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It’s now or never for Friarsgate development, says leader of Lichfield District Council

It’s now or never for the Friarsgate development, according to the leader of Lichfield District Council.

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

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

A consultation is currently taking place to gather feedback on the latest designs for the long-awaited scheme to bring a cinema, retail outlets and housing to the city centre.

The developers hope to have a planning application ready for the autumn after reviewing the feedback.

Mike Wilcox

Cllr Mike Wilcox

But Cllr Mike Wilcox, leader of Lichfield District Council believes the latest version of Friarsgate could be make or break.

“If we can’t make it happen now, I don’t think we ever will,” he told LichfieldLive.

“The developers have ploughed millions into it already and they really believe in it – so much so, that they are still talking about starting the two year build next year in time for a summer 2018 completion.

“All the ducks have been lined up in a row and this really is our best opportunity.”

A number of responses have already been received, while a public event in July saw a number of local residents view the plans for the Friarsgate scheme.

Cllr Wilcox added: “Most of the negative comments we had were about the look of the external fronts of the shops – that’s not a big issue. We’d have been more concerned if there had been issues with building sizes and scales.

“But the cosmetic stuff we can look at and work with the developers to improve the scheme.”

Hundreds of full-time and part-time jobs are expected to be created if the development goes ahead.

Cllr Wilcox has said the scheme is crucial to the future of the district as a whole.

“Friarsgate really is a fantastic opportunity,” he said. “It will lift the district and create new jobs.”

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4 Comments

  1. Adrian steele

    26th August, 2015 at 11:43 am

    Am I correct in thinking that the biggest barrier to Friarsgate now is the lack of commitment from a flagship retail store like M&S to headline the development?

  2. Thornton

    26th August, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    Lichfield doesn’t need a large flagship store like with some other developments. Tamworth has a far larger M & S than Lichfield ever could so what’s the point. Besides, Friarsgate will be good simply for its increase in parking spaces and to develop the ugly Tempest Ford site which has always been an eyesore for visitors stepping out from City station. Any new shops will be used by locals but tourists whether they come from near or far are looking for something more than a Shoe Zone or an EE phone shop ie; sites and attractions.

  3. Eric

    28th August, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    The obliteration of Swan Road and The Friary by uninteresting buildings with no architectural merit totally out of scale with their surroundings happened during Mike Wilcox’s watch so how can we be sure the other side of the town centre won’t be ruined? Development can be innovative, exciting and yet compliment its surroundings: The Touchwood Centre in Solihull is such an example. If it’s taken the District Council nearly ten years to deliver a relatively small project with a handful of new shops they may as well give up. Who decided that our leisure time should be spent shopping? Why do we need more shops when more and more people order goods online? People go to towns like Tamworth, Burton to shop, people visit Lichfield to potter and have a cup of tea

  4. Grumpy Joe

    28th August, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    i despair with this tory council. they have no imagination, never seem to deliver results except when considering their own allowances. Friarsgate is another figment of their fevered imagination….how long have we been waiting?