A Chinese consortium, led by Wuhan based Covid Construction Corp, has been appointed to develop Lichfield’s long-awaited Friarsgate shopping and leisure centre.
The scheme was axed in 2018 after Lichfield District Council chiefs voted against funding the development when the previous developer failed to secure private financial backing for the £54 million project.
Covid chief executive Zhang Yue said:
‘This project can be built-out by our skilled immigrant workforce on time and on budget – the time being within two weeks and the budget being 40% of the original estimate.
‘Now that the UK is ignoring EU regulations, we are able to make considerable cost savings – no minimum wages, no health and safety delays and no sustainability or building standards issues.
‘But our workforce will be well looked after; when not working 20 hour days they will spend their free time eating and sleeping at the Ruby and Lee Garden restaurants. There will be plenty of room for our 2000 comrades above the shops.
‘The buildings will be prefabricated in our new facility located on green-belt land around the People’s Province of Burntwood. The units will then be transported along the excellent road network to the Birmingham Road site.’
When slotted together the development is expected to reflect the architectural heritage of the City, as epitomised by the Premier Inn and Friary Car Park, inspired by the Danish Lego movement.
Council leader Cllr Doug Pullem commented:
‘With development funding from Beijing in place there can be an immediate start on site without our previous focus on securing pre-lets of the retail units. However, I can promise that there will be the usual mix of coffee bars, charity shops and hair & nail salons which have proven to be so popular in Lichfield.
‘If all goes well we are hoping to appoint Covid Construction to demolish Friary Grange Leisure Centre and build a state-of-the-art Olympic swimming pool and gym during the May half-term.’
Mr Yue said that in order to recompense local restaurateurs for their hospitality, ‘It is planned that Friarsgate will include a new Oriental food Cash and Carry, incorporating our popular live-animal open market on alternate Fridays.’
Lichfield David Lloyd members actively support the petition to keep Friary Grange Leisure centre open
Following local media reports that Lichfield District Council has decided to close the Friary Grange Leisure Centre from April 2020, social media users have reacted with fury. David Lloyd Lichfield Health and Racquet club members have come out in full support of the online petition to keep the centre open to the general public.
David Lloyd member Paul Mycock was one of the first to sign up, he said:
‘I was one of the first members to sign up to the plebiscite, closing Friary Grange will be a disaster for the general health and well-being of our members.’ Vigorously towelling-off his genitalia in the changing rooms, he added:
‘Imagine the number of Dimbles internees who will apply for the concessionary three-month introductory package at David Lloyd next summer if they can’t take a bath in the Friary Grange Pool. The members-only club will be ruined. I commend this petition to the membership.’
Objections to the proposed closure were equally vociferous in other parts of the City. Fradley mother of three under two-year-olds, Myfanwy Hertz is “gobsmacked”, she commented:
‘I am gobsmacked. I can’t believe that the swimming pool where I learnt to swim as a child ten years ago is closing down, it’s a disgrace. I’ve never been back there since mind you, but that’s not the point. Its part of our history. And what about Friarsgate and Tempest Ford and all the housing around the Saxon Penny and the canal restoration and the plight of elephants in Asia. The world’s gone raving mad.
‘Did I miss anything? Let me check on the comments section of Lichfield Live and get back to you.’
Local politicians have been more restrained in their reactions.
Local Lib-Dem councillor for the Ward in which Friary Grange is situated, Cllr Paul X-Ray said:
‘Thank you for drawing this to my attention, being absent from most council meetings I am often late to the party unless prompted by social media.’
Concerned Lichfield (and Burntwood) MP Michael Fabricant commented:
‘Not my monkey, not my circus,’ he said, appealing to the local Polish electorate. ‘I never go swimming, for obvious reason, so I have no interest in the closure of the Leisure Centre. But as there is a general election coming I am an active supported of the Abbots Bromley Horn Dancers and commend their commemorative stamps set to the House.’
