Following the recent submission of a full planning application, the Friarsgate shopping centre redevelopment has come a step closer on the announcement that Lego is reversing its policy on bulk purchases and will no longer ask customers what they want to use the bricks for.
The U-turn follows a recent controversy involving Chinese artist Ai Weiwei where Lego was accused of censorship when it refused to sell bricks directly to him.
The company said its policy was to reject bulk requests if it believed that the resulting construction could tarnish its image.
Lego spokesman Roar Rude Trangbæk explained:
‘When we were approached by Lichfield developers with a preliminary enquiry as to the availability of our building materials were were initially reluctant to agree. Many other recent constructions in and around Lichfield have been based on our design concepts and incorporated our bricks. We are aware that this has aroused criticism locally and we feared a backlash.’
Now, following the Ai case, Lego has stated that they will no longer question customers as to the “thematic purpose” of their project.
Lichfield District Council leader Mike Wilcox commented:
‘We are delighted with Lego’s decision. This will mean that the design of new city centre will sympathetically compliment our other historic buildings such as the Friary Car Park Apartments, the Premier Inn and not forgetting the Garrick Theatre.
‘And we can now cancel the proposed confiscation of lego bricks from the orphans of Burntwood and North Lichfield.’
Dean of Lichfield Cathedral The Very Very Reverend Friend of Fabricant Adrian Dorber was equally delighted, he said:
‘I am delighted that Lego is onboard. With the ease of modular construction this will mean that the height of the new buildings can be increased so as to completely block all lines of sight to Lichfield’s spires on most approaches to the city.’
Praise has also come from Orchard Street Investments, owner of the existing Three Spires Shopping centre, a spokesman commented:
‘We are equally delighted, with such thoughtful design input into the new build we are confident that this can only serve to increase the footfall in the direction of Three Spires.’
Anyone who wishes to comment on the development proposals can do so at http://www.lichfielddc.gov.uk