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.’
Cllr Mike Wilcox, Leader of Lichfield District Council, has been nominated for the prestigious Lichfield Literature Festival Best Fiction award for his series of Friarsgate development press releases.
Festival director Jennifer Mears commented:
‘Cllr Wilcox has built up an impressive body of work over the years with the publication of his imaginative “Friarsgate Saga” press releases.
‘The series is set in Lichfield but in a parallel universe where a major redevelopment of the city centre actually takes place. The quality of the writing is so high that many members of the public believe that one day soon construction work will actually begin and Lichfield will have a new shopping centre complete with leisure facilities.’
The Wilcox Friargate Saga is supported by fictional social media coverage and a full planning application has even been submitted and granted based on detailed plans, artist’s impressions and scale Lego models of the final offering.
Ms Mears continued:
‘The lavish landscape that Cllr Wilcox has conjured up in words is comparable to Tolkien’s Middle Earth and George RR Martin’s Westeros, detailed and utterly believable but delusional nonetheless.’
Continuing the illusion, local residents have been excited to see some on-site. “engineering” activity. Lichfield amateur cyclist Paul Mycock was fixing a blow-out when the workmen arrived this week, he said:
‘I can’t believe it, work has actually started on our new shopping centre with restaurants, multi-screen cinema and luxury marina. It’s only a matter of time surely before hordes of wildebeest will be seen sweeping majestically down Birmingham Road.
‘Holes are being drilled in the Ford dealership car park and the bus station, actual real holes are being drilled with real drills, up to 16 holes I’m told. This means it’s really real, it really is really happening after all these years of hurt.’
Cllr Wilcox refused to comment on the Best Fiction nomination but did say:
‘To you, to me. U + I are meant to be.’
Lichfield Literature Festival takes place between 1 – 5 March 2017
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
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.’
‘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.’
WESTMINSTER fire minister Penny Mordaunt praised the Fire Brigades Union today for demonstrating the capacity for further job cuts within the Fire and Rescue Service.
Visiting Lichfield today Ms Mordaunt said:
‘Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service confirmed that they attended just nine incidents during the 24-hour Fire Brigades Union strike, which ended at 7am this morning. There were no incidents of note during the strike. The figures compare to 16 in 2014, 38 in 2013 and 39 in 2012. This clearly shows that by reducing the number of firefighters we are improving public safety.’
Chief Fire Officer Peter Dartford said:
‘Once again we have seen the Fire Brigades Union’s policy of strike action go up in smoke.
‘But I would like to thank local residents and motorists for not setting themselves alight nor deliberately crashing their vehicles when the strike was taking place.’
Local fire crew leader and self-employed plumber Scott Tracy commented:
‘It’s a challenging time for the lads. Job cuts will have a disastrous effect on our businesses and the public will notice a dramatic reduction in fire engine “drive-rounds” that we do in the summer months eyeing up the local talent.’
The FBU does however have plenty of support locally. Britney Singleton,19 year-old mother of five under fives from Burntwood said:
‘I’m absolutely gobsmacked, you don’t expect something like this to happen round here. I’ll definitely be supporting the “Tits Out for the Tenders” campaign. And I’ll sign another petition, provided it’s online mind.’
This was the 14th round of strike action to result in dramatic improvements in public safety since the dispute between the FBU and the Government began in September 2013. Minister Penny Mordaunt added:
‘The FBU action has proven to be so successful that when the demolition of the Lichfield Fire Station has been completed I will be recommending that the site be incorporated into the new Friarsgate shopping centre development that I understand is due to start any day now.’
The Leader of Lichfield District Council believes work on a modified and radical Friarsgate development could finally get underway.
Cllr Michael Wilcox made his comments following a tormented, Merlot induced, sleep after Wednesday’s meeting of the Strategic (Overview & Scrutiny) Committee of Lichfield District Council. The Council concluded that the City was heading for a fiscal cliff of over £1m if the original scheme had gone ahead.
The new £100 scheme will consist of shops and leisure provision, including a multi-screen cinema, a marina, a beach and herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically down Birmingham Road.
Development work is now expected to start immediately and should be completed by the end of February. Cllr Wilcox explained:
‘In the light of budgetary constraints it has been decided that the existing development agreement with S Harrison for the Friarsgate project will be terminated. I had expected their completed development to be delivered to us on time in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and again in 2013 but there is only so often that you can issue the same press release without looking like a complete fool.
‘In its place your Council will create a Virtual Friarsgate shopping and leisure centre. This online virtual reality cityscape will only be accessible from computers and mobile devices located within the city centre.’
Customers will be able to take a virtual tour of the shopping centre, calling in and shopping at Boots, Next, Marks & Spencer, Harvey Nichols and many other stores that rejected the bricks and mortar destination.
For those without the benefit of mobile computing, a new IT suite will be created within the coffee shop of Debenhams in Three Spires Shopping Centre. A spokesman for Debenhams, Mike Taylor commented:
‘We are delighted to support this initiative. Our store is in fact already a Virtual Debenhams, being much smaller than our other outlets and stocking only one item of a very limited product range. In the likely event that you want something that we do not have in stock you’re welcome to go to the Bullring.’
Additional terminals will also be available in the Lichfield Library, however there will only be limited access as the Library is never open at times when the public wish to use the facility and, in any event, all the staff will shortly be sacked and Library’s resources transferred to Stafford.
It will also provide a boost for local bar restaurant Malt, the pretty blonde girl who works there at weekends said:
‘We have put together a special ‘shoppers package’ with discounts for virtual shoppers who can enjoy fish and chips for £5 whilst awaiting the delivery of their shopping from proper retail centres within two hours of placing the online order in Virtual Lichfield.
‘I’m certainly looking forward to being able to get hold of a wider range of beauty products from Virtual Lichfield. And stop following me,’ she added.
Cllr Wilcox declared the proposal helps deliver the Council’s F4FS policy: ‘As a city we need to work together – To Me, To You, that’s my mantra.’
Beacon Street Area Residents Association (BASTARDS) spokesman Martin Littleone said:
‘We are against this proposal, it will attract illegal immigrants into my living room.’