Plans for a luxury aqua park complex in the centre of Lichfield have emerged following the announcement that Friary Grange Leisure Centre is to close in April 2020.
Unicorn and Imaginary (U+I Group plc), the development partner behind the defunct Friarsgate project, have released plans for the new swimming pool facility to be located on the current B&M Bird Street car park.
Provisionally called Friary Minster PoolWorld, the scheme has been welcomed by local residents who will be affected by the closure of the Friary Grange pool next year.
Dimbles bather Paul Mycock said:
‘It’s great news that this imaginary water world will soon be within walking distance of ‘spoons. I was expecting to have to take the kids to Stowe Pool for a bath next summer, but it does get a bit crowded in there in the hot weather. And it’s not very convenient for the air ambulance.’
U+I director and former District Council leader Rich Richman commented:
‘We welcome the opportunity to partner Lichfield District Council again in another flagship development in the city. Our shareholders were delighted with the risk-free profits generated by our involvement with Friarsgate.
‘The decision to turn Friarsgate into a car park and to redevelop the former B&M store and car park will be announced by the Council in September followed by a public consultation in November.’
B&M merchandise display organiser Brittney Singleton,19, has mixed feelings, she said:
‘I have mixed feelings. I’ll love to spend an afternoon with my five kids on the water slides but I will lose my job when the store closes. I’ve been offered a position at the brand new store on Eastern Avenue but the commute from Netherstowe three days a week would kill me.’
B&M spokesman Simon Aurora insisted that the Market Street store will not be closing despite the launch of the new store, he said:
‘The Market Street store is not closing.
‘Well not until Lichfield District Council increases its offer for our lease. That will be announced in September.’
A Lichfield warranted police officer is facing disciplinary action after being seen walking around town on a Saturday afternoon chatting to local residents and assisting tourists. PC Paul Mycock has been with Staffordshire Police for over 20 years, he said:
‘I am stationed at the new Lichfield base on Eastern Avenue and spend most of my day investigating complaints from people who have been offended by social media posts or arranging for police vehicles to be reliveried for LGBT Pride parades.
‘Last week was a little slow as most complaints related to Boris Johnson and letterboxes, well that’s well above my pay grade.
‘It was a lovely day so I accompanied a colleague out on patrol, she had been ordered to drive around town in circles to give the impression of a strong police presence in the City. She had to alternate her hair style and wear a Michael Fabricant wig on each circuit to complete the illusion .
‘Feeling a little nostalgic I decided to take a walk around town on my old beat, catching up with locals and shopkeepers. Tourists were asking for selfies, assuming that I was part of the deluded local history group that dresses up in period costume.
‘A couple of days later I was called into the Inspector’s climate controlled office and informed that I was to be suspended for behaviour likely to bring the Force into disrepute.’
Staffordshire Police graduate entrant Inspector Bieber, 21, commented:
‘I can’t comment as this is an ongoing enquiry, but what I will say is that such behaviour, interacting directly with the public and addressing their day to day concerns is not what we are here to do and frankly makes the rest of us look bad.’
It is unclear who made the complaint but PC Mycock has his suspicions, he said
‘I have my suspicions. There are certain groups of vigilantes patrolling our streets and parks impersonating police officers.
‘As if the Speed Watch group aren’t irritating enough, we now have the self-styled Lichfield BID Officer Support (LIBIDOS) patrolling the town in para-police officer uniforms chatting to people and helping tourists.
‘Don’t get me wrong, I commend their aims but just like with Catholic priests, scout leaders and swimming coaches, you really do have to wonder about them don’t you?’’
PC Mycock is now planning to take early retirement and hopes to spend his nights with the shadowy vigilante group Lichfield Late Night Listeners.
Anyone who has been touched inappropriately by a vigilante is advised to contact the Daily Mail.
Staffordshire County Council proposals to set up of a ‘No Waiting At Any Time Restriction’ on Eastern Avenue between Monday-Friday outside The Friary School has been welcomed by many parents.
Lichfield mum Paulette Mycock spent hours over the Christmas period responding positively to the stealth consultation, she said:
‘This is great news, I need to be at work for 9 every morning so time is short, there’ll be no arguing now when I have to drop the little brat off at Morrisons – he’ll just have to walk the rest of the way.’
