Safer public places

Lichfield District Council has put together a local policy for how it will promote safer urban centres and green spaces as the country starts emerging from lockdown.

The safer urban centres and green spaces policy sets out how the council, working in partnership, will help make public places as safe as possible.

This includes ten specific measures the council will put in place, such as increasing signage to promote social distancing guidance, and increasing the cleaning of public facilities, including toilets, street furniture and car park pay and display machines. There will also be a queueing system at any toilets and cafés in district council-managed parks.

The policy encourages business owners to adopt measures to enable people to safely access business premises, and the use of temporary markings on the ground to help traders set up social distancing separation.

It also sets out that the council will work with private landlords of commercial and retail properties to put suitable safeguards for tenants, customers and staff in place.

As well as promoting where cycle racks are located across the district, the policy encourages people to pay for parking at the council’s car parks using the pay by phone facility where possible. It also restricts access to public lifts to two people at a time, or family groups if they include children.

In the policy, the council confirms it will work with partners, including Lichfield City Council, Burntwood Town Council and Staffordshire County Council, to consider ways to enable people to access key centres and green spaces and move safely around these locations maintaining social distancing.

Councillor Iain Eadie, Cabinet Member for Investment, Economic Growth & Tourism, said: “For everyone emerging from lockdown it is going to be a learning process. We might not get everything right first time and as things unfold, we might need to change what we all do.

“Our policy approach just now is based on trusting people to follow the social distancing guidance and highlighting the safeguards that need to be in place to protect our residents, visitors and businesses. If we need to bring in stewarding, one way flows to safeguard people navigating around our town and city centres, or, taking steps to avoid any pinch points, we will do that. We will do whatever it takes to make sure our district is safe and COVID-19 secure.

“Partnership working is going to be key. We are already talking with Three Spires about their plans and with the Lichfield BID about additional signage, hand sanitisers and a range of other measures to keep shoppers safe. We are looking at opening our own public toilets for longer, whilst also highlighting where cycle racks are located for those who want to cycle or walk into our shopping centres.

“Being able to trust people to do the right thing means I want to ask anyone venturing out to our parks and centres to remember to keep two metres apart from anyone who is not from the same household.  If you are meeting up with someone from outside your own household, please remember it is with just one other person. You should not be meeting up in groups regardless of age. To keep safe it is sensible to wash your hands before and after going out.

“We know lockdown has been hard for an awful lot of people.  With the sun shining people want to go out and see friends and family.  We are not at that point yet, so if everyone can keep following the social distancing guidance, we can help protect each other and look forward to a time when we can open the city, town and village centres up fully.”

The safer urban centres and green spaces policy is available online at www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/saferpublicspaces. 

Media enquiries

 Esther Epstein, Press & Communications Officer, Lichfield District Council

T: 01543 308778 E: esther.epstein@lichfielddc.gov.uk

The policy sets out that the district council will: 

  1. Provide increased signage to help inform social distancing measures and reduce the risk of transmission of the virus.
  2. Put in place enhanced and additional cleaning regimes for public toilets, street furniture and other community facilities.
  3. Encourage people seeking to use our car parks to use the pay by phone payment method.
  4. Restrict the number of people who can access public lifts at any one time to two people (or a family group where it includes children).
  5. Promote the use of cycle racks across Lichfield city and elsewhere in the district.
  6. Permit the use of temporary markings on the ground including within Lichfield city to help demarcate social distancing separations.
  7. Encourage business owners to adopt suitable measures to enable people safely to access business premises.
  8. Work with private landlords of commercial/retail property to put in place suitable safeguards for customers and staff.
  9. Work with partners such as Lichfield City Council, Burntwood Town Council and Staffordshire County Council to consider ways to enable people to access key centres and green spaces and move safely around these locations maintaining social distancing.
  10. Put in place queueing systems at toilets and cafés serving our parks to maintain a safe environment.

