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Consultants could be in place by the end of the month to help find a future for land earmarked for failed Friarsgate scheme

Consultants could be brought in by the end of the month to help Lichfield District Council find a way forward for land earmarked for the failed Friarsgate scheme.

The former Tempest Ford site, part of the area earmarked for the failed Friarsgate scheme
The former Tempest Ford site, part of the area earmarked for the failed Friarsgate scheme

The figure was revealed in a report to a forthcoming meeting of the economic growth, environment and development overview and scrutiny committee.

The Friarsgate redevelopment bit the dust after more than a decade in the planning, leaving chunks of city centre land lying empty.

A working group for the scheme – now renamed as the Birmingham Road Site – created a draft brief for consultants, which was subsequently accepted by the council.

Although 42 organisations submitted an initial interest in carrying out the consultancy work, 17 tenders were eventually received.

The report by Cllr Iain Eddie to the overview and scrutiny committee explained: “Officers are now appraising the detailed submissions against set criteria.

“This will produce either an outright winner or a shortlist from which a consultant can be chosen.

“This appraisal work will be completed shortly and it is hoped to be able to confirm an appointment by the end of June.”

The eventual consultants will be asked to address three key issues to help inform the future of the Birmingham Road Site:

  • What a future re-developed Lichfield City Centre could look like having regard to its current offer and the types of city centre uses which would serve best the residents of and visitors to Lichfield.
  • The affordability of the above – what new uses of land and property would be appropriate and be attractive to the market?
  • What options would there be for delivering new development including the District Council as a land and property owner but also working with other potential local government and private sector organisations?

The successful consultants are expected to deliver their conclusions by the end of the year.

Cllr Eadie’s report will be discussed at the overview and scrutiny committee meeting on Thursday (20th June).

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10 Comments

  1. Don Palmer

    18th June, 2019 at 1:50 pm

    Will there also be a public consolation? As this would be a lot cheaper than consultants and may have better ideas for Lichfield as well.

  2. John Woodcock

    18th June, 2019 at 9:04 pm

    We must remind ourselves that Lichcfield DC have not as far as I am aware, made public their plans for the “Short term improvements” other than on the “Planning Application” which is not easily accessed by all , we need them to publish the proposals and drawings to show how they propose to demolish the “Public Toilets and replace them with a temporary building consisting of 1 unisex toilet and 1 disabled /unisex and baby changing toilet and also what is proposed with the remainder of the Bus Station / Police Station Site
    ALSO note the time line

    Our planned time frame
    • December 2018/January 2019 – Short-term designs developed.
    • January/February 2019 – Planning application submitted.
    • January – March 2019 – Contractors appointed for demolition and scheme implementation.
    • March 2019 – Planning application considered.
    • April 2019 – Temporary scheme work starts on site.
    • Autumn 2019 – Temporary scheme works complete.

  3. Steve

    19th June, 2019 at 10:30 am

    LDC19013 Birmingham Road Master Planning £60,000 One Off

    https://democracy.lichfielddc.gov.uk/documents/g1593/Public%20reports%20pack%2013th-Jun-2019%2018.00%20Cabinet.pdf?T=10

    There appears to be a £60k budget for this consultancy.

    Nice money, for what will probably be little more than a copy and paste, that has been used in other parts of the country. It will be a high level aspirational document.

  4. Colin Ball

    21st June, 2019 at 5:48 pm

    I pushed the Tories to set up the cross-party Birmingham Road Site Working Group after my election to Lichfield District Council in July last year, to sort out the Friarsgate fiasco. Unfortunately, it took them till October to call the first meeting!

    However, since then, we did work well, I believe, as a group, to rethink the approach on the former Friarsgate site and agreed that having a consultant, appointed by the District Council, to come up with ideas on how to proceed, involving local residents and businesses in the design process, was the best way to deliver a master plan for the site. As I continue to serve on the Economic Growth, Environment and Development Overview and Scrutiny Committee, I will continue to work hard to ensure that, once consultants are appointed, that they keep on the right track and deliver a master plan that is both affordable and deliverable. I will be working to make sure that this in no “cut and paste” job, but a genuine open and transparent process.

    Colin Ball – Labour Lichfield City and District Councillor for Curborough.

  5. John Woodcock

    22nd June, 2019 at 2:31 pm

    Colin
    It might be useful to show publicly what you intend to put before the planning committee in July in the form of site layout Etc. so we all know what is planned for the temporary changes which should according to the time table displayed on the website be well under way!!!!

  6. Darryl

    22nd June, 2019 at 5:32 pm

    At least there’s one Lichfield business making a killing out of this situation.

    The Response Security Consultants on Birmingham Road. Nice work if you can get it.

  7. Roy Appleby

    22nd June, 2019 at 9:46 pm

    Colin,
    Can I ask what local residents have been approached in this consultation?

  8. Colin Ball

    23rd June, 2019 at 1:04 pm

    Roy – There was a late afternoon and early evening session in the Guildhall on 6th March, which was very well attended, with over 300 people giving their views. There is also a dedicated web page on the LDC website and a dedicated email adddress (birminghamroad@lichfielddc.gov.uk), where people can ask questions and give suggestions. There was also a consultation session with representatives of local stakeholders in February (e.g. Lichfield Business Improvement Group, Lichfield Cathedral, Civic Society, etc.). I’m sure that there will be more consultation, once consultants are in place, I’ll certainly be working hard to make sure of that.

    John – As for the temporary works and planning permission for that, as an opposition Councillor, I have no direct involvement with that. However, I’m sure that there will be Site plans, etc. on the LDC website, when that comes forward for planning approval.

    Colin Ball – Labour Lichfield District and City Councillor for Curborough.

  9. MRS RACHEL P NEWTON

    23rd June, 2019 at 9:20 pm

    Just get something moving, put the disaster to bed and get a positive outcome for our city.

  10. Philip Allso

    24th June, 2019 at 8:49 am

    Well nothing has been achieved for the current tourist season and at the rate of progress the next one too. The untimely haste in undertaking the demolition job has not been matched by any (even cosmetic) redress. As the tourist industry is a major contributor to Lichfields economy you might have thought some priority would have been given to this issue. Clearly it needs thought and design but it seems to move at a snail’s pace. Surely some draft proposals could be produced in days. Perhaps such proposals could be published in the Mercury for public approval (or otherwise). This site is Lichfields shop front, it dosent need more houses or retirement homes.

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