The design of Lichfield’s fabled Friarsgate shopping centre development may be hopelessly dated by the time it is completed claims a local historian.
Amateur time-detective Caitlin Gonzalez has expressed concerns that the plans for Lichfield’s cutting edge retail offer will be outdated by the time that the development emerges Phoenix-like from the ashes of the Conservative District Council dreams. Mrs Gonzalez said:
‘I’ve been going through the local history archives hoping to find a photograph or drawing of a tree root that resembles a goblin’s todger, but to my delight I happened across the original planning application for the fabled Friarsgate Shopping centre dating back to 1962.’
The long awaited City centre regeneration has been derailed on many occasions by external events well beyond the control of the District Council, claims current Council leader Mike Wiltcox. He said:
‘The original plans were put on hold in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis and again in 1963 as a mark of respect for JFK. The Space Race in the ‘60’s meant that all public funding for Lichfield was diverted into the effort to land Man on the Moon before the end of the decade. And so it went on, none of the delays have been the fault of the Council.’
Further delays are now expected as the Council consider putting back three strategically important milestones in the optimistically-named Development Agreement.
As part of the Lichfield Festival the Council has commissioned local sculptor and artist Peter Walker to create three commemorative milestones. The artist commented:
‘These milestones will be symbolic and will be a visual demonstration of the Council’s commitment to keeping the Friarsgate project on the road to success. I can reveal that the first one called “Lichfield 4 miles”, originally located on the A51 at Packington will now be reimagined and installed on the A5 at Atherstone. Yes, we’re on the right road but it may take longer than expected.’
The Council declined to reveal the proposed locations of the two remaining milestones as this was commercially sensitive and could have an impact on the financial viability of the Council.