The Leader of Lichfield District Council believes work on a modified and radical Friarsgate development could finally get underway.
Cllr Michael Wilcox made his comments following a tormented, Merlot induced, sleep after Wednesday’s meeting of the Strategic (Overview & Scrutiny) Committee of Lichfield District Council. The Council concluded that the City was heading for a fiscal cliff of over £1m if the original scheme had gone ahead.
The new £100 scheme will consist of shops and leisure provision, including a multi-screen cinema, a marina, a beach and herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically down Birmingham Road.
Development work is now expected to start immediately and should be completed by the end of February. Cllr Wilcox explained:
‘In the light of budgetary constraints it has been decided that the existing development agreement with S Harrison for the Friarsgate project will be terminated. I had expected their completed development to be delivered to us on time in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and again in 2013 but there is only so often that you can issue the same press release without looking like a complete fool.
‘In its place your Council will create a Virtual Friarsgate shopping and leisure centre. This online virtual reality cityscape will only be accessible from computers and mobile devices located within the city centre.’
Customers will be able to take a virtual tour of the shopping centre, calling in and shopping at Boots, Next, Marks & Spencer, Harvey Nichols and many other stores that rejected the bricks and mortar destination.
For those without the benefit of mobile computing, a new IT suite will be created within the coffee shop of Debenhams in Three Spires Shopping Centre. A spokesman for Debenhams, Mike Taylor commented:
‘We are delighted to support this initiative. Our store is in fact already a Virtual Debenhams, being much smaller than our other outlets and stocking only one item of a very limited product range. In the likely event that you want something that we do not have in stock you’re welcome to go to the Bullring.’
Additional terminals will also be available in the Lichfield Library, however there will only be limited access as the Library is never open at times when the public wish to use the facility and, in any event, all the staff will shortly be sacked and Library’s resources transferred to Stafford.
It will also provide a boost for local bar restaurant Malt, the pretty blonde girl who works there at weekends said:
‘We have put together a special ‘shoppers package’ with discounts for virtual shoppers who can enjoy fish and chips for £5 whilst awaiting the delivery of their shopping from proper retail centres within two hours of placing the online order in Virtual Lichfield.
‘I’m certainly looking forward to being able to get hold of a wider range of beauty products from Virtual Lichfield. And stop following me,’ she added.
Cllr Wilcox declared the proposal helps deliver the Council’s F4FS policy: ‘As a city we need to work together – To Me, To You, that’s my mantra.’
Beacon Street Area Residents Association (BASTARDS) spokesman Martin Littleone said:
‘We are against this proposal, it will attract illegal immigrants into my living room.’
Anyone wishing to complain about the delay in the original proposals should contact firstname.lastname@example.org