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Lichfield District Council leader insists Friarsgate Plan B working group will be cross-party

The leader of Lichfield District Council has insisted a group looking at a new plan for the Friarsgate land will be cross-party.

Cllr Mike Wilcox

Cllr Mike Wilcox

The reassurances come after claims from the Labour opposition group leader, Cllr Sue Woodward, that the Conservatives had put together a secret scrutiny group.

But Cllr Mike Wilcox, leader of Lichfield District Council, said Labour had been included in the working party on the Birmingham Road site.

“The New Cabinet and senior Officers attended a joint meeting to evaluate the exciting opportunities that now lie ahead for the Birmingham Road Sites and how, in the short term, we could improve the appearance and offer some features to the sites, which include the garage, bus station, kiosks and the Police Station building,” he said. “At the same time we have also commissioned a structural report on all of the buildings.

“I then proposed that a cross party working group be set up to work with all partners, including those groups within the city, as well as engaging with the public and then ultimately reporting back to the economic growth and development overview and scrutiny committee who would then report back to Cabinet and then to Council.

“In order to put this into place I spoke to the Chair of committee to suggest this working group be established at which he consulted with his two Vice-Chairs – one labour and one Conservative councillor – they had no issue with this approach and confirmed that this was in order.

“I would have assumed that the Labour councillor would have made the Labour leader aware of this proposal, but when it subsequently got mentioned at the overview and scrutiny co-ordinating group, Cllr Woodward was visibly annoyed that she did not know anything of this suggestion of a working group.

“I assumed that her colleague would have informed her, since then I had already been e-mailing my members asking for volunteers to join this group.”

Cllr Sue Woodward

Cllr Sue Woodward

Cllr Wilcox has also hit back at his Labour counterpart’s criticism of the £7million bill facing taxpayers for the failed Firarsgate scheme.

“In relation to the misinterpretation regarding monies spent, Cllr Woodward knows full well where monies have been utilised to purchase land and property that will give the council a financial return and therefore is not money wasted,” he said.

“As always she looks for ways to attack the controlling party without supplying everyone with all of the facts.”

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  1. Joanne Grange

    29th August, 2018 at 10:37 am

    Interesting interpretation of wasting money. From previous stories on Lichfield Live, Cllr Wilcox is quoted as saying £4.5m has been invested in land and buildings which may give a future financial return. If the total spend is £7m, by my simple arithmetic, that leaves £2.5m of council taxpayers’ money which has been spent on other things which are not going to give a future financial return. Is this wasted money? Or is Cllr Wilcox suffering from his memory problems again and believes the full £7m has been invested wisely?

  2. Sue Woodward

    29th August, 2018 at 11:00 am

    It’s pretty shameful of Cllr Wilcox to try to cover his embarrassment about the lack of communication by blaming a Labour member who is currently on compassionate leave – as both he and his Committee Chair know. Besides, it was the Labour Councillor who called the Chair, not vice-versa so no real attempt to “consult”.

    Cllr Wilcox gives no indication in his comments or in the report to next week’s Cabinet about what this will all cost. Meanwhile, my request for a review of capital spending across the whole District in order to get some sort of equity has been ignored. As Burntwood has received only about £2000 while £millions have been poured into Friarsgate with more planned, I don’t think the town’s electors will be impressed.

  3. LetsGiveItASpin

    29th August, 2018 at 11:36 am

    The land is only valuable as residential. They have already decided this. That’s why they want to sell off the council offices as well and relocate.. willnthey gey back £7m for the whole site , probably not as land reclamation will take a big chunk of value away from housing , they may get back 70% of land value but adding professional costs and time and materials probably down to 60%

    Either way they make a loss on tax payers money .

    Blind leading the blind . They, including certain officers , need removing from the council swiftly and a more rigid management implemented otherwise they go into financial meltdown

  4. Flossy

    29th August, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    Grossly incompetent LDC needs a massive laxative!

  5. Dawn

    29th August, 2018 at 5:35 pm

    “I assumed that her colleague would have informed her, since then I had already been e-mailing my members asking for volunteers to join this group.”

    I take two things from this statement. The leader of the council does not talk to the leading opposition councillor about serious matters such as this and secondly how many emails made it to the 4 Labour and 1 Liberal Democrat councillors representing us on the council of 47. Probably started with his cronies first so the working group was full before he got round to emailing anyone else. These 5 should have been asked first so this time we really did have a balanced approach to the development, but eh what do I know.

    Well actually, now I ask, I know I neither trust or believe this individual. He has already been found to have lied (re tempest) so in my eyes he should have gone long ago if he had one ounce of decency. As Oliver Cromwell once said “You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately… Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go”

  6. Michel Souris

    29th August, 2018 at 9:59 pm

    Dawn -Wilcox will not resign unfortunately. Despite his manifest incompetence over many years concerning Friarsgate, there are no other Tories willing or capable of fulfilling the role of Leader. Come to that, The same applies to the Tories at national level.

    The Lichfield electorate need to give the Conservative party a bloody nose and vote them out. LDC has displayed absolute incompetence at all levels and the city has regressed in recent times. Surely there is someone in the ruling party who has an ounce of common sense and vision for this city. Sadly, we are ruled by a bunch of geriatrics who are think they are better than they actually are but live in bygone times. Maybe the National Audit Office should investigate LDC on a value-for-money basis and perhaps it will find the cosiness of the links between Tory Councillors, Council Officers and developers….that might make interesting reading.

  7. Debbie S

    30th August, 2018 at 9:02 am

    Surely if, as the story indicates, cross party Cllrs HAD attended a meeting the simple way to assess who is correct is to share the minutes? Or as is common in LDC was this a ‘closed meeting’ for the good of the people?
    Again if the number is £4.5m or £7m (both being a disgusting waste of money) the breakdown of spend should be public information. All Cllr Wilcox has to do is point the public in the direction of said info, or does it requires a FOI request?

  8. AnnS

    1st September, 2018 at 12:44 pm

    “As always she looks for ways to attack the controlling party without supplying everyone with all of the facts.”
    Really Cllr. Wilcox? Pot, Kettle comes to mind.

  9. Philip Allso

    1st September, 2018 at 2:21 pm

    “The controlling party”…..How easily those words trip off the tongue. It is more about power than purpose. A part of OUR city centre is being picked over like a chicken carcass. Is it surprising that there is a general sense of foreboding about the outcome? The result will be there for generations. You might have thought that would be enough to sharpen the mind. Is the present administration dependable? Not on recent history it isn’t, but they won’t relinquish any control because of their inflated egos.

  10. Roy Appleby

    1st September, 2018 at 8:21 pm

    Spot on Michel.The LDC/SCC are so arrogant it’s beyond belief. They need voting out and somebody put in place that puts the residents first.

  11. LetsGiveItASpin

    2nd September, 2018 at 6:11 pm

    New housing development incoming ….