Lichfield District Council and urban design social enterprise Create Streets are asking Lichfield residents to share their thoughts and help shape design ideas for new development proposals on Lichfield’s Birmingham Road site. This is a key area of the city and we want to get it right and the views of the people who live here are vital to the success of any new developments.
Create Streets specialises in working with local communities and residents, using evidence on what is locally liked to create places that are beautiful, sustainable and also popular with residents and neighbours.
In June 2022, Create Streets and Lichfield District Council teamed up to start engagement work with Lichfield residents and stakeholders on new plans for the Birmingham Road site, focusing on how it should look, feel and function.
Lichfield residents were invited to use the Create Communities website to have their say on preferences for building types and to also register their favourite, and least favourite, spots in the city. Create Streets have also been holding community workshops and stakeholder interviews, to gather wide-ranging input from residents on how the site can best meet their aspirations for the city. Feedback from the online platform and the community engagement work will help shape the site’s design.
The most popular places in Lichfield revealed by the Create Communities survey are Bird Street, Minster Pool and The Hub at St Mary’s Place. The least popular places are Birmingham Road, St John Street junction, and Swan Road.
The three most popular building types in Lichfield for the Birmingham Road site are Erasmus Darwin House, with 63 per cent of respondents saying it would be a very appropriate type of building for the site. Second, is Samuel Johnson’s Birthplace, with 55 per cent of respondents stating it would be a very appropriate building type for Birmingham Road site, followed by 20 St John Street, with 52 per cent.
Results from the Create Communities survey and community workshops also revealed several shared talking points from residents on the city’s character and how the Birmingham Road site can best serve Lichfield’s needs.
Residents overwhelmingly prefer Lichfield’s traditional vernacular buildings, predominantly Georgian with red brick, symmetrical façades featuring clearly defined and detailed windows and doors. Discussions and data show that most people want the development strongly to reflect Lichfield’s historic character through a similar palette of materials, patterns and forms.
One major theme among Lichfield residents from all ages (not just young people) was a desire to see more activities for young people and young families. The cinema proposal will support this. However, there was a wider aspiration to do more including support for shops and food shops serving younger people and young families. (It’s worth adding that respondents were also very proud of the independent and small retail offerings in Lichfield.)
Signposting the way to Lichfield’s centre was an important theme. Residents were conscious that it was unclear how to travel from the bus and train stations through the site into the city centre. Residents also expressed hope that the site would be an attractive, exciting and welcoming entrance to Lichfield as you leave Lichfield City Station.
David Milner, deputy director at Create Streets said: ‘At Create Streets we are challenging the current convention of community consultation. We believe that you, the residents who live in Lichfield and know it best, should be involved from the outset. We are delighted that Lichfield District Council has asked us to play this role for the design of new homes, apartments, space for businesses and new streets on the Birmingham Road Site.
‘Considering how beautiful the centre of Lichfield is, there is a generational opportunity to match its rich character, improve the city and create a first impression of Lichfield, as you step off the train, of which we can all be proud.’
Lichfield residents can continue to have their say. Please email email@example.com with your ideas. You can also print out or annotate the map, take a photo of it and return it by email. Lichfield District Council offices are also hosting a space inside where you can leave your feedback and make suggestions for the site.