Council urges caution over Bank Holiday weekend

With the weather forecast looking good, Lichfield District Council is urging its residents to continue to social distance ahead of the May Bank Holiday weekend.

With beautiful parks and open spaces across the district, the council is keen to remind residents that it is vital to keep following the government guidelines on social distancing when out and about.

The guidelines include:

  • Keeping two metres apart from others at all times, unless they are part of your household
  • Maintaining good hand hygiene, including washing your hands before and after going out and using hand gel
  • Exercising outdoors as often as you wish – following social distancing guidelines
  • Only meeting one other person from a different household outdoors at a time – following social distancing guidelines
  • Staying at home as much as possible, and not leaving your home if someone in your household has symptoms

Councillor Liz Little, Cabinet Member for Recycling & Leisure, said: “I know everyone will be looking forward to the long weekend, and we are so lucky to have such wonderful green spaces across the district, including Beacon Park, Fradley Junction, Chasewater Country Park and many more. I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend and continues following the social distancing measures. Together we can help stop the spread of coronavirus.”

The district’s playgrounds, outdoor gyms and skate parks remain closed for the time being, but parks and open spaces are open for everyone to enjoy, following the government guidelines.

To find out more about how the council is working to make urban centres and outdoor spaces safer, visit www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/saferpublicspaces.

Media enquiries

 Esther Epstein, Press & Communications Officer, Lichfield District Council

T: 01543 308778 E: esther.epstein@lichfielddc.gov.uk

Fly-tipping in Comberford

A dozen tyres have been found this morning at Manor Lane, Comberford. Cllr Moore alerted the Parish Council and a report has been made to Lichfield District Council.

Lichfield District Council aim to investigate fly-tipped items that are dumped on district council or adopted highway land by the next working day.

Please be aware that it may take longer to remove the dumped waste depending on the type of waste and the equipment or staff required to remove it.

They are only responsible for clearing up fly-tipped items on district council and adopted highway land – and will not remove rubbish that is found/reported to be dumped on private land. This is the responsibility of the landowner.

Where possible they will also take enforcement action and fine people who fly tip in the district, to help prevent it from happening again.

If you have any information that could help to identify those responsible, or if any new information comes to light, please let Lichfield District Council know by calling 01543 308000 quoting reference: FTC000859

Two other local instances of large numbers of tyres being fly-tipped have happened in recent weeks in Amington (50 tyres) and Kingsbury (140 tyres.) The Parish Council have made the District Council aware of this in the hope they may carry out a joint investigation with Tamworth Borough Council and North Warwickshire Borough Council to catch the culprit/s.

Staffordshire Dignity in Care Awards update

People across Staffordshire are being invited to nominate carers, work colleagues, young people, friends and family members for a prestigious award. The Staffordshire Dignity in Care Awards, now in their 6th year, recognises groups and individuals who care for or support the most vulnerable of us, and who treat everyone with dignity and compassion.

The County Council will welcome nominations from anyone who receives support and care in Staffordshire, their families, friends, or those who provide support and care to Staffordshire citizens.

Nominations have been open since National Dignity Day (1st February) and will remain open for members of the public until 31st July. If you know someone going above and beyond in their care for others, including this extremely challenging period, we would love to hear from you and look forward to hearing about the difference they have been making to people’s lives.

The current Covid-19 pandemic has, inevitably, resulted in some changes to the Awards this year and led to the postponement of the awards ceremony that was originally due to be held in July; it is hoped to rearrange this for the earliest opportunity. In the meantime, all nominations the County Council has received so far will remain active until the closing date.

How do I nominate?

Please use the nomination form to nominate someone for a Dignity Award – it’s quick and easy to do. If you have any questions, or you would prefer to make a nomination in a different format, please contact Alison Hasdell at alison.hasdell@staffordshire.gov.uk or  dignity@staffordshire.gov.uk

Get nominating for the Staffordshire Dignity in Care awards 2020

District Doodles art competition launches

Children from across the district are invited to put their artistic skills to the test and take part in Visit Lichfield’s District Doodles competition.

