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Councillor hoping for cross-party working group to come up with “Plan B for Friarsgate”

A Lichfield councillor says he is hopeful calls for a cross-party working group to look at a “Plan B for Friarsgate” will be heard.

An artist's impression of the Friarsgate development

An artist’s impression of the Friarsgate development

Cllr Colin Ball, Labour representative for the Curborough ward, has previously called for the resignation of Lichfield District Council leader Mike Wilcox after the long-awaited redevelopment scheme failed to materialise – and left the taxpayer with a £7million bill.

The scheme has left question marks over the future of land cleared for the aborted project.

Colin Ball

Colin Ball

Cllr Ball says representatives from across the political spectrum need to come together to find answers.

“At the council meeting on July 17 I asked that we should have a cross-party working group, which I volunteered to serve on, to look urgently at a Plan B for Friarsgate,” he said.

“I talked to several Tory councillors about this idea, both before and after the meeting, and they seemed supportive.”

Cllr Wilcox has previously vowed there would be consultation over what happens next with the Friarsgate land.

“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,” he said.

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6 Comments

  1. AnnS

    25th July, 2018 at 10:30 am

    Cllr. Ball states that “At the council meeting on July 17 I asked that we should have a cross-party working group, which I volunteered to serve on, to look urgently at a Plan B for Friarsgate,”

    But he didn’t say whether his proposal was acceptable or formally agreed or not, only that… “I talked to several Tory councillors about this idea, both before and after the meeting, and they seemed supportive.” But were they supportive in the meeting?

  2. Colin Ball

    25th July, 2018 at 7:10 pm

    We’ll have to wait and see, AnnS! I’m always optimistic, however, that people will see sense and the need to work together to get things done. If not, then I do fear for the future of the Friarsgate site and Lichfield city centre.

    Colin Ball – Lichfield City and District Councillor for Curborough.

  3. Philip Allso

    26th July, 2018 at 7:55 am

    I don’t understand the assumption that councillors are best qualified to decide such important developments. Clearly it hasn’t worked for Friarsgate as nobody will back it. There is also the conflict between aesthetics and commercial considerations. Money talks, and it can often look ugly. Design is very difficult as we can see in our everyday lives. Tourism is an important part of the life of the city. People won’t come to see housing developments or care homes. Sadly you can see what it has done for Tamworth which was once an attractive town. Town centres define a city and many places have protection orders to reflect this. Look at the major cities of the world and how they protect their image. This is not a job for amateurs. Professional expertise should be used and suggestions gathered from residents, who should be kept updated before it becomes a done deal. The Civic Society should be consulted and extended scrutiny to insure that commercial considerations are not the only driving force behind this real chance to enhance what is Lichfields real asset, it’s historical and cultural appeal.

  4. Jon Thompson

    27th July, 2018 at 11:04 pm

    Philip I think you are right about councillors not being best qualified. But the same is true of the civic society – a group of well meaning enthusiasts not necessarily architects or urban designers. And not much diversity either.
    Surely Lichfield’s greatest asset are the people who live here, why should we be so obsessed with tourists.
    The people who live here should be able to share their ideas in a constructive way rather than just being consulted (or told how it will be) . There are plenty of examples of the general public working with professionals such as town planners, architects and urban designers through things such as ‘enquiry by design’.

  5. Dave Lindsey

    30th July, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    One thing that stands out amid the various arguments around Friarsgate is that party politics have no place in local government. I have felt that way for a good number of years and I will not vote (in local elections) for anyone tied to any party. Lichfield should be run by people who put Lichfield, and Lichfield residents, first.

  6. LetsGiveItASpin

    30th July, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    Sold for housing that will be the decision as they scramble to save the council budget from imploding ….

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