Michael Fabricant met residents of Darwin Park on Saturday 9th June to
discuss the needs of "this small town of 1100 homes based within the
City of Lichfield" as Michael puts it. He was taken around Darwin Park
by Jeff Fry and other members of the Darwin Park Initiative. Later, he
met with residents over lunch in a private dining room all provided by
the management of Waitrose.
"The Government talks a lot about ‘Sustainable Communities’, but like so
much else, words have to be translated into action", says Michael
Fabricant. "Darwin Park is an extremely attractive development
incorporating attractive brick homes reflecting the architectural style
of Lichfield – unlike the wholly inappropriate and dated concrete
monstrosity currently under construction opposite Lichfield Cathedral on
Minster Pool. Darwin Park also incorporates green spaces and a series
of stunning lakes teeming with fish and wild fowl. But there is no open
space for teens to play ball except on grassy areas adjacent to homes
which are a nuisance to residents. Bins, while planned for, have yet to
be provided by the many trails so litter is beginning to accumulate in
the lakes and grass verges. Ideally, there needs to be land allocated
for a youth centre separate from the planned community hall.
"Darwin Park is actually a town of 1100 homes within a City and needs
its own facilities. Construction has been underway for 6 years now and
it is time now for the District Council to take charge from the
developers. In that respect, I am delighted that a number of
councillors were recently elected from residents of Darwin Park.
"I will now be writing to Lichfield District Council to ascertain
precisely what plans they have for Darwin Park and am already aware that
they have conducted surveys seeking residents’ views. I will also be
writing to the Minister at the Department of Communities and Local
Government in Whitehall together with his Conservative Shadow Minister
to ascertain what plans they have to ensure that definitions of green
space also include a totally separate area from housing set aside to
allow ball games and other activities that will not be a nuisance to
neighbours nor a danger to younger children and toddlers.
"I shall also be making my views known very clearly that it is totally
unacceptable for the much heralded Cathedral Walk to be marred by plans
for a large house or flats to be built at the end of the Walk destroying
the vista leading outwards towards the spires of Lichfield Cathedral.
If the view of Lichfield Cathedral is blocked, it will defeat the whole
design plan of the Walk. This just not on.
"Finally, I am encouraging the Darwin Park Initiative to form themselves
into a formal association to represent the needs of residents of the
Park and I believe that it is important that the Initiative has no
formal party political or religious ties. Darwin Park is large enough
to have its own voice within our community; it has its own special
needs as a new development and, in my view, should not be a part of a
larger Leomansley grouping which incorporates much more established
parts of the City."
Photographs show Michael with Reverend Jeff Fry (Leader of the Darwin
Park Initiative) and other residents at the head of Cathedral Walk with
Lichfield Cathedral visible beyond and at one of the lakes on the