Recently appointed Conservative Lichfield District Council leader Cllr Red Doug-Pullem has announced that he would like to see £2.4m spent on a new leisure centre rather than patching up Friary Grange. He added:
‘It wasn’t me.’
Cllr Mike Chuckle was unavailable for comment.
Cllr Doug-Pullem’s honeymoon period is due to end in September.
Lichfield District councillor Doug Pullem, Cabinet member for Community and the Blindingly Obvious has been tasked with communicating the blindingly obvious to local residents, councillors and council staff.
The Burntwood councillor has drawn up a Blindingly Obvious Report on the issue of vulnerable children and young adults which will be considered by the Council’s Cabinet at its meeting next month.
Councillor Pullem is no stranger to abuse, he said :
‘Being a livid ginger myself I was mocked as a child and now shunned as a vulnerable adult especially during summer holidays. But I harnessed that hatred to become a qualified barrister, fortunately one of the few professions where it is acceptable to wear a wig to work. Going forward I hope to trade in the horsehair for Michael Fabricunt’s luxuriant merkin as Conservative Parliamentary Candidate in 2020.’
The Blindingly Obvious Report is entitled:
‘If I See Signs of Abuse Should I Report It?’
Cllr Pullem explained:
‘Council staff have a key role to play in preventing abuse, my report of the Blindingly Obvious will provided an essential tool for navigating this minefield.’
A copy of the Blindingly Obvious report is available on the Council website, but for those who are short on time here is the executive summary:
The prolific polymath that is Cllr Pullem has also turned his attention to public safety during the festive season. He explained :
‘I’ve put together an easy to understand calendar of tips to get across important safety messages to the local hard of thinking, primarily aimed at my own constituents in Burntwood.’
The tips include not leaving shopping and presents unattended in the pub car park, not attaching petrol soaked rags to Christmas candles, not sticking fingers in plug sockets whilst bathing, not performing a sex acts with the Boxing Day ham and not taking taxis driven by potential suicide bombers.
The Cabinet member added:
‘The calendar worked well last year at getting across important safety messages to local idiots.
‘From Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service to our own community health teams, lots of experts have contributed to the calendar to give a clear indication of planned dates for industrial action by the Fire Brigades Union and the junior doctors and lots of handy hints for DIY CPR over the Christmas period.’
The calendar is available from Lichfield District Council’s Frog Lane reception and venues across the district. More details are available online.
Disabled Lichfield residents should not be allowed out on the roads, claims Burntwood Labour councillor.
A Burntwood Labour councillor has called for more to be done to enable able-bodied Lichfield residents to drive around the city unimpeded by disabled people and their vehicles.
Cllr Eric Drinkwater (sic) told a recent meeting of Lichfield District Council that authorities needed to do more on the issue.
‘I have every sympathy with law-abiding motorists who are thoroughly sick of the blue badge brigade, parking in the premium spaces then dragging their lifeless limbs onto disability scooters and speeding off into the Three Spires Shopping Centre and terrorising young children and dogs.
Cllr Drinkswater (sic) claims that the blue badge the system is being abused.
‘Most of the blue badge holders aren’t even terminally ill,’ claimed the 79 year-old councillor. ‘Some drivers think that just because they lure their sick old granny out of the nursing home into a car on a Bank Holiday they can park wherever they damn well want. Well they damn well can’t.’
Dimbles stalwart, 43 year-old Bessy Banks (deceased) commented:
‘I’m sick to death of these Conservative councillors pontificating on what us poor disabled people can and can’t do. Me old mum’s been dead these past five years and all we’ve got to remember her by is what she left us in her will – her blue badge, with her dear old laminated face staring up at us from the dashboard of the fully liveried motability Mitsubishi Pajero. Makes me shed a tear it does, every day when we drive that disability car and park up outside B&M to load up on cheap dog food.’
Labour Cllr Drinkspirits responded:
‘I’m not accusing all blue badge holders of abuse, but why don’t they all just go back to Andrews House, curl up and fecking die?
