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The new Friarsgate development will be a game-changer for the city, the leader of Lichfield District Council has predicted.
The long-awaited scheme is currently undergoing “minor revisions” following a public consultation.
Friarsgate will feature new restaurants, shops and apartments as well as a revamped bus station.
But it is the creation of the multi-screen cinema which council leader Mike Wilcox believes can alter the perception of Lichfield for visitors and businesses alike.
“We hope to get an agreement across the line with a cinema operator in the next few weekes,” he told LichfieldLive.
“Once they have signed up then we know from our discussions that many big retailers will join the scheme, because they know a cinema will attract visitors who might have gone to places such as Cannock or Burton in the past.
“It will change the perception of Lichfield as a destination. A six or seven screen cinema will bring people in.
“The restaurant chains talking to us are looking to come in want Lichfield and help it to become a destination where people can eat, go to the cinema or the Garrick and spend the evening look around the Cathedral.
“We want the city to be a destination incorporating a leisure time, retail spend as well as eating and spending time visiting the area – that’s what we are trying to create through Friarsgate.”
Discussion have been had with local groups, such as Lichfield Civic Society, about the initial plans.
But Cllr Wilcox insisted the feedback had been generally positive.
“The issues have mainly been surrounding the finish of the buildings, so the developers have gone away to draw up some plans with a brick finish rather than a plaster effect,” he explained.
“When they come back we’ll make them available to the public and interested parties to have a look at.
“As it stands, a planning application is still intended to go in by end of the year and we are all systems go, but we want to look at the consultation results fully to make sure we get it right.
“The feedback was mainly positive. Everyone is keen on the idea of new shopping offer, cinema and bus station, but it was just the finishing that some people thought were not in character with the city.”