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Friary car park, home to 54 families
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Five Spires Live has discovered that Lichfield District Council’s new 400-space car park on The Friary is being used to house vulnerable local people and families.
The LEGO Award nominated building, designed by pupils from Christ Church primary school, was officially opened by Councillor David Leytham, Chairman of Lichfield District Council, in November. He said: “I was delighted to do the honours and cut the ribbon to launch this fantastic multi-purpose facility. Lichfield is such a popular city and it is really important that we have plenty of parking spaces to offer to our Supported Housing residents. It is great to see the car park being used in this way, and it will no doubt be invaluable to the homeless in the lead up to Christmas.”
The long-stay car park features 54 spaces allocated to Bromford Housing residents spread across a number of decks, a lift for the disabled and those incapacitated by drink or drugs to access the different levels, an electric wheelchair charging point and 24 hour use of the public toilets (optional).
“We’re all really proud to have launched our first DIY housing scheme,” commented a spokesman for Bromford. “We have allocated all 54 spaces and families have now started moving in. In a matter of days many have been able to furnish and decorate their spaces and some have even found time to put up Christmas decorations. As part of the deal we have installed windows for some of the residents.”
The chairman was joined on the opening day by district council officers and a representative from S Harrison – the developer of The Friary scheme.
David Clancy, Director of S Harrison Developments Ltd, said: “The Friary is an excellent example of how mixed use development is delivering real profits for the company. With Lichfield District Council we have transformed a former car park site into a car park site. Many Bromford clients were sleeping in the car park previously so we are proud to say that they have now been provided with a roof over their heads.”
One of the new residents, Mike Hunt, commented: “ It’s really great to be living here, I can now nick a car without even leaving the house.”
To find out more about the development or apply for an appartment, visit http://www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/thefriary
As Santa prepares to empty his sack for another Christmas, Lichfield Round Table members are anxiously reviewing their options as to where to park their fully-liveried Mitsubishi Pajero for the next twelve months.
Earlier in the year the car could be found abandoned in various locations in and around the City – traffic islands, farmers’ fields, Eastern Avenue cemetery. But there are now few places left that it hasn’t been towed away from.
Mike “I’m a Right Laugh” Collins, who has been involved with the group for two years, said: “I had it on my drive for a few weeks, it was a right laugh! But I had to let it go when my wife called me a knob and left me for a Morris Dancer. I still miss it.”
The club – a social club for mainly, or soon to be, single men aged 18-45 – raises about £2,000 each year less than they spend on car running costs, real ale and archery evenings.
“If we can’t find suitable parking,” said chairman Pete “Up the Villa” Adams, “we’ll have to sell it, give the proceeds to charity and join Lichfield Golf and Country Club. Now that’s what I call sad.”
To join Lichfield Round Table email email@example.com. Or call the Samaritans.
The Birmingham Business Improvement District organisation, Retail Birmingham, has written to Lichfield District Council praising the new Friary Car Park that has recently been officially opened in the City.
Mike Dunn of Retail Birmingham said : “I am delighted the Friary Car Park is now open. With more than 400 long stay parking spaces, this will provide an excellent opportunity for those planning a festive shopping trip to park their cars in a safe and affordable place before catching a bus or taking the train to Birmingham’s Bullring shopping centre.”
Shopper Pam Blackwell from Burntwood agreed : “It couldn’t be more convenient for my Christmas shopping, just park up at the Friary and then take the train into Brum, at last the Council has done something positive to address the problem of poor shopping facilities in Lichfield.”
Mike Dunn also congratulated the car park’s architects: “The car park is visually stunning, with minimalist design input and an abundance of unclad steelwork it really does prepare our visitors for their train journey through Birmingham’s industrial wastelands.”
Councillor David Leytham, who officially opened the facility on 25th November 2013 was not asked to comment.