Stowe Fields

Few members of the Civic Society will not have been approached by non-members who have been roused at the prospect of Stowe Fields becoming a development site. The Lichfield Mercury is to be congratulated for its front page treatment of the revelation that the District Council "is exploring the possibility of whether the site is capable in terms of retailing". The Council document quoted in the report on the 14th March 1986 states that this "appears to be the only site capable of development to meet the objectives of improving the overall attraction of the town centre through successful integration with existing shopping streets".

This surely indicates that someone in the District Council believes that such development is acceptable and that the people of Lichfield are prepared to accept the "necessity" of losing not only yet another open space but one of the most important of the few remaining.

There is no evidence to show that a major multiple retailer of the size of Marks and Spencer is panting at our boundary to get a foothold in the City. Eight miles from Tamworth, nine miles from Sutton, ten miles from Walsall and thirteen miles from Burton, Lichfield's attraction to the wider community must lie in its difference from these centres, for their larger populations and their established supermarkets and department stores have not only already determined their own retail dimension but Lichfield's as well.

We should not allow ourselves to be lulled by the statements that more exploration is in progress because it also means that the arguments are being assembled. There is no doubt that there are members of the District Council who share our views regarding the retention of open spaces and the preservation of the essential character of Lichfield. YOU can reinforce these views and possibly influence the views of those councillors who do not see that Lichfield is progressively becoming 'Anytown'. Please write to your District Councillors and a few others as well if you have time. Not only are the members of the Council stewards of the community, we also are custodians of the heritage and responsible for what we pass on to future generations. Now is the time for each one of us to act.

Ivor Mitchell
April, 1986