Richard Upton, Deputy CEO of Friarsgate developer U+I Group, has confirmed that he will be taking up the post of Leader of the Council effective from 1 August 2017. Mr Upton said:
‘I am delighted to accept my generous demand of the Council and I’m looking forward to taking up my new post on 1 August. I will be continuing in my role as Deputy CEO of U+I as I understand that the position of Leader traditionally entails the expenditure of very little time, talent or effort.’
Outgoing Leader Cllr Mike Wiltcox commented:
‘I am delighted that Richard has decided to accept his offer to sack me as Leader, although I will continue to fulfill my role as Conservative councillor for Fradley as this also entails the expenditure of very little time, talent or effort.’
Richard Dicking, Lichfield’s strategic director of democratic, development and legal added:
‘Mr Upton has appointed the best man for the job. This will complete U+I’s takeover of all Council business and ensure the smooth running of the Cabinet and all Committees. We will no longer have to waste time submitting Council meeting Agendas to U+I’s “Commercial Sensitivity and Financial Viability Committee” for prior approval. Richard Upton will exercise delegated powers from U+I to control all aspects of Lichfield business.’
There has been increasing disquiet at the number of occasions where the public has been excluded from parts of Council meetings on the grounds of “commercial sensitivity”. Commentators have been left wondering what can possibly be commercially sensitive about Council car parking charges or the location of the Tourist Information office.
Mr Upton said:
‘I can’t comment on individual agenda items that have been discussed in secret, other than to say that they related to commercially sensitive matters for U+I that could affect the financial viability of U+I.
‘However I will be addressing these concerns directly as soon as I take office.
‘In future there will be no prior publication of Agendas or briefing notes, all Council meetings will be held in secret and no minutes will be kept. Now fuck off out of my office.’
LibDem Cllr Paul Ray welcomed the announcement, he said:
‘If all Council business is conducted in camera, as we lawyers like to say, that’ll give me the perfect excuse not to attend any meetings. No change there then at least.’
Five Spires Live has not bothered to contact anyone for comment.
The developer of Lichfield’s virtual Friarsgate shopping centre, U+I (Development Securities), claims that the redundancy of 24 workers at the Tempest Ford dealership evidences that a start on site has “materially commenced” for planning purposes.
Failure to demonstrate that a positive start has been made on the development by 27 May 2017 will trigger a reassessment of the financial viability of excluding affordable housing from the regeneration scheme.
A spokesman for U+I said:
‘Affordable housing is a curse on developer profit. By forcing the District Council to serve notice to quit on Tempest Ford under the terms of the development agreement we are able to avoid any inconvenient social housing issues being raised again.’
Burntwood mother of five under 4 year-olds Pauline Mycock has worked at Tempest Ford for the past 10 years, she said:
‘I can’t believe it, we were all given our redundancy notices today. How are we going to manage to feed our kids and pay our mortgages? We’ll probably be repossessed and have look to social housing. Oh, hang on a minute…’
Tempest Ford’s managing director Brian Carruthers says the decision by Lichfield District Council and its puppeteer Development Securities to require vacant possession by July 23 has come as a complete shock to him, he said:
‘This has come as a complete shock to me, the dealership has nowhere to go and therefore it has been forced to close. I’d only been given 10 years notice to make alternative arrangements, it’s a bloody disgrace.’
On the brighter side Mr Carruthers has announced a closing down sale:
‘I’m offering great staff discounts on used cars at the moment as part of our redundancy package. And for the more entrepreneurial any offers for my interest in the former Naturana site on Eastern Avenue would be most welcome.’
Dick King, director of Place and Community at Lichfield District Council, said:
‘Friarsgate is a complex £70 million scheme that will bring hundreds of new jobs to the city. We have now served notice to quit on Tempest Ford, laid waste the gateway to the City and thrown 24 citizens on the scrap heap in order to facilitate major works starting on virtual Friarsgate in September. I have accepted that this amounts to a “material start on site” by U+I for planning purposes.
‘But if something doesn’t start coming out of the ground in September then frankly we’re all fckd.’
Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant welcomed PM Theresa May’s announcement that the Labour Party will be consigned to history in time for the summer recess.
