At a meeting on 10 September, Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet agreed to appoint contractors Coleman & Company to carry out temporary improvements to the Birmingham Road site that will lay the foundations for a longer-term scheme as part of a wider city centre master planning exercise.
The works will make the site safer, more useful and attractive and will include clearing the former police station, bus station kiosk and toilets, and creating extra car and coach parking, replacing the bus shelters and landscaping the area. These plans were approved by the council’s planning committee in July 2019 and are set to get underway later this year. As part of the scheme, temporary toilet facilities will be provided to replace those demolished.
Cabinet also agreed to improve the grey hoardings by commissioning images in keeping with the Visit Lichfield tourism strategy. This will make the hoardings more attractive and will help to promote all that Lichfield District has to offer, encouraging tourism and repeat visits.
Iain Eadie, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Investment, Economic Growth & Tourism, said: “The master planning for the future of Lichfield city is underway, and we will be asking for local views as the plans progress, with the hope that we will have a final plan in 2020.
“To lay the foundations for future development, and make the Birmingham Road site more attractive in the meantime, we’re delighted that we’ve approved the appointment of Coleman & Company, who are experts in demolition and remediation, to deliver the bulk of the works.
“Many people have been in touch with the council about making sure we keep toilet provision for bus station users, and I am pleased we are doing this. The improvements to the bus station and extra coach parking spaces will help us to welcome even more visitors to the city.
“We will be covering the grey hoardings with more than 36 images that celebrate our district – showcasing events, places to visit and all that we have to offer. I hope these will inspire visitors to return and also make local people aware of some of the great things we have in our district that they might not know about.”
The overall costs of the enabling works will be £696,000, which is an increase of £185,000 to the council’s estimated budget.
Councillor Eadie continued: “As with any complex project of this size, estimating costs can be challenging. The quotes for the works were higher than we expected, however, we are keen to deliver a high quality outcome. We have also added a contingency to the budget, and have made additional provision so the scheme takes account of feedback received including through the planning application process and tender evaluation process, and to provide for business rates associated with the former police station building.
“We’re really looking forward to the works starting which is the first step in reshaping our city centre and we will be working with local people, stakeholders and businesses as part of the master planning exercise to make sure our plans meet the needs of the city now and in years to come.”