 

Lichfield District Council’s visitor economy service, Visit Lichfield, is today (11 May 2020) launching a competition for children to take part in this month.

It will see children downloading a template to fill with a drawing, painting or collage of a district attraction they are looking forward to visiting after lockdown restrictions are eased.

There are three age categories to enter, including up to 5 years of age, between 6 and 10 years, and between 11 and 15 years. Older teens and adults can take part as well, just for fun.

The entries will be judged by a panel of three, including Councillor Iain Eadie, Peter Walker, artist in residence at Lichfield Cathedral, and Mandy Billington, an artist whose illustrations of Lichfield appear on mugs sold at Lichfield’s visitor information centre.

Together, they will choose a winner in each age category whose artwork will be featured in The Hub at St Mary’s Letters from Lockdown exhibition, which is planned to take place following lockdown. The three winners will also be given a family ticket to a choice of Visit Lichfield tours, when they start running again.

Councillor Iain Eadie, Cabinet Member for Investment, Economic Growth & Tourism, said: “Children have been brilliant at drawing, painting and making rainbows to support the NHS and key workers during the lock down. I know it has meant a great deal to all who have seen the pictures.

“Most likely the gradual easing of the lockdown is going to mean we will be spending our summer at home this year, hopefully able to safely visit some of the wonderful attractions and countryside in our district. From Lichfield Cathedral and the Burntwood miner with Scamp, to the barges at Fradley Junction and the many memorials at the National Memorial Arboretum, our district is full of iconic attractions.

“If we can get our children drawing and painting again it will be fabulous to see all the entries and what their favourite attractions are.

“Although the competition is for children and young people, everyone can have a go at District Doodles as we’d love to see your artwork!”

To find out more, including how to download the template and submit your entry, go to www.visitlichfield.co.uk/districtdoodles. The closing date to enter is by midnight on 30 May 2020.

Media enquiries

Esther Epstein, Press & Communications Officer, Lichfield District Council

T: 01543 308778 E: esther.epstein@lichfielddc.gov.uk

NHS – Urgent dental care services across the Midlands

Background

 Since social distancing measures for Covid-19 and restrictions on daily activity were introduced, all non-urgent “face to face” dental activity at NHS practices has stopped. Most practices are offering telephone or video-link consultations and can prescribe pain killers and antibiotics if clinically needed.

In light of the public health control measures and in recognition of the difficulties that dental practices face, including continuing concerns about patient and staff safety, NHS England and NHS Improvement has made a number of immediate changes to the delivery and operation of our dental services in the Midlands.

Developing the local urgent dental care system

Across every NHS region local Urgent Dental Centres (UDCs) are being created to provide care for people with urgent and emergency dental problems, including:

  1. Those who are possible or confirmed Covid-19 patients, including patients with symptoms, or those living in their household
  2. Those who are ‘shielded’, as being at most-significant risk from Covid-19
  3. Those who are vulnerable or at increased risk from Covid-19
  4. Any other people who do not fit one of the above categories

The centres have been developed to allow appropriate separation and treatment of patients in these categories.

Each patient will be assessed and triaged depending on a number of factors, and their care managed accordingly. Patients will only be seen after a referral via the triage system.

Locations of urgent dental centres

UDCs are open at 74 locations across the Midlands region to provide services for the small number of people who need to be seen face to face for dental treatment.

Centres are now open in all Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) areas as below to ensure that we can offer a safe environment for symptomatic, shielded or vulnerable patients and patients without symptoms.

  1. Derbyshire
  2. Lincolnshire
  3. Nottinghamshire
  4. Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland
  5. Northamptonshire
  6. Staffordshire
  7. Shropshire and Telford and the Wrekin
  8. Black Country
  9. Birmingham and Solihull
  10. Coventry and Warwickshire
  11. Herefordshire and Worcestershire

The precise UDC locations will not be publicised, as these are accessible by referral only; drop-ins are not permitted.

