Planning Application No: 17/00772/OUTM - Lichfield Health and Fitness Club, Rotten Row.
Response from Lichfield Civic Society
The Society believes that the application in its present form is unsuitable for what is very unusual attenuated, spade shaped, site. It is clearly a case of overdevelopment on the oddest of sites. Its access is at a particularly difficult junction, being on a major route from the Boley Park estate to Lichfield City Centre, with an awkwardly placed railway bridge that creates blind viewpoints, particularly when exiting from the application site.
In particular the inclusion of the six apartments midway along the exit seems very cramped and inappropriate in its placing, closely backing on to the perimeter wall of St. Michael's churchyard and at a point where there are no effective mature trees shielding them when viewed from the north. This section of the application should be abandoned.
The existing building was of course built before the existence of planning regulations.
The exit sight-lines pose a major problem.
The Society has an ongoing concern regarding the hazards of the access of the site, particularly on exit. Traffic from the north/City is invisible up to the very last moment though it is paradoxically better at night because of the headlight factor. The Society feels strongly that it is essential a mirror be sited at a suitable place to warn outgoing vehicles of traffic coming from the City and is indeed surprised at its historic absence. The change of use will also change the daily traffic flow. At present the flow must be distributed throughout the day if rather unevenly, but the development will tend to bunch traffic into workday mornings and evenings, as it is presumed the purchasers will be in employment rather than retired. Their access will be in conflict with equally busy use by commuters accessing Station Road for the City Station and the City Centre. Many cars with children on board will also be accessing the Cherry Orchard primary school complex at similar times during mornings and afternoons. The Society feels that a narrow rubber road hump should be installed in the driveway to remind car drivers to slow down as they are about to cross a public pavement where school children on foot could well be crossing the exit.
Overall even the reduced amended plan would seem excessive to the site and a more modest solution should be sought.