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A Lichfield councillor has said spending £7million refurbishing local authority offices would “go down like a cold bucket of sick”.
Cllr Rob Strachan made his comments as Lichfield District Council’s cabinet debated the proposed city centre masterplan.
The document has earmarked some use of the land where the council house currently sits on Frog Lane.
The masterplan suggests repurposing parts of the building:
“There is an opportunity to make enhancements to the District Council House to consolidate the existing office areas to provide a more efficient work space and to provide for additional revenue generating commercial, residential and community uses.
“This would act as a catalyst for the wider growth of complementary uses, including small-scale office space within the adjacent Birmingham Road Gateway site, providing an economic boost to the local economy.”Lichfield city centre masterplan
Cllr Liz Little, cabinet member for major projects and economic development, said a feasibility study had shown that the buildings now needed to form part of the first phase of development rather than as a standalone scheme.
The news was welcomed by Cllr Rob Strachan, who said the council would have struggled to justify such a move.
“One document I saw put a £7million price tag on a refurb of Frog Lane.
“To spend £7million on ourselves while leaving the Birmingham Road site undeveloped would go down like a bucket of cold sick.”Cllr Rob Strachan, Lichfield District Council
Cllr Little said that regardless of what the plans for the Frog Lane site eventually entailed, the development would need to be sensitive to the history of the site.
“It’s quite a sensitive building and there are listed parts of it so we have to be careful what we do with it.
“But it will be included in that first phasing.”Cllr Liz Little, Lichfield District Council
The cabinet member has confirmed that the Birmingham Road site – left vacant by the failed Friarsgate project – would be at the front of the queue when the city centre is redeveloped.