Interesting to see that Lichfield is on a long list of former Woolworths stores still without a new tenant. To date, only one store in the region has found a new occupier, more than two months after the historic retailer vanished from the high street.
The future of the site has been clouded in mystery ever since the demise of Woolworths, but despite reported interest from the likes of Primark, there have been no concrete plans laid out for the store.
But is it any surprise? After all, any potential new tenants would be relatively short-term given that the premises and the surrounding area are set to be redeveloped once the Friarsgate development finally sees the light of day.
In the current climate there aren’t likely to be many companies wanting to invest money in a store which is already a dead duck.
And if the redevelopment wasn’t enough to put potential tenants off, the potential of Friarsgate to draw shoppers away from that area of the city would shorten the store’s shelf-life even more.
Comments made by Councillor John Walker to the Express & Star hit the nail on the head as he calls for the Woolworths area to be redeveloped before Friarsgate, rather than after. He told the newspaper:
“When the Friarsgate opens up it will affect the lower part of the town and if we don’t move now, then they’ll be left high and dry.”
Quite right too. Yes, the city needs a long-term plan, but surely the short-term should see us sorting out the problems we already havewith empty premises rather than planning to add even more retail units?