ago

Local man out door eating/ drinking brings tourists. Just look at neighbouring countries

David Wood
17 days ago

Goodbye Conservative Party.

Ken H
17 days ago

Why do they do something with no consulting with anyone
Like everything they do
Just cause problems

Local female
17 days ago

The main draw for me to walk into town is to go grab a coffee or a beer with friends and I love the outdoor culture of Lichfield,it’s a massive part of its charm.
There’s so many ages that live in lichfield,not just elderly and they always seem to be the ones that moan about coffee shops and tripping up over chairs and wanting to park right outside b&m.
Us millennials what to sit outside, drink coffee and support local businesses instead of massive chains so “local man” I suggest you go to Tamworth which is the most boring town but sounds like it would be right up your street .

Scott Armstrong
17 days ago

@Steven Norman is right.

We do need Lichfield Live to keep asking these questions and carrying these stories. It’s thanks to them we know these things are happening.

Of course what we really need is some serious opposition at LDC.

Dave J
17 days ago

It’s about time LDC understood what attracts people to Lichfield, as a local man ( no not that idiot!) I have enjoyed the outdoor cafe culture since COVID, I think it has added to the charm and atmosphere of the city centre, if we want to improve things then focus on all the cars and vans that come through the narrow streets, stopping them and giving better alternative access outside busy times really will improve the place and make it safer.

Mark DD
17 days ago

The entire centre of Lichfield should be pedestrianised. There are sufficient car parks close at hand to enable access. Towns & cities of similar size across Britain did this years ago & thrive as a consequence.

17 days ago

There’s mainly charity shops and food establishments in lichfield now. The money raked in from businesses and out of town supermarkets probably means less interest in the cafes contribution. They provide a fantastic service in keeping the community together and within limits outdoor seating should be encouraged.

Sea Chandler
17 days ago

Hey Mr Local Man.

Bet your fun at Parties 🎉

Ok so go to Tamworth… oh wait…
Ok so go to Sutton… oh wait…

Yes let’s all take what the council say for granted and never question anything. I bet you’re happy with your extra small blue bin bags as well. But I would hate to “whinge” about it.

You know when you ask questions about something you deem to be unlawfully introduced isn’t whinging right?

Confused Charlie
17 days ago

can Someone explain p or post a link to an explanation on why the new pedestrianisation scheme means cafes which have had seating outside for years now need to remove it? As I understand it the pedestrianisation scheme is being introduced to reduce the times when vehicles can access the city centre. So vehicles will be able to use Bird Street, where The Melbourne and other businesses have outdoor seating, less than they currently can. And why would less vehicle traffic require the removal of the seating?
Well done Doug Pullen for intervening. Good to hear of him doing something useful rather than failing to announce a cinema operator.

17 days ago

I like to eat outdoors (in the summer) but I also like to be able to walk down the street safely. Bird St is like an obstacle course and my partner was clipped by a van speeding past at about 30. He was walking round some chairs that had been put out

17 days ago

I have to agree with Janet. It’s like an obsticle course sometimes and i also have had similar problems avoiding cars/vans

16 days ago

Janet, motorised vehicles shouldn’t be in that street

16 days ago

Bird Street is nice because of the tables from all the businesses. It’s lovely to see people, it creates an atmosphere. It’s maybe the nicest street in town?

It’s easy to walk on through if you’re not stopping. Please don’t change it!

old fogie
16 days ago

We have two mobility scooters in our household and we have no problem whatsoever with the outdoor cafe furniture. It always seems to be considerately placed, it enhances the ambience of the streets and gives us somewhere to sit by a table. However, there are difficulties for mobility scooter users in Lichfield. Just try getting a “shopper” scooter, with it’s tiny wheels up some of the poorly designed dropped kerbs. Try getting into the Lombard street car park via the pedestrian access. The alternative of using the vehicle entrance, apart from being dangerous, often means driving in through a flood. It’s fortunate that the chassis on our scooters is guaranteed for life! All over Lichfield, from the Morrisons roundabout to the Friary car park entrance there are these boneshaking kerbs. Should I mention uneven surfaces, tree roots, areas of large blocks which rattle your teeth, people with their eyes glued to their phones? No, I won’t. I’ll just continue to enjoy living in Lichfield.

Abdul. Salsm
16 days ago

My advice to council think small coffee shop had only 10 or 25 seat inside how they paying 25000 rent. If stop there out side seating.
Others issue delivery goods and all takeaway delivery services. How those are going to be delivered. Many Businesses catering open after 5 pm. How they get delivered there goods I think councillors need to be a Business man. Before they make decisions. My advice will be. Do not put any restrictions all the business owner to running there business. Lichfield are international trade centre for hospitality Business area . I am witnessing where people come from Lichfield all over the world.
Also important is this all surrounding towns business man or worker like to come Lichfield for the night to resting hotel and those people we eating all the restaurants and coffee shops. Lichfield council must be re thinking restrictions before people closing there business and go home . Then will be to late our top 10 city of Lichfield. This my word to council

Gail Doolan
15 days ago

Friends who visit us in Lichfield will always comment on how wonderful the outdoor seating makes our city have a European holiday feel. I can’t agree more its one of the things we love about our city. Let the majority rule.

Local Female 2
15 days ago

This would be the nail in Lichfield’s coffin. Outrageous. Bird street is the nicest street in Lichfield. A bustling atmosphere, similar to a Spanish side street in the summer months! Only an obstacle course for people who are too busy staring down at their phones to look where they’re going! #SaveBirdStreet

15 days ago

Running a council is not the same as running a business or a household for that matter
Thinking it does shows the basic premise of Conservative thinking to be completely flawed.

15 days ago

Address the real issue which is vehicles in the street, not the consequences of vehicles in the street which should be pedestrianised to create a relaxed and inviting environment for all.

Kenny G
14 days ago

Absolute joke by the council here. The outdoor dining scene has been a breath of fresh air and walking along Bird St is reminisent of continental Europe (who make it work regardless of space and access issues) This needs to stay as it makes Lichfield unique and is commented on by visitors. The council are really making a mess of this. I understand the need for access but these plans are going to lead to more empty units and a complete change in the atmosphere of Bird Street and Lichfield.