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Vow residents and businesses will be consulted over replacement plans for land in Lichfield earmarked for failed Friarsgate project

The leader of Lichfield District Council says a new plan to replace Friarsgate in Lichfield will involve consultation with residents and businesses.

An artist's impression of the new Friarsgate development

An artist’s impression of the Friarsgate development

The demise of the long-awaited redevelopment was confirmed at a meeting of the local authority last night (June 26).

The decision to hold the discussion on Friarsgate behind closed doors has still left a number of questions, including what will happen to the areas previously earmarked for the project.

Mike Wilcox

Cllr Mike Wilcox

But in a response to a question in the public section of the meeting, Cllr Mike Wilcox, leader of Lichfield District Council, insisted a Plan B would emerge.

“If Friarsgate does not happen, the council plans to carry out consultation on future plans for the site and will involve local people and businesses in determining the most appropriate use for the site.”

It has already been revealed that despite not going ahead with the redevelopment, the council is still facing a bill of almost £7million in costs associated with the project over more than a decade.

Cllr Sue Woodward, leader of the Labour opposition group said the numbers – which show around the failed project has cost at around £500,000 for each year it has been planned – would not sit easy with residents.

“At a time when the council has imposed severe cuts and introduced charges for services, this is not acceptable,” she said. “Take the brown bin tax, which has been introduced to save around £300,000 a year, yet more has been spent on an aborted project.

“It is a clear lack of leadership.”

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  1. Nodge

    27th June, 2018 at 9:27 am

    I don’t want this man anywhere near Plan B

  2. Colin Ball

    27th June, 2018 at 11:07 am

    I agree, Nodge. There should have been a Plan B all along, right from the start, and a proper phasing plan that would have allowed for smaller elements to be built over a period of time, rather than hoping for one big development all in one go. That was always going to be difficult, if not impossible, to pull off, particularly in the present economic climate! You would have thought that the Tory Councillors would have had some sensible advice like that from their consultants, given the massive amount of our money that they have spent on this so far! I think that Mike Wilcox and the rest of his Cabinet need to resign right now. If I’m elected as District Councillor for Curborough next Thursday, I will certainly be calling for them to resign – and feel that I will have the mandate from the residents of Curborough to do that!

    Colin Ball – Labour Party Candidate for City and District By-Election in the Curborough Ward.

  3. Steve

    27th June, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    Where is the money coming from, for Plan B?

    You could not get funding for Plan A, so what chance will you get for Plan B?

    Consultation? Is this where we make our opinions known and you tell us you know better?

    I struggle every month to pay my council tax, I have had to sell my belongings, not to be taken to court by you guys and you have blown £7 million and raised my council tax by nearly 6%.

    You really need to see the disaster you have created and left the area stuck with for many many years.

    Fab can’t even get us a lift at LTV, you can’t build a development and the PCC only appears in photo opportunities while the crime rates increase.

  4. Cllr Sue Woodward

    27th June, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    In the interests of equity and fair shares, there needs to be a review of capital spending across the whole District. I found out that last night for example that, since 2015, the capital spend in Burntwood on non-LDC facilities was just £1360.85 – a tiny, tiny fraction of what has already been spent on the wasteland that is Friarsgate. Yes , Plan B for Friarsgate needs to be developed as soon as possible but other areas of the District, especially Burntwood, needs funds for regeneration.

  5. Colin Ball

    27th June, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    Yes, Sue. Let’s have fair funding across the District and no more large scale Tory vanity projects.

  6. Leslie Bache

    27th June, 2018 at 5:03 pm

    Congratulations are in order for the quite outstanding coverage by Lichfield Live on the Friarsgate development. Your coverage has been most informative and demonstrates that you are a true believer in democracy. You have completely outgunned your media competitors ( with their backing from national press groups).
    Well done to you Ross.!!!

  7. nellygb

    27th June, 2018 at 7:47 pm

    Why exactly is it that this man saying we will be consulted over future plans (the newly emerged plan B I think he’s talking about) for the Friarsgate development just not sit right with me? Can anyone help

  8. AnnS

    28th June, 2018 at 11:18 am

    @Leslie Bache – Couldn’t agree more. Without LL we would probably still be in the dark. Keep up the good work.

  9. John Griffin

    29th June, 2018 at 11:20 am

    Simple. A basement offer will be made by some questionable developer and the Tories will accept it and state it was in the interest of the taxpayer’s to get some money back. See sale of Royal Mail, RBS proposals etc for the template.

  10. AgitatorofPeople

    2nd July, 2018 at 8:47 am

    “local people and businesses” will be consulted How? on a vague and little publicised medium which will return low datasets that will be largely ignored after a show of hands between the current council members involved in the friarsgate fiasco, and used to justify another poorly managed decision which has little benefit to those “local people and businesses”.
    Sorry but we have no confidence in you or your council Mr Wilcox.

  11. Rob

    2nd July, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    Who’s this “we” you speak for?

  12. Concerned Citizen

    2nd July, 2018 at 4:35 pm

    Me for one, Rob.

    There are too many instances of Wilcox and his cronies doing their own thing without any accountability to the people. How can Wilcox oversee a project for 13 years in the knowledge that the developers did not have the funding for Friarsgate? What went on the background for it to take so long for this gem of information to emerge into the public eye? Was there a special arrangement between Wilcox and the developers? Makes you wonder. Private Eye would love this story for their Rotten Boroughs column.