Representations on Planning Applications

Ever since our foundation in 1961 officers of the Society have regularly examined Planning Applications placed before Lichfield City Council and subsequently Lichfield District Council and submitted our comments. Some of these comments were reported in the Newsletter and are now reproduced below.

[April 1986]

The timber-framed building hidden behind the Co-op in Bore Street has now been "spot listed". This means that a temporary reprieve has been won and the chance of the proposed development being abandoned has been made possible. Demolition (including taking down and re-erecting elsewhere) of a listed building requires the approval of the Secretary of State for the Environment. Dare we hope that the first floor elevation of the Co-op can be retained - the ground floor restored to greater harmony, and that the 17th century structure will will be revealed and left where it is? A survey has shown that it has suffered the ravages of time but we hope this will not be the means of justifying its destruction.

[November 1987]

a. Of the seven proposals commented upon by the Society during October three relate to external illumination. The Estate Agents, Parkers in Market Street and Dixons in Bore Street, proposed to install lamps thought to be both inappropriate and intrusive into the character of the Conservation Area. The Eastern Eye Restaurant in Bird Street seek permission for "constant" floodlighting, which the Society also opposes. Bird Street already has an example of out-of-scale on the opposite side of the road. Perhaps we should organise an "unkindly light" competition!

b. The proposal to replace the Kingdom Hall in Lombard Street with an equally undistinguished building has been widely criticised as being quite out of keeping with the Conservation Area.

[April 1989]

Your representatives have commented upon a number of recent planning applications:

a. Change of use of Cranmore Court, Walsall Road, a large Edwardian building, to office accommodation. The Society recommends that this should remain as a dwelling in what is a residential area.

b. Elderly persons accommodation, Valley Lane / Hobs Road. Whilst commending the scale of the building our comments express regret at the absence of visitors bedrooms and a communal room. In view of the increasing provision of this type of accommodation in Lichfield the Society fells that the District Council, the developer in this instance, should be providing for younger people within whose financial range there is so little housing available.

c. Lichfield Rugby Club, Spectator Stand. The Society has suggested that the proposed structure should be painted a grey-green colour and that a screen of trees should be planted to reduce its visual impact.

d. No. 11, Bird Street (currently Graham's Cycles). The Society applauds the much needed restoration of this building, reinstating the frontage line and providing a pleasing shop front. According to Pevsner "it has a domed room with shell mosaic". (This sounds like another of Lichfield's treasures [Ed].)

e. Three applications for development in the Sandford Street, Lower Sandford Street area include Offices, Flats for the elderly, further Offices a Workshop and Showroom. These constitute a large development causing the Society to feel that a model is required in order to assess the visual impact. We warmly welcome the provision of basement car parking but again advocate the provision of mixed-age accommodation. The former Davenport building has timber framed elements which we feel should be retained.

[April 1990]

During the past month few significant applications have been examined:

a. The railway bridge spanning St John Street is to be cleaned and the heraldic shields repainted. The Society questioned the wisdom of shot blasting features already somewhat eroded and has expressed the hope that the colours to be used will be authentic as far as possible.

b. A house in Beacon Street is proposed to become tourist accommodation which would involve the front garden becoming parking space for three cars. Our comments have suggested that to protect neighbours from unwelcome intrusion, overnight parking might be arranged with the nearby Safeways store.

c. A proposed sign, a replacement at 15-17 St John Street, is considered to be too large.

d. The installation of a shop window at 67 Tamworth Street is regarded as unnecessary for a "take away" business when the original domestic window could be retained. A proposed replacement door is also considered to be out of keeping with the building.

[February 1991]

"Promise, large promise, is the soul of advertisement". Had Samuel Johnson been a member of the Civic Society today he would have had good cause to use the word "large".

a. No less than four applications from British Rail, currently lodged with the District Council, refer to signs - massive hoardings, allegedly intended to assist in the control of rail fares. Cynics might suggest that it is more likely to be part of a larger strategy - a precursor to privatisation. Those who are more generous would applaud the reduction in fares while suggesting that further disfigurement of the streetscape is too high a price to pay. Rather than permit these signs at Cappers Lane Railway Bridge, Trent Valley Station and two at Birmingham Road, the removal of all such dominant and intrusive signs would do much to improve the look of Lichfield.

b. Proposals relating to Hiskins Garage in Upper St John Street include parking provision at the rear of the premises. Changes to the frontage are felt to be but little improvement on what is there already.

c. The Society has given a warm welcome to the conversion of No. 24 Beacon Street into flats, with the proviso that the frontage and fenestration should be sensitively detailed.