Lichfield Mercury – 29 October 2008

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Speaking up in support of a new public platform

Students, councillors and members of local organisations have pledged support for a new Speakers’ Corner project in Lichfield – only the second of its kind in the country.

Youngsters from The Friary School and Lichfield College, together with representatives from the police, Lichfield Festival, the city’s civic society, Lichfield Mysteries, the Garrick, Lichfield Chamber of Trade and the cathedral gave their unanimous backing to the scheme at a meeting at the city’s Guildhall last week.

Work will now begin on forming a local committee to oversee the development of the project which will give Lichfeldians a public platform on which to discuss local issues.

Speaking after the meeting, the director of the Speakers’ Corner Trust, Peter Bradley said: “This has been an important first step and we’re delighted with the tremendous support we’ve had from all over the city.

“We’re excited too about the plans which the committee will be drawing up shortly.

“I’m sure they’re going to capture the public’s imagination here in Lichfield, reminding the rest of the country of the key role the city’s free thinking tradition has played in national life over the centuries.”

The Lichfield scheme is also set to feature a city-wide programme of public debates, designed to bring people together to exchange ideas and opinions and to express their views.

A committee for the city will be formally established next month and will go on to consider and consult on a range of options for the site of Lichfield’s Speakers’ Corner and to prepare plans for the project’s launch early next year. It will then be in charge of managing the initiative in the long-term.

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