Making our high streets safe to visit

Section of  city centre street with pedestrians socially distanced

Section of city centre shopping pedestrian area whilst busy

Hindley's Bakery, Lichfield

Entrance to three spires shopping centre

Statue of man and horse at crossroads

As more Lichfield city centre and Burntwood town centre retailers prepare to reopen from next week, Lichfield District Council is progressing with plans for how it will help local businesses to establish safe trading and how it will begin to use the £92,501 it was awarded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), to reopen high streets safely.

The Reopening High Streets Safely Fund provides councils with additional funding to support their business communities through four main strands of activity. This includes:

  • Support to develop an action plan for how the local authority may begin to safely reopen their local economies.
  • Communications and public information activity to ensure that reopening of local economies can be managed successfully and safely.
  • Business-facing awareness raising activities to ensure that reopening of local economies can be managed successfully and safely.
  • Temporary public realm changes to ensure that reopening of local economies can be managed successfully and safely.

As part of a district-wide response, the council will employ a part-time information officer for six months. They will work along with other council officers to help local businesses implement safe working practices and create a safe shopping environment for visitors.

The information officer will be on hand to visit shopping areas across the district to welcome people and help them to follow social distancing.

The council will also use the funding on a messaging campaign that will include a suite of resources for shops and businesses and information for residents and visitors. This will include a shop local campaign.

This is just the first phase in making the district’s commercial areas covid-secure, and more measures will come forward in the coming months.

In the lead up to more shops reopening, the council is also working with Three Spires shopping centre, the Lichfield BID and Staffordshire County Council to monitor the use of streets, pavements and footpaths as lockdown regulations are relaxed, to determine if additional measures to support safe access and movement are needed. Hand sanitiser stations will be available and information on where people can safely leave their bicycles has already been made available.

Councillor Iain Eadie, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, Investment & Tourism, said: “It’s really important that we support our high streets and shop local as much as we can. However, we understand that residents and visitors need assurance that it is safe to do so.

“This is why we are already working with businesses across the district to make sure they follow government and HSE guidance, that they carry out the risk assessments they need to do, and implement social distancing measures.

“Given what the ERDF funding can be used for, we will be going out to businesses to help them, as well as creating marketing campaign materials and resources that support our high streets and give clear guidance for residents and visitors.

“It’s vital that we help our local economy to get going again and we look forward to working further with businesses across the district to help them get covid-secure.”

Council officers are on hand to help businesses. If you need any extra help or support, please email occupationals@lichfielddc.gov.uk.

To find out more about what you need to do to make your business covid-secure, visit www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/covidsecure.

Media enquiries

Esther Epstein, Press & Communications Officer, Lichfield District Council

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