How will triage work?

Telephone triage will be used to decide which care is needed, depending on symptoms and level of pain. Those involved in dental led clinical triage have a detailed operating procedure to help them allocate different dental conditions to the correct care.

How do patients access these urgent centres?

People should contact their normal dental practice by phone or contact NHS 111 out of hours. Most NHS dental surgeries will be accessible by phone, even though their doors are shut, and are offering telephone or video-link consultations. They will be able to prescribe pain killers and antibiotics where clinically required. The few patients in need of urgent treatment will be referred to a UDC and once the referral is received the patient will be contacted directly by the service to arrange an appointment if this is needed.

This system also helps manage the flow to centres and avoid queues (in line with social- distancing measures).

People seeking help with dental problems should not attempt to visit A&E departments or GP surgeries for dental care as they will then not be redirected back to a local dentist.

For further details on local arrangements please see the separate STP attachment.

We hope you appreciate that these arrangements have been made at pace to ensure that patients have access to a patient-centred service for the duration of the pandemic. NHS England and NHS Improvement will monitor closely to check these meet the needs of the local population and will take any learning from the Covid-19 incident to help inform the future design, access, resilience and sustainability of dental services.

ACCESSING DENTAL SERVICES IN STAFFORDSHIRE
In line with national guidance issued in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, dental practices in Staffordshire are currently closed for routine “face to face” dental appointments.

People seeking help with dental problems should not visit local dental practices in person but instead contact their usual practice by phone, between the hours of 9am -5pm, Monday to Friday, for information for advice on alternative arrangements in place.  Outside normal hours or if a patient does not have a dentist, they should contact NHS 111.

All local practices are offering telephone or video-link consultations and can prescribe pain killers and antibiotics if needed. The practices will triage patients and be able to directly refer those in need of urgent face to face treatment to an Urgent Dental Care site where they can be seen.

People seeking help should not visit A&E departments or GP surgeries for dental care.

There are currently five operational urgent dental centres (UDCs) across Staffordshire for patients who are showing no Covid-19 symptoms. More local sites will be opened in the future according to demand.

For safety, a separate site is operational in Staffordshire that is designated for patients who are possible or confirmed COVID-19 patients, including patients with symptoms, or those living in their household.

There are also a further three specialist sites operational across Staffordshire that will treat shielded patients.  The Community Dental Service are continuing to provide urgent care to many of the shielded patients already using their service.

No patient walk in services are permitted as we must reduce the risk to the dental profession.

It is very important for their own safety that patients are clear about whether they have a temperature, are symptomatic, self-isolating or in a vulnerable or shielded group.

We will continue to monitor activity going to these UDCs and should further centres be required due to patient need, this will be addressed by NHS England and NHS Improvement.

If you have any local intelligence of this process not being followed please contact the dental team via  ENGLAND.dentalcontractswm@nhs.net whom can investigate and resolve any issues.

 

Lichfield District to mark VE Day 75 from home

Attractions across Lichfield District will be commemorating the 75th anniversary of VE Day virtually on Friday 8 May 2020.

While many planned events have had to be scaled back due to the ongoing spread of the coronavirus, the district is marking the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe by adapting plans to fit lockdown guidelines.

Lichfield Cathedral is joining cathedrals across the country with the Big Picnic for Hope, a project designed to remember heroes of the past and present.

The Big Picnic for Hope is an opportunity for households to have a picnic indoors or in their gardens, while connecting virtually with family and friends.

It gives the nation a unique way to remember heroes who have kept the country safe in the past and those on the new home front, including key workers – from carers, delivery personnel, grocery workers and public transport workers to medical researchers and frontline NHS staff.

The National Memorial Arboretum is also running a range of digital initiatives to mark VE Day 75. For example, its planned Tea for II exhibition has been adapted so people can enjoy it online instead.

