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Housing developer agrees to sponsor new gallery space in Lichfield

A new art and photograph gallery space in Lichfield has been sponsored by a housing developer.

IM Land, which is building 750 homes at a development called The Lakes in Curborough.

The company has backed the Curborough Gallery at St Mary’s in Lichfield city centre.

Sarah Milward and Richard Knight from IM Land with Nick Sedgwick (centre), chair of trustees at The Guild of St Mary’s
Sarah Milward and Richard Knight from IM Land with Nick Sedgwick (centre), chair of trustees at The Guild of St Mary’s

Jonathan Dyke, director of IM Land, said: “When we were approached to assist with funding the gallery, we said yes with no hesitation as we could see the huge benefits local people would get from St Mary’s, which will provide access to a multi-use arts and heritage space.

“We loved the idea of breathing new life into this historic building.

“We understand the importance of providing shared community facilities for local people.

“At the Lakes at Curborough, we are looking to create a new inclusive neighbourhood, not just providing much needed new homes, but also a sustainable development with green spaces, play areas and sports pitches for all to enjoy.”

St Mary’s re-opened to visitors at the end of last year and has already enjoyed several sell out concerts in the performing arts space, and numbers to the new library almost doubled in the first month of opening.

Louise Fleming, vice chair of trustees at St Mary’s said: “Without the generous support of companies such as IM Land we would not be able to ensure future generations of Lichfield residents are able to enjoy this rich cultural facility and create new life for one of the city centre’s most historic buildings.

“All cities are having to evolve and reinvent their buildings. St Mary’s is now at the heart of our community and will hopefully have a bright new future for all to enjoy.”

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  1. Philip Allso

    18th March, 2019 at 11:16 am

    No one has the right to exclusivity (unless you are very rich, a superstar, or sports star) so my comments might be misinterpreted. Lichfield remained undeveloped for hundreds of years. It’s medieval street plan and ecclesiastical background made it almost unique in the Midlands. It’s city status was really conferred because of the cathedral. To what extent should we be trying to protect this heratige? The urban sprawl we have seen in recent years is reminiscent of what happened to our neighbour Tamworth. We are becoming an overspill town for Birmingham with ever increasing acceleration. This has, of course, been the fate of many smaller communities that have massive city’s near by. While many will see this as inevitable (largely driven by the commercial world) it brings with it a whole range of logistical problems (schooling, health care, congestion, parking, administration etc.). Perhaps these developers might concern themselves with these issues rather than the showy proposal in hand. The footprint of Lichfield on the map is increasing exponentially. It’s presence as a place of interest is decreasing proportionately. That might well be life but I feel sorry it has been my generation that has bought it about.

  2. Roy Appleby

    18th March, 2019 at 3:25 pm

    A Little bit of Money goes a long way !!

  3. Philip Allso

    20th March, 2019 at 10:37 am

    Perceptive of you Roy. This development was strongly opposed by LDC on the grounds that it did not fall within the Strategic Plan and was detrimental to the environment and Lichfield in general. This view was endorsed by Staffordshire planning officials. It was overturned by Sajid Javid (Secretary of State) who agreed with LDCs objections but said the overriding need for new housing took presidence . His view was upheld in the High Court by Judge Singh when LDC appealed.
    As this development is in effect a private one there is no compunction on Lichfield Council (or Staffordshire County Council) to adopt the facilities being offered as an enticement to buyers. You may be aware of the so called Fleecehold clauses written into contracts which can demand very high maintenance costs to even freehold properties. Many see this as a modern day scam. A friend in Sussex is currently paying £6000 A year under such a contract.
    Buyer beware has never been more relevant. So perhaps you are right. A few cans of paint might cover many cracks.
    As an aside. I have not been without my critisism of LDC but in this regard they were exemplary. The ruling by both Sajid Javid and Judge Singh was, in my view, wrong. It virtually means that ANY development planning proposal for housing
    will now be granted.