Update - Festival Gardens/Friary Junction Consultation

Published: 07 April 2021

Both Staffordshire County Council and Lichfield City Council would like to thank all residents who have taken the time to respond to the recent Festival Gardens/Friary Junction consultation.

The proposal was for an area of Festival Gardens (approximately 253 m2) to be transferred from the City Council to the County Council in order to facilitate junction improvements, which included a segregated left turn lane and associated visibility splay.

At its March meeting, the City Council expressed concern as to the appropriateness of the proposals but wished to discuss the matter further with Staffordshire County Council and consult with local residents prior to any final decision being made.

City Councillors and County Council colleagues discussed the proposal in detail at a productive meeting on 1 April, but concerns expressed previously by City Councillors remained unresolved. Meanwhile, the public consultation generated over 280 responses with almost all being against the proposal. In addition, a petition against the proposals that was publicised locally attracted in excess of 3,000 signatures. Both Councils are also aware of the numerous comments on social media, also virtually unanimously opposed to the proposal. It is clear that the residents of the City believe the benefits of the proposal do not outweigh the negative consequences and both Councils recognise the strength of feeling expressed.

Following careful consideration of the consultation responses and the outcomes of the meeting with City Councillors on 1 April, Staffordshire County Council has decided to formally withdraw, with immediate effect, its request to acquire an area of the Festival Gardens. As a result, the County Council proposals will not be progressed, and the City Council will therefore not consider the matter further at its next meeting.

Should they have proceeded, the junction improvements would have been funded by the developer of the St John’s Grange site. Staffordshire County Council will now discuss alternative developer-funded improvements, by improving roads, cycleways and pedestrian walkways that do not involve any land transfers.

Once again, both County and City Councils would like to thank residents for their responses to the consultation exercise, and confirm that no part of the Festival Gardens are now subject to any potential transfer from City Council ownership.