Inspired by the 75th anniversary of VE Day, it explores the quintessentially British nature of tea and how these landmark occasions were marked at home and abroad.

The arboretum has also put together VE Day activity packs for children and adults as well as VE Day 75 anniversary tours of the arboretum’s famous memorials that can be downloaded from its website.

Councillor Iain Eadie, Cabinet Member for Investment, Economic Growth & Tourism, said: “It’s important that we have an opportunity to thank the Second World War generation and to remember the great sacrifices they made.

“From having a picnic to going on a virtual tour of the Tea for II exhibition, the revised plans will enable us to mark this historic date and to feel part of a wider community, despite taking part in the commemorations from home.”

To find out more, go to www.visitlichfield.co.uk/veday75.

Media enquiries

 Esther Epstein, Press & Communications Officer, Lichfield District Council

T: 01543 308778 E: esther.epstein@lichfielddc.gov.uk

 About

8 May 2020 marks 75 years since VE (Victory in Europe) Day when the Second World War came to an end in Europe.

The long anticipated news resulted in spontaneous celebrations breaking out across the nation. A national holiday was declared and people from all walks of life came together to mark the moment.

The war in the East did not end until 15 August 1945, when Japan surrendered. The day was celebrated across the world as Victory over Japan (VJ Day).

Nationally

The official commemorations will begin at 11am with a national moment of remembrance and a two minute silence.

Her Majesty The Queen will send a message to the nation at 9pm on BBC One, the exact moment her father, King George VI, gave a radio address in 1945.

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales will read an extract from King George VI’s diary from 8 May 1945 which describes the day, including The Royal Family’s iconic Buckingham Palace balcony appearances.

Members of The Royal Family, the Prime Minister and the Culture Secretary will take part in a series of video calls with Second World War veterans and those who served on the Home Front. The First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford will also host calls with veterans in Wales.

Credit: Rae McAlpine

https://ve-vjday75.gov.uk/

 

Bounce back loans launches

Lichfield District Council is promoting the government’s new loan scheme to small businesses across the district.

Small firms and sole traders – including high street staples like hairdressers, coffee shops and florists – will be eligible for 100 percent government-backed bounce back loans to help them make it through the coronavirus outbreak.

Small business owners can now apply to accredited lenders by filling out a simple online form, with only seven questions.

The government has also agreed with lenders that an affordable flat rate of 2.5 percent interest will be charged on these loans. And any business that has already taken out a coronavirus business interruption loan of £50,000 or less can apply to have these switched over to this generous new scheme.

The bounce back loan scheme is the latest step in a package of support measures launched by the government, including the small business grants and retail, hospitality and leisure grants, which Lichfield District Council is continuing to distribute. So far it has given almost £16 million to 1,587 district-based businesses.

Councillor Iain Eadie, Cabinet Member for Investment, Economic Growth & Tourism, said: “I would like to pay tribute to our hard working staff who have made sure small businesses have been able to access the government grants they are entitled to as quickly as possible and by promoting all the other support schemes that are available. Lichfield District Council has led the way in Staffordshire on supporting our local businesses. We hope the last few businesses that have yet to get in touch with us to claim their grant will do that.

“The bounce back loans on offer now could give small firms and sole traders access to vital funds, especially where they were not eligible for a grant. Hopefully this will give them access to funds without the previous coronavirus business interruption loan scheme delays, that will help them to meet their ongoing bills and protect jobs.

“We are encouraging local businesses that need access to cash now, to take a look at the terms and make sure a loan is right for them.”

As part of the scheme, small businesses can borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. The government will provide lenders with a 100 percent guarantee and cover the cost of any fees and interest for the borrower for the first 12 months. No repayments will be due during this period to enable firms to get back on their feet.

The loans are available through a network of lenders, including the five largest banks.

