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Lichfield MP insists failure to fund Friarsgate should be seen as an opportunity to create a more fitting development

Lichfield’s MP believes the demise of the Friarsgate scheme should be seen as an opportunity to create a design and project more fitting with the character of the city.

An artist's impression of the Friarsgate development

An artist’s impression of the Friarsgate development

The £55million redevelopment collapsed after funding could not be found in the private sector and a bid to spend £49million of public money was rejected by the controlling Conservative group at Lichfield District Council.

A final decision will be made at a behind closed doors meeting of the full council on June 26, but Cllr Mike Wilcox, leader of the council, and developers U+I have already suggested the deal is dead.

Michael Fabricant

Michael Fabricantarsgate

But Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant said the collapse of the scheme after a decade in the making should be seen as a chance to think again.

“I believe that U&I’s inability to find finance for the Friarsgate Project should be taken as an opportunity,” he said. “I have always had some doubts about the overall design of the project which many would say was not in keeping with a beautiful cathedral city like Lichfield.

“I think we should now use this as an opportunity to rethink the whole project. Do we really need new chain restaurants which might endanger the viability of the existing restaurants in the centre of the city? We do need more housing and we certainly need a cinema.

“Perhaps a redesign based on that with brick finishing and gabled roofs to the housing which match the style of the city would be more in keeping and provide more of what Lichfield really needs.”

A volunteer wrote this. Say thanks with a coffee.

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

10 Comments

  1. Philip John

    22nd June, 2018 at 11:56 am

    No comment on why his local Conservative party colleague is hiding from scrutiny, then?

  2. Nodge

    22nd June, 2018 at 12:04 pm

    “…U&I’s inability to find finance…” Er, forgetting someone else Fabster?

  3. Claire

    22nd June, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    Brick finishing and gabled ends? It’s nice to see our MP has a grasp of the big picture here.

  4. AgitatorofPeople

    22nd June, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    The council has to reject any concept of its former plans particularly its retail plan and look at models that work in the internet age. Prof Kim Cassidy & Bill Grimsey a pair of Brits have recently shown how their National Retail Research Knowledge Exchange Centre influenced a successful development in Roeselare Belgium that is bucking the high street decline. http://blog.placemanagement.org/2017/02/15/roeselare/
    The time for hiding from the public and trying to push through outdated plans is over, bold and open innovation is required, now, to extract Lichfield from its mismanaged shambolic state.

  5. Dave H

    22nd June, 2018 at 4:18 pm

    Ok then Mr Fabbo , how about a brick finished gable ended Cinema on the old Ford complex. That’s the only thing needed.

  6. Nellygb

    22nd June, 2018 at 7:08 pm

    I think we already know what’s going on there DaveH usual block of flats going round the corner and houses to the rear. Cheapest being 500K and a three storey being best part of a Million. Bet the developers will be piling in for a bit of that action!! But they will have brick gable ends and tiled roof so at least one (part time) resident will be happy

  7. Jan Weston

    23rd June, 2018 at 3:02 pm

    Brilliant idea mr Fabricant!😊

  8. Kerry Ball

    23rd June, 2018 at 3:05 pm

    Just more houses and flats.It should be used for a cinema.But then it was sacrilege to let the old regal cinema go.That would have made a much better theatre than that hideous garrick theatre.They are useless.

  9. Jim

    23rd June, 2018 at 8:14 pm

    Another OAP who doesn’t like modern buildings Kerry? I can’t wait for all the old mardy Lichfield bas tards to die off.. or are you another Lichfield outsider that loves a moan. Maybe you prefer the old Rugeley Rose?

  10. Greg

    24th June, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    I totally agree with Mr. Fabricant. We need a total rethink and the courage to accept the whole idea was nothing more than a money making scheme rather than something lichfield needed. We already have empty retail space in the town and do we really need more cafes and restaurants? There’s an old saying if you don’t know what to do, do nothing and that may well be an option we could adopt while level headed people consider the options. Not people out to get in quick and disappear with the money

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