Lichfield Mercury – 5 December 2008

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Speaking up for new forum for debates

The Committee set to oversee the country’s second-only Speakers’ Corner project in Lichfield has been drawn up.

Canon Pete Wilcox has been elected the group’s first chairman while the head of Lichfield School of Art, Alison Churchill, has been named vice-chairman.

The rest of Lichfield Speakers’ Corner founding committee is taken from the district’s public, private and voluntary sectors.

It is now down to the newly-formed committee to oversee the launch of the project in the city next year – the second of what is intended to be a national network of such schemes, designed to provide new platforms for public debate.

Canon Wilcox said: “This is a very significant new venture and all those already involved are excited about the fact that Lichfield is setting the pace for the rest of the country.

“The committee has an important job to do in seeking to represent the city as a whole and in helping to create a new forum for public debate and a new focus for civic pride.

“It’s a great challenge but the range of talent, experience and commitment available to the committee will help us meet it.”

The Lichfield project, which will be set up in the city centre, will feature a programme of public debates on any issue, designed to bring people together to exchange ideas and opinions.

A number of potential Speakers’ Corner sites are currently being assessed by Lichfield District Council in consultation with the police and other public bodies.

The committee plans to choose from a shortlist of viable options and draw up plans for the project’s launch in the new year over the next few weeks.

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