Council admits money it will spend on making Friarsgate a reality is “difficult to predict”

The amount Lichfield District Council is likely to spend on the Friarsgate project is “difficult to predict”, according to a new report.

The money spent during 2014/15 on the latest phase of the long-awaited city centre redevelopment was more than £400,000 less than anticipated, according to the local authority’s statement of accounts.

An artist's impression of the new-look Friarsgate development

An artist’s impression of the new-look Friarsgate development

Council leader Mike Wilcox has previously said that it was likely to be “now or never” for the mixed use development after a recent consultation on the latest designs.

But a report from Jane Kitchen, the local authority’s director of finance, has warned that full financial cost is not yet known.

“There are ongoing design, legal and financial changes to the Friarsgate scheme,” she said.

“This means that spend for the project continues to be difficult to predict given the fluid nature of the project.”

Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.


  1. Thornton

    27th September, 2015 at 8:32 am

    I’m all for Friarsgate but is having a Cinema really going to be the best use of city centre land? A cinema will have absolutely no affiliation with Lichfield with it showing Hollywood movies. Most people watch movies at home now anyway or even stream them over the Internet. Cinemas are having to aggressively sell popcorn, nachos etcetera to be able to pay the huge licence fees. They’re not exactly dignifying places to visit.

  2. Steve

    28th September, 2015 at 8:00 am

    Personally, the one thing I’m looking forward to most is a cinema. It gives people another option for something to do on an evening or weekend other than go to the pub/restaurant. While alot of people do watch films at home, there’s nothing quite like seeing a blockbuster on the big screen! Bring it on I say!

  3. Adam

    28th September, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    The last 3 times I’ve been to Tamworth Odeon on a Saturday night it’s been dead: I went to see Jurassic World a week after it opened and there were 30 people there. Is there really a need for a cinema? I do hope they’ve done recent research and we won’t be left with a white elephant

  4. Thornton

    28th September, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    @Steve. Tamworth had a large cinema only 10 minutes down the road though. Surely there’s something more suited to Lichfield which would be a better use of money. Are they just placing a cinema there because they’re struggling to think of anything else? Once this is built its going to change Lichfield forever so surely they and we should be having more discussion on it?

    Again, I think the council misses the reason why Lichfield is seen by outsiders as a lovely place to visit. It’s not about its shopping centres or large city feel, people come here for its old world charm, it’s narrow streets with crooked buildings, it’s market town feel. I think the council should be celebrating what many other towns and cities drastically lack and that’s history.

  5. Thornton

    28th September, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    From the monstrosity which has been thrown up by Charter Management opposite ‘Room to Inspire’ I have the feeling the council will be letting anything through and will not have put much thought into how it will fit into the existing buildings. They use blue neon lights in their entrance! This would look out of place in Las Vegas and they use them in Lichfield? Words fail me.

  6. Steve

    29th September, 2015 at 8:17 am

    The thing with the Odeon in Tamworth is thats its really overpriced for a rundown cinema. The seats are damaged and and ripped and has a general old feel about it. I personally vowed never to go back there! I now make the trip to the Showcase Cinema Deluxe in Derby as its a nice new, modern cinema with great facilities and costs less than the Odeon! Yes I’m a bit of a cinema snob but I think i’m not the only one!
    The ability to walk into town, have a drink or meal and then see a film and walk home can’t be underestimated. We really are lucky to live in such a nice small city that no matter where you live in Lichfield, you could probably walk to the centre in less than 20 mins. This is why I moved here from a ‘new town’ about 7 years ago.

  7. grumpy joe

    29th September, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    It seems now that the Council cannot estimate its financial commitment to Friarsgate according to the Director of Finance – surely after nearly ten years of talking about the centre that it would have some idea of its costs. What do the LD Councillors and Senior Officers do all day? I feel sorry for the council workers who do not even receive the Living Wage.