Mr Fabricant who was preparing to retire in 2020 now welcomes the opportunity to earn over £76,000 pa plus expenses for an additional two years. He said:
‘I welcome the PM’s bold announcement that was endorsed by a huge majority vote in the Commons. This will undoubtedly secure my place in Lichfield life for another five years. My position is unassailable and no opponent stands a chance, so I say don’t waste your £500 on the deposit, donate it to Lichfield Cathedral and help to keep my rent down.’
Cowed by the colossal Member, only one opponent has so far declared his candidacy. Lib Dem Paul Ray, a long-time loser in the public popularity stakes having chosen to be both a lawyer and a banking specialist, is an early tosser, his hat landing firmly in the ring. Mr Ray, known in District Council circles as X-Ray due to his level of invisibility at Council meetings, said:
The identity of the Labour candidate remains uncertain. Labour’s Mr Chris Whoishey who stood in the 2015 general election refused to be drawn, blaming satnav malfunctions for being unable to visit the constituency from his home somewhere in the Black Country. He said:
District councillor Sue Woodward has been inundated with emails, texts and tweets urging her to stand as Labour’s candidate. Despite being recently distracted by an irritating burning bush on Gentleshaw Common Mrs Norman has found time to treat herself to a makeover and has become a fluent French speaker. She said:
‘Le Fabricunt! Il est un tas de merde!’
Having yet to be formally selected by his local constituency party, Mr Fabricant expressed concerns about the outcome of the West Midlands Mayoral election on 4 May where his long time chum Andy Street is the Conservative candidate. Mr Fabricant said:
‘The BBC hustings on Thursday evening showed the fraudster Simone Simone to be head and shoulders above the diminutive Andy despite Andy being way ahead on my poll.
‘If Andy doesn’t get elected on 4 May he’ll be unemployed and I know he’s had his eye on my seat for years.’
Staffordshire Police is appealing for the help of the public to trace a District Council from Lichfield.
Lichfield District Council was last seen functioning in the Lichfield area in the run up to local and parliamentary elections in May 2015. It was reported missing to Staffordshire Police after it failed to attend the annual meeting with Bromford Housing Association on February 28.
Former Council leader Cllr. Mike Wilcox said:
‘I have been concerned about the Council’s erratic behaviour for some time, it’s not the first time that it’s gone missing. Like any loving parent I’ve ranted and raved when it’s gone AWOL but it makes no difference. I’ve tried emailing and making appeals on local and social media, but nothing.’
Equally concerned is Lichfield Chain Gang chairman Cllr. Sir Kenneth Dodd, he said:
‘I was only going to one civic event this year in my council tax payers’ chauffeur driven limousine, imagine my disappointment when the Council snubbed the event. It is with huge regret and a heavy heart that my one and only civic event of the year has had to be cancelled.’
Cllr. Dodd added that he still hoped to raise some money for Free Spirit charity by raffling off prizes that had already been donated.
‘I’m literally flogging a dead horse,’ he exclaimed.
Investigating officer Insp Paul Mycock, based at Lichfield’s virtual reality police station, said:
‘If anyone has seen Lichfield District Council, or has any information which they think could help us to find it, I would urge them to contact us as soon as possible.
‘LDC, if you see this appeal, please get in touch to let us know that you are safe and well.’
The Local Government Boundary Commission was already considering to proposals to reduce the number of district councillors from 47 to 13 to reflect the pathetic extent of councillor engagement in representing their constituents.
FiveSpiresLive has not attempted to contact anyone for comment.
Stowe Field has been earmarked as a permanent gypsy and traveller site following the intervention of the Bishop of Lichfield in his Lent Appeal. Set against the backdrop of Lichfield Cathedral and bordering Stowe Pool, Stowe Field has been identified as an ideal site by Tamworth Borough Council.
Cllr Robert Prickhard, 15, deputy leader of Tamworth Borough Council, commented:
‘Lichfield has just taken an enormous dump on Tamworth by swamping us with a planning consent for 1,000 houses on land at Arkall Farm. So in response we have invited Lichfield to accommodate the gypsies, Tamworth no longer has space. Stowe Field will be an ideal location.’
Tamworth’s case is supported by the Bishop of Lichfield, the Right Revd Dr Michael Ipcress. In his Lent Appeal the Bishop said:
‘I appeal to you to open your hearts and wallets in generosity as we focus on the needs of refugees and asylum seekers, strangers, aliens and even gypsies and travellers, certainly all people made in the image of God.’