Other parents don’t think that the restrictions will have any impact on their school run, local dad Peter Parker said:
‘To be honest, when I’m dropping off the kids I slow down to about 20mph (as the sign suggests) and just push them out. No parking, no waiting. They soon got the hang of it, and the odd twisted ankle is always a good excuse to miss games.’
However young mum Brittany Singleton is in Year 12 and is not impressed, she complained:
‘I live many miles away from school in Weston Road, if uncle can’t take me up any closer than Morrisons then I’ll have to walk the rest of the way. It’s a disgrace, I already have to walk there and back from school at lunchtimes for a fag and to gob-off at the pensioners.’
Head of Friary School Matt Allman has written a letter of objection to the County Council, he said:
‘This is a safety issue. We have a large catchment area and many children live up to half a mile away, how can these morbidly obese pupils be expected to walk to school and back every day?
‘Even for the able-bodied kids, many of them will have to cross through the Dimbles area risking exposure to 19th century diseases and abuse from the self-styled mushroom sellers living on the Bromford sink housing estate. It’s shameful.’
Anyone wishing participate in the consultation can find more information Here
Local planning officers are celebrating another victory over their arch enemies on the Planning Committee of Lichfield District Council.
Despite planning officers recommendation to grant Revelan Group’s proposals for 77 homes on land off Eastern Avenue, the application was unanimously rejected by the Planning Committee in February.
Revelan appealed and the Planning Inspectorate has now overturned the Council’s decision. Development is now expected to start on site in 2015.
Simon Hawley of planning consultants Harris Lamb, acted on behalf of Revelan, he said:
‘This former industrial site has been vacant since 2007 and despite the Council’s belief that it would be the subject of intense interest from potential business occupiers we have managed to sign-up not a single tenant.
‘Now that we have residential planning we’ll be completing the sale of the site to a national house builder by Christmas.’
Chair of Lichfield District Council’s Planning Committee, local car mechanic Councillor Helen Fisher said:
‘We’re obviously disappointed that the Inspectorate chose to support the professional planning officer’s recommendation to grant consent, but just without the £300,000 contribution to local schools that Revelan would have paid if we had granted the application in the first place.’
The company proposed a mix of detached, semi-detached and terraced housing with an affordable housing provision that is likely to appeal only to railway enthusiasts and those who appreciate natural water features in their living room.
The Council’s rejection of the plan hinged on it’s concern about loss of “employment land” but LDC’s own Employment Land Review had actually revealed the district has an excessive quantity of suitable employment sites. Councillor Fisher commented:
‘Yep, they got us banged to rights with that one. Are they out of time to make an application for costs?’
Dick King, Lichfield District Council’s Strategic Director of Democratic, Development and Legal commented:
‘I’m delighted that I am always right, but you’ll have to excuse me, I need to focus on another round of compulsory redundancies for council staff.’
CONSTRUCTION work on a new industrial development at the former Hepworth Building Products site on Eastern Avenue is expected to start within days now that plans for 77 new homes were rejected this week by Lichfield district councillors.
Doug Brownfield, newly appointed spokesman for property developers Revelan Group said:
‘Now that the Council has finally rejected my former colleague’s half-baked plans for affordable housing with on-site water feature, we can finally get on with the development of the new industrial units. We have had potential employers and commercial property investors fighting for this space for many years. In my opinion, this is potentially the most valuable piece of industrial real estate in the country. For some reason this site has proven to be recession-proof, it’s red hot frankly.’
Jaguar Land Rover property director Kat Convertor could barely contain her enthusiasm:
‘We’ve been looking at this site for the last seven years, we had to take additional space at i54 as the Eastern Avenue option was blocked by the residential planning application. But now we’re making a formal bid. The site has everything: the West Coast Main line is virtually on site, a fully-skilled local workforce and a fast reliable train service from Lichfield Trent Virtual station.’
The residential plan had been recommended for approval by Dick King, LDC’s strategic director for democratic, development and legal services but the economic development officer objected on the grounds that if preserved as an employment site it would instantly generate over 293 new jobs.
Lichfield District Council did receive letters expressing concern over the original housing plan. It was felt issues relating to vehicles and pedestrians had not been dealt with by the proposal, spokesman Trevor Ford commented:
‘Now that the commercial development is going ahead, vehicles and pedestrians will pose no problems for the high volume of articulated lorries and vans accessing the site seven days and nights a week.’
Anyone interested in competing for space on this new development should immediately contact Revelan Group through its website to avoid disappointment