Public Consultation - Shopping Policies for Lichfield

We hope that many Civic Society members were among the 800 people who are reported to have attended the exhibition of major planning proposals mounted by the District Council in min-December. More than 300 questionnaires were completed by visitors to the exhibition.

Officers of the District Council were present to answer questions and appear to have been kept busy explaining to visitors that the plans on display were applications for consent and NOT proposals from the District Council. The questionnaire was not merely concerned with seeking a gladitorial thumbs up or down to the Chamberlain & Hill site and the Greenhill proposals, but sought the public's opinion about alternative forms of shopping development.

There is an understandable body of opinion hankering after the big store to come into Lichfield, M & S being most frequently named. We understand that the decisions for such stores to be opened are related to population size. It is hoped that those responsible for decision making - those elected by you living in Lichfield and those who have less immediate interest living within Lichfield District - will base their decisions upon Lichfield's needs and not upon some craving for 'growth'. We should be warned by Dr Hugh Freeman in his 1986 address to the Civic Society's AGM as reported in the March newsletter.

"In larger towns people walk faster then they do in smaller ones. In smaller communities there is more human contact and greater opportunities for interaction and, since human relationships are a significant factor of personal happiness, the zealous pursuit of expansion and growth would seemingly have only economic justification."

Those who oppose or advise caution in this regard are not seeking to freeze Lichfield as it is, but to draw attention to the consequences of expansion which will make Lichfield less like itself and more like any one of a hundred other places.

Ivor Mitchell
January 1987