Bishop Michael urged the local community to remember St Chad, the first Bishop of Lichfield who died on March 2, 672. He explained:
‘Chad was a Northumbrian, but the people to whom he came as bishop in Lichfield in 669 were Mercians. In a very real sense Chad was coming not to his own people, but to enemy territory where he could have been suspected, possibly resented, even hated. Just like the gypsies.
‘It is a fitting solution to Tamworth’s problems that the new encampment be located at Stowe Field, in the shelter of Lichfield Cathedral and in sight of St Chad’s own church.’
One of the travelling community’s leaders Paul Mycock commented:
‘Stowe Field would be an ideal location, having bathing facilities in Stowe Pool and easy access to the public disabled toilets at Malt and Faro Lounge – for those of us who prefer not to defecate in the kiddies play area.’
Bishop Michael added:
‘God and I commended Cllr Prickhard’s proposal to Lichfield District Council, not least because we live in Shrewsbury.’
On Saturday (March 4) the Community of St Chad will hold its annual service of commitment at St Chad’s Church in Lichfield at 11am, where Bishop Michael will preach.
FiveSpiresLive has not approached anyone for comment.
The leader of Whittington’s Amish community and chair of the so-called Green Party’s Lichfield branch, Bishop Rob-Boy Pass has backed calls for the Boundary Commission to rethink plans to move Whittington into the Tamworth constituency.
Bishop Pass, 15, who stood for the Amish Greens at the last general election, said:
‘The plan to remove Whittington from the Lichfield constituency is mindless and insensitive. Our community has historic connections with Lichfield. For example, our Church is often visited by venerable theologians who walk over from their new apartments at the Lichfield Friary. On market days our men folk will walk their livestock from the homestead to Lichfield, along the ancient byways connecting our communities, to be slaughtered by Walter Smith.’
‘This proposed change would sever a link that goes back centuries and break apart a long-standing commune.’
The Boundary Commission proposal to ditch Whittington and Streethay were originally described by Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant as “excellent”. However, having had an opportunity to review the options during the consultation period, he said:
‘Now that HS2 has received the Royal Assent continued resistance from constituents in Whittington and Streethay should now subside. Whilst I would welcome the removal of the Mad Monk’s commune from my kingdom, many residents of Whittington and Streehay remain sycophantic followers of my Twitter account.’
Mr Fabricant and his representative on Earth, the holy Jonathan Hall, recently attended a meeting with the Boundary Commission. The MP explained:
‘Our proposal was to retain the Conservative voting Whittington and Streethay in exchange for Burntwood and North Lichfield, home of the Dimblites. This makes perfect sense as they are already beyond the Wall and are of no interest to me anyway.’
Burntwood Labour counsellor Sue Norman commented:
‘For once I find myself in agreement with Michael Fabricant, good riddance.
Lichfield District Council Employment Committee met this evening (Thursday 9 February) to consider a report by officers pleading for elected members to avail themselves of training opportunities.
The annual Learning and Development Needs Analysis form has proven to be too challenging for almost half of Lichfield councillors to complete and return. Human Resources manager Katie Salter was unavailable for comment, she said:
‘At first I thought they were arrogant, egotistical idiots, but now I fear that many members just use bluster and buffoonery as a cover for severe learning disabilities. We are an equal opportunities employer but please, really? Twenty-eight so-called community leaders who can’t fill in a simple form?’
Cllr. Paul Mycock (Lichfield Scales and Spoons), said:
‘Training and continuing education? Give me a break. I wouldn’t need to understand all that rubbish if those ponsey polytechnic losers in the council office did their jobs properly. I enjoy a pies and bars as much as the next guy but I can’t be doing with all these graphs and facts and figures.’
Other councillors claim to have taken full advantage of training opportunities. Burntwood’s celebrity granny Cllr. Sue Norman, she said:
‘As an active member of the Audit Committee I am responsible for overseeing the council’s financial performance. After months of valuable training I am now able to evaluate complex financial reports and recommendations, if they contain graphics in primary colours, are well formatted and run to less than two pages then they get my vote.
‘And IT training has been great, don’t get me started on online petitions! I’ve just knocked one out against HSBC if you’d like to sign up.’
The Lichfield officer’s report on councillor educational needs is available Here