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Council leader: Friarsgate is crucial to building confidence in Lichfield

The long-awaited Friarsgate project is a crucial part of the jigsaw for Lichfield, the leader of the council has said.

An artist's impression of the Friarsgate development in Lichfield

An artist’s impression of the Friarsgate development in Lichfield

The redevelopment of parts of the city centre was derailed by the financial crisis, but has been back on the agenda after revised plans were approved last year.

Friarsgate is predicted to create upto 750 jobs and members of the council will be given a briefing on the latest developments next week, with Lichfield District Council leader Mike Wilcox reiterating his belief that the development is essential to the future of the city.

Councillor Mike Wilcox

Cllr Mike Wilcox

“Friarsgate is at the forefront of everything we are doing at the moment,” he said. “If we can get it moving, it will help us by giving added income, prosperity and everything else that goes with it.”

The scheme was revitalised earlier this year when Government funding was approved to support the infrastructure.

Cllr Wilcox says this investment shows their is a real desire to ensure Friarsgate doesn’t stay on the drawing board indefinitely.

“Friarsgate is all about confidence,” he said. “The Government has given us the best part of £3million already and we’re asking for more.

“There is certainly that encouragement and confidence that comes with funding on that scale.

“We now need Development Securities [the company behind the development] to move ahead with a planning application, and we’re hoping that can be done by the end of the year.

“I’d like to see the project underway by the start of Autumn next year – that’s the plan.”

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.