‘When I’m out for an evening with m’lady at the heavily-council-tax-payer-subsidised Garrick Theatre, the last thing I want to see is a procession of cripples wheeling themselves through the Malt Bar to the easily accessible disabled toilets whilst I’m trying to enjoy a pre-show fine dining experience. If they’re not bloody careful I’ll be taking my custom elsewhere, perhaps to the new up market, no disabs-allowed venue that is Pom’s Kitchen & Deli, where I hear the menu is very similar.’
Cllr Drinkspirits’ views also drew a swift response from Conservative Cllr Natasha Pullmeoff
‘As the wife of a severely gingered husband, my family rely on the blue badge system, especially in the summer months – on hot days we’d be completely housebound if I couldn’t drive Doug into the centre of town and decant him directly into darkened recesses of The Angel.
‘I’d hoped that with the introduction of the blue badge all this discrimination and hatred would have been a thing of the past. But no, thanks to Cllr Drinkspirits the historic fascist stigma of the Orange Badge order is still with us today, here today in Lichfield’s ginger community.
‘And no, you can’t have a look at my tattoos.’
Cllr Drinksbeer has denied reports that his remarks may be a prelude to a defection to the Conservative Group, commenting:
‘There is no truth in the rumour that my offensive remarks about disabled residents signals a defection to the socially-anesthetized Conservative group. Since those drunken ramblings were spouted I have seen the rise of a saviour of the Labour Party in the form of Jeremy Corbyn, with whom I bear a striking resemblance, namely being old, unkempt and out of power for a generation.’
Lichfield District Council should have included more gingers in the Cabinet, according to chairman of the Beacon Street Shadow Council in exile, BSTARD.
The controlling Conservative group added two new posts to the Cabinet at the first meeting of the local authority since the elections.
The new additions saw Councillor Helen Fisher take on responsibility for booking family holidays and with Councillor Doug Pullen looking after community he is the only openly ginger member of the eight person cabinet.
Cllr Mike Wilcox, leader of Lichfield District Council claimed the additions would enable a more folically diverse type of councillor to emerge.
‘We have to recognise that in our insular community, where dogs will bark at the unexpected sight of a visiting gypsy at Bower, many gingers can find themselves discriminated against.
‘As a result we are creating two new cabinet positions to enable gingers to put themselves in a position to be considered for a senior role.
‘Doug Pullen is startlingly ginger and Helen Fisher has clearly had bit of ginger in her in the past. Helen’s daughter, newly-
elected former musical theatre star Councillor Connie Fisher, is a natural ginger.’
But BSTARD chairman Sidney Sprite, 86, said he would like to see even more ginger diversity. From a dank and mouldy corner of his Beacon Street residence, the bitter and twisted, sunlight averse Newcastle United fan hater commented:
‘Mrs Sprite was a beautiful ginger in her day, but she was never able to come to terms with her colouration. “I’m not ginger Sidney,” she’d plead, “I’m auburn, maybe strawberry blonde in a certain light?”
‘That was before before her hair turned grey, she was only 28. I knew that deep down she blamed me for that; sticking my nose into other people’s business, quoting meaningless statistics, commenting on local issues from a self-constructed ivory tower build on sand but never daring to stand for office myself.
‘”You’re draining the very colour from my life,” she’d say. That was her little joke; she was always joking – a common defensive trait of a ginger. She died shortly afterwards, just to get away from me she’d have said. Jokingly, in her typically defensive ginger way. I miss her. Bitch.’
Councillor Pullen has welcomed his appointment to Cabinet. He said:
‘I welcome my appointment to Cabinet, the whole family is delighted.’
Doug’s wife is none other than fellow councillor Natasha Inez Pullen. The Spanish former lingerie model commented:
‘Clearly it’s different over here,’ she sighed.
No stranger to punching above his weight, Doug Pullen said:
‘As a cabinet member with responsibility for “community” I am determined to make a difference. Dog mess is a priority and I will be on the streets supporting Cllr Greatrix with as many black bags as he needs.’
Any ginger who has been disturbed by this article is advised to contact the Very Reverend Philip John @lichfieldLive