Open Forum Report - 10th December 1987

The last meeting of the old year was the Open Forum held on Thursday 10th December. Although not as well attended as we would have hoped, the meeting provided a valuable opportunity for a wide range of topics to be discussed. Our Vice-Chairman, Alan Thompson, exercised sensitive control; giving adequate time for ideas to be developed, but not exhausted, and making a significant contribution himself when the subject of Planning was under discussion. Litter in the City, the moving of the Library to the College, pressure within the conurbation, local tourism, access to information, the Civic Society and the younger generation, as well as the public image of the Society were all productively explored.

The committee takes serious note of members' views and is actively engaged in pursuing ways in which the litter problem might be reduced.

Pressure from population growth and the possible violation of the greenbelt and / or loss of our open spaces presented a somewhat depressing scenario for the future, likely to be deepened with the advent of the Birmingham Northern Relief Road. It was hoped that a policy of restraint could be pursued in order to preserve Lichfield; not as a museum but as the place which most of its present population have chosen for its essential character. The alleged benefits from attracting more tourists were seen by some to be not entirely without disadvantage. It was suggested that we should be aware of the dangers of self-conciously creating tourist attractions; for there is evidence that many attractive communities have, in so doing, lost that which made them so!

The Society's image of being for ever 'opposed' was thought by many to be unfounded. Silence upon controversial issues is tantamount to agreement; views weakly expressed are weakly received. The many instances of support for the local authority can be found in our submissions and in past editions of the Newsletter. Perhaps on occasions we have raised only two cheers when three might have been more generous; but our purpose is not to be loved but to be honest and providing we are courteous and not too self-indulgent in our criticism we shall merit the attention with which our views should be heard. The positive activities of the Society receive scant publicity.

Ivor Mitchell
December 1987