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Recent Articles

  • Lichfield local elections 2019 (Lichfield Liberal Democrats)
    Article: Jan 31, 2020
    By Cllr Paul Ray

    Lichfield Local Plan Preferred Options - Lib Dems

    Lichfield is a great city to live in. It should also be a great city to work in. Unfortunately, so many Lichfield and Burntwood residents must commute out of the area each day to go to work. With its highly skilled workforce, strong road and rail connections to the rest of the country and available land for development, the Lichfield area can provide an excellent location for businesses looking for a site in the Midlands.

  • Article: Jan 26, 2020
    By Cllr Paul Ray

    City Centre Masterplan Consultation - Comments from the Lichfield Liberal Democrats
    Overall our view is that the draft Masterplan is a good document which presents exciting and positive plans for the future of Lichfield city centre.
    Strongly positive aspects
    1. The concept of a Green city (para 2.49).
    2. Bird Street car park/Bird Street Courtyard/Minster Walk concept (paras 3.21 onwards)
    This has obviously been previously proposed and we do support it but LCC and LDC will need to sell this to residents and stakeholder groups because Bird Street car park is a very contentious local issue.
    So we would support the proposed redevelopment of Bird Street car park as referred to in the draft Masterplan but on the basis that:
    (i) as proposed by the draft Masterplan, some car parking is retained at Bird Street car park;
    (ii) the proposed new multi storey car park is built before the capacity at Bird Street car park is reduced;
    (iii) electronic signage boards are introduced into Lichfield centre indicating to the public which car parks are "full" and "have spaces" ie as with many other centres. The LDC data apparently shows that there is sufficient car parking in Lichfield even if some parking spaces at the Bird Street car park were given up for the Bird Street Courtyard development; and
    (iv) further consideration is given to the car parking arrangements for those attending events at the Cathedral. The Bird Street car park is used heavily when the Cathedral has an event on and a large number of the attendees of such events are elderly who can only walk short distances. The Masterplan will ensure that there is sufficient car parking across the city but, for the reason given above, there is also a need to ensure that there is sufficient car parking within a short walking distance of the Cathedral.
    3. Plans for the access from Lichfield City station (Station Square) to the centre of the Southern Gateway Quarter ie on the Birmingham Road Site (BRS) (Paras 2.70 and 3.2 - 3.12). However please see our comment at H (i) below.
    Aspects that we do not support or need further consideration
    A. Timing
    So that there is public confidence in this Masterplan, it is very important that there is some progress onsite at the BRS in 2020. The Masterplan envisages that the residential element will be the first part of the BRS development. We support that subject to the comments at B below.
    B. Affordable Housing
    The Masterplan needs to emphasise much more than it does, the need for affordable housing in Lichfield. Also as the residential element of the BRS development is likely to be the first element that is built, it is in our view very important that these units are for all residents - and not just more high-end/retirement units. If that was the case then we fear that public confidence in the overall BRS scheme and Masterplan would be negatively impacted (paras 2.9 and 2.38).
    C. Leisure
    The Masterplan fails to address the replacement of the Friary Leisure Centre. If this facility is not envisaged as a city centre project, will it live on the outskirts of the city, which will make it less accessible by residents of surrounding villages who use public transport?
    We have previously proposed a leisure centre (gym and medium-sized pool) on the BRS. The consultants, DLA, have said that they have not proposed this because it would take up a large percentage of the BRS, that sites outside the city centre are better suited and there its space for a gym at the BRS. This needs further consideration and as part of the Local Plan consultation there needs to be sites identified for the new leisure centre that LDC have committed to build by 5 years' time. We have fed that point into that consultation.
    D. Food & Beverage offering
    The Masterplan needs more emphasis on improving family-led food and beverage. There are plenty of bars and restaurants for the middle-aged in Lichfield but there is a distinct lack of affordable restaurants aimed at families (para 2.7).
    E. Office space in the Southern Gateway Quarter
    This needs to be flexible enough to house a large employer as an alternative to a number of smaller businesses (paras 2.15 and 3.5).
    F. Transport - connectivity between Lichfield City and Lichfield Trent Valley stations. This is an important issue and is just not dealt with by the Masterplan (para 2.21).
    G Transport - inadequate car parking at Lichfield Trent Valley station
    Para 4.4 (and others) - consideration should be given to providing increased (multi-level) parking facilities at Trent Valley Station, for both commuters from Lichfield, and for visitors, and liaison with the train service operators to provide a combined parking/rail ticket to allow car-free access to the city centre. Money might be made available from the HS2 project for such a scheme.
    H. Transport - improvements to Lichfield City train station
    (i) The Masterplan doesn't mention updating Lichfield City Station itself in keeping with the wider development. That would probably be for Network Rail but we think it is important to mention as part of the Masterplan. The facilities at the station are very poor considering that we are trying to raise the profile of Lichfield as a tourist destination. There should surely be a station cafe / toilets / cash point etc.
    (ii) We strongly agree that there needs to be development of the area immediately outside Lichfield City train Station. The proposal is a new pedestrian crossing(s) rather than an underpass / overpass. We appreciate that the latter would add development cost but it would be a real positive to have pedestrian access which did not depend upon stopping the traffic.
    I. Transport - tourism
    Paras 2.7 and 2.8 - attracting visitors at weekends and evenings from a wider catchment area will require better public transport facilities at these times.
    J. Tourism - hotel facilities
    Para 2.14 - though mention is made of the National Arboretum, Lichfield would be an obvious place for visitors to this facility to stay overnight. Is there/will there be sufficient accommodation within the city centre for such visitors? What class of hotel is proposed for the BRS?
    K. New development to be sympathetic with Lichfield's heritage and architecture
    Paras 2.85 and 4.18 - part of Lichfield centre's charm is formed by the many pedestrian "snickets" between buildings. New developments should incorporate such pathways to encourage exploration on foot by visitors to the city (and for the convenience of residents).
    Para 2.10 - the proposed Angel Croft development would provide an excellent pedestrian pathway from the Cathedral Quarter to Beacon Park. We would support this development being given permission to proceed due to the many advantages to this project and would propose that it is included in the Masterplan.
    Cllr Paul Ray on behalf of the Lib Dem councillors on Lichfield District and City Councils
    19 January 2020

