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Lichfield TV Station Multi-Storey Car Park

January 23, 2020 10:40 AM
By Cllr Richard Rathbone

Crossfield Multi-Storey Car Park - Cllr Richard Rathbone - Stowe Ward

This short paper presents the case for the construction of a multi-storey car park off Crossfield Road near Lichfield Trent Valley railway station. In seeking to explain why a car park is needed at Crossfield and why this particular site has been chosen, the report is not concerned with construction issues, though there is a section dealing with how the project might be financed.

The topics covered are:

  1. The need for parking space

  2. The site

  3. Financing the project.

1. The Need for More Parking Space

  1. Lichfield Trent Valley railway station has experienced a considerable increase in customers over the last ten years as services have improved. The latest figures indicate an annual footfall of over 1.1m. Unfortunately, station facilities have not improved to match increased usage; even now after a whole year under construction the lifts are not working. A new car park has been built but does not match demand, especially on Tuesdays to Thursdays. There is every indication that the number of people using the railway station will increase further. There are plans for an hourly fast service to London and to the North starting in 2022 which will be very popular.

  2. There is at present a shortage of parking space in the neighbourhood surrounding the railway station. The existing car parks consist of 2 controlled by a car parking company on behalf of railway each charging £8.50 a day, one off Oak Way now charging £4 a day and a small park off Crossfield Road which charges £3 a day. That a company can charge £8.50 a day for a parking space and that people are prepared to pay this fee shows that there is a real shortage of parking in the area.

  3. Many railway customers choose to park free in nearby streets, causing problems for those who live or work there. A number parked until recently on Oak Way on the road leading to the new park, though traffic cones have now stopped that practice. Parking by railway users in Britannia Business Park has forced Staffordshire County Council to consider imposing extensive parking restrictions on all the roads. A little further from the station, railway users parking in Valley Lane have blocked entrances to houses and caused such congestion that Midland Classic decided to stop running the 821/822 bus service along that road. This has caused hardship to a number of residents who do not have cars and had relied on the bus to access such things as health services and social events.

  4. Lichfield city centre itself has a problem with private car traffic. The authors of the city centre development plan take the view that Lichfield is not short of parking space. However, the city is growing as more new housing developments are being completed and there is a need to reduce car usage in the city centre and its consequent pollution by improving public transport. Improved local bus services would help here as would a park and ride service from Lichfield Trent Valley station to the city. There is of course a rail service between Trent Valley and City stations, but that currently runs at only 30-minute intervals.

2. The Site

  1. A most suitable site for the proposed multi-storey car park is the former GKN factory in Crossfield Road. This has been closed since 2006 though, according to press reports, organised criminal gangs have seized the opportunity to dump illegal waste inside the building and there was a fire there in 2017. The site is very close to the railway station and relatively close to the A38 from both directions.

  1. The proposed site would allow for the construction of a decent size car park on up to three levels with access to all. In the area between the present factory building and Trent Valley Road, where there is at present a small car park, it is proposed that a bus stop be constructed with a turning circle and shelter, similar to that on Oak Way. This bus stop will replace the present station bus stop which is dangerously positioned on the main road where it joins Station Approach. In addition, it is proposed that a pedestrian footway be constructed linking the new car park to the main railway station building. This will replace the current dangerous route which pedestrians have to take to reach the station buildings, which runs along Station Approach and forces pedestrians into very close proximity with road vehicle traffic.

  2. Lichfield Trent Valley railway station is at present very poorly served by bus transport. The north circular 821/822 service does not go near it and services between Lichfield and Burton-on-Trent which do stop at the station are not frequent. It is proposed that a park-and-ride service be introduced between Lichfield city bus station and Lichfield Trent Valley and that this be extended to travel up Burton Road and then through the new housing development at Streethay along Thompson Road, Yoxall Way and Oak Way, calling at the new, currently unused, bus stop at Oak Way. This service should run every 15 minutes. In addition, the 821/822 route should be extended to include a stop at Trent Valley station bus stop so that people living in the area of Lichfield served by this route can have easy access to the railway station by bus instead of driving there.

3. Financing the Project

  1. HS2 Ltd are offering two funds to local communities and businesses in the area affected by construction work and these might be used to help finance some of the features of this project:

  1. The Community and Environment Fund (CEF) is for communities affected by HS2 construction and is to support local projects that aim to improve their local area (e.g. the multi-storey car park).

  2. The Business and Local Economy Fund (BLEF) provides grants for local businesses, support organisations and local authorities to help maintain business activity in local communities (e.g. developing the bus services).

It is not envisaged that either Network Rail or West Midlands Trains should have any responsibility for the multi-storey car park. Their track record in providing facilities and lack of urgency in their response to demands for improvements does not inspire confidence. The multi-storey car park should be the responsibility of Staffordshire County Council or Lichfield District Council.

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R J Rathbone 15-01-2020

Richard Rathbone crop