Eligible companies will be subject to standard customer fraud, anti-money laundering and Know Your Customer checks prior to any loan being made. Some State Aid restrictions may apply to applications.

The borrower always remains 100 percent liable for the debt.

To find out more and how to apply, visit www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-a-coronavirus-bounce-back-loan.

Media enquiries

Esther Epstein, Press & Communications Officer, Lichfield District Council
T: 01543 308778 E: esther.epstein@lichfielddc.gov.uk

Fly-tipping on the increase since lockdown

Lichfield District Council is supporting residents and businesses to take pride in their local area and dispose of their waste properly and legally, following a sharp increase in fly-tipping incidents since the coronavirus lockdown began.

In recent weeks, the council’s street cleansing team has been busy removing more fly-tipping from across the district, including household, garden and commercial waste.

When compared with the same period last year, April has seen up to a 25 percent increase in fly-tipping incidences on roads and public spaces. Fly-tipping on private land also went up in April, with a 30 percent increase in reports from the same time last year.

Councillor Angela Lax, Cabinet Member for Legal & Regulatory Services, said: “We know the vast majority of our residents are responsible with their waste, and will be just as disappointed as we are to hear of the increase in fly-tipping that we’re experiencing at the moment.

“It’s really important to keep the district tidy, and our teams have been working hard to retain a full waste and recycling collection service. Our crews have been overwhelmed by the positive response and support from residents and we know most people are doing their very best at this challenging time.

“I take encouragement that the government has asked councils across the country to prepare to reopen household recycling centres, and I know that Staffordshire County Council is working on its plan for re-opening their centres with social distancing measures in place. Although I am aware that other areas have seen large queues at these facilities, I am sure reopening the centres will help to relieve much of the pressure on our service and we hope to see them back up and running soon.

“In the meantime, we know many households have been having spring cleans and I’d like to thank you for holding onto any extra rubbish that can’t go in your bins until the recycling centres reopen. This is obviously outside of our control and thank you for your patience. There is also the option to pay for a waste company to take any rubbish away, checking first that they are correctly licensed as a waste carrier with the Environment Agency and always asking for a receipt.”

To help stamp out fly-tipping, if you see anything suspicious or spot it across the district, please report it to the council online at www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/report or by calling 01543 308999.

The council is continuing to operate its bulky waste collection service for large items of furniture. To find out more, go to www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/bulkywaste.

Media enquiries

Esther Epstein, Press & Communications Officer, Lichfield District Council
T: 01543 308778 E: esther.epstein@lichfielddc.gov.uk

Birmingham Road site improvement works to resume

Contractor makes preparations to re-start work on key gateway site in Lichfield from Monday 11 May 2020.

After temporarily stopping work on Lichfield District Council’s Birmingham Road site, The Coleman Group is set to get back on site next week.

The project to improve the Lichfield site, which includes the bus station and old police station, was put on hold due to safety concerns around the spread of the coronavirus.

Work completed so far includes resurfacing the bus station and demolishing the police station. Work will pick up where it was left off, starting with the removal of the police station foundations.

This will be followed with finishing off the bus station improvements, including refreshing the bus shelters and adding in new benches and bins. It will also see the creation of a replacement 56-space long-stay car park, the removal of the old bus station shops and toilets, the installation of new toilets and landscaping of the area.

Councillor Iain Eadie, Cabinet Member for Investment, Economic Growth & Tourism, said: “With coronavirus affecting all aspects of work, we understood the decision to temporarily down tools. However, we’re really pleased work is set to get started again, as we know this site is in need of regeneration, because it is such a prominent area and a gateway to the city. The works will make the area more attractive and safer, and we look forward to our contractors starting up again, with social distancing measures in place.”

To find out more, go to www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/brsimprovements.

Media enquiries

 Esther Epstein, Press & Communications Officer, Lichfield District Council

T: 01543 308778 E: esther.epstein@lichfielddc.gov.uk