  • RJR report LTV
    Article: Jan 25, 2020
    By Cllr Richard Rathbone

    Lichfield Local Bus Services - A New Approach

    A number of trends have come together in Lichfield recently which make local bus transport an urgent topic. On the one hand Staffordshire County Council (SCC) seem to want to cut bus services in order, they argue, to save money. On the other, much more attention is being paid nationally to the challenges of climate change, of pollution, and of finding ways to create a carbon-neutral environment. Traffic congestion in our towns and cities is no longer just a transport issue; it also raises questions about the effects all these vehicles are having on our health. Furthermore, in Lichfield we are engaged in a far-reaching and essential scheme of new housing developments. More houses mean more cars on the road, more congestion and more pollution. This report is about providing an improved and expanded local bus service with the aim of persuading residents of Lichfield to take the bus rather than the car for those trips to the city centre.

  • Richard Rathbone crop
    Article: Jan 23, 2020
    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.

  • Paul Ray & Team Campaigning at Lichfield City Station
    Article: Dec 12, 2019

    Voters in Lichfield and Burntwood will have trust and Brexit high on their General Election agenda, according to the Liberal Democrats candidate Paul Ray.

    Only the Liberal Democrats could be trusted to bring the country back from the brink of Brexit:

    "This election is about two main issues - Brexit and who can you trust.

    "The Liberal Democrats position on Brexit is crystal clear. We believe Remain is best for Britain.

    "The Conservatives want to lead us over the cliff of an economic disaster - as the second largest exporting region in the UK, Brexit will hit us very hard here.

    Labour is just unable to make up its mind on Brexit. You cannot be sure where Labour stand on Brexit. You can with the Lib Dems."

    Liberal Democrat candidate Paul Ray
  • Lichfield Hustings 2019
    Article: Dec 10, 2019

    Wade Street Lichfield Church was full, upstairs and down, and even the hall next door looked busy with live feed to a large TV there.

    Quite heated for Lichfield I'd say!

    Lots of support for Paul and lots of challenge for Fabricant - with Fabricant even suggesting that some of the audience had been imported from outside the area just to heckle him!

  • Stop School Cuts
    Article: Dec 2, 2019

    LIB DEMS PLEDGE PROPER FUNDING FOR STRUGGLING LOCAL SCHOOLS AND HALT TO 'BRUTAL' CONSERVATIVE EDUCATION CUTS

    Paul Ray has pledged that his party will reverse 'brutal' Conservative education cuts and make sure local schools get the funding they desperately need.

    "Our schools are struggling to get by or provide even the basics for pupils due to the cuts. The Liberal Democrats are demanding better for our schools with an extra spend of £10billion each year and the recruitment of an extra 20,000 teachers. It should be a given that our schools have the funding they need to give our children the best start in life. Incredibly, that's not the case.

  • Paul Ray 2019
    Article: Nov 26, 2019

    So says Paul Ray Lib Dem General Election candidate

    "The Liberal Democrats' position on Brexit is crystal clear. We are the strongest party of Remain. The Conservatives want to lead us over the Brexit cliff. That brings economic disaster with massive job losses, worsening of the staffing crisis in the NHS and social care since these sectors are so reliant on EU workers, the break-up of the UK….

  • Article: Nov 20, 2019

    THE ENVIRONMENT IS MAJOR ISSUE IN THE GENERAL ELECTION - AND LIB DEMS HAVE THE RIGHT POLICIES

    Paul Ray, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Lichfield & Burntwood has said "The environment is a major issue that will decide this general election and the Lib Dems have the policies to tackle the climate emergency. These include:

  • Paul Ray & team Campaigning in Burntwood
    Article: Nov 16, 2019

    Off to a flying start - Paul Ray the Liberal Democrat candidate for Lichfield and Burntwood is pictured with some of the 10 strong team who were there to support him and handing out our newly printed leaflets.