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.
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.
Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant welcomed PM Theresa May’s announcement that the Labour Party will be consigned to history in time for the summer recess.
Mr Fabricant who was preparing to retire in 2020 now welcomes the opportunity to earn over £76,000 pa plus expenses for an additional two years. He said:
‘I welcome the PM’s bold announcement that was endorsed by a huge majority vote in the Commons. This will undoubtedly secure my place in Lichfield life for another five years. My position is unassailable and no opponent stands a chance, so I say don’t waste your £500 on the deposit, donate it to Lichfield Cathedral and help to keep my rent down.’
Cowed by the colossal Member, only one opponent has so far declared his candidacy. Lib Dem Paul Ray, a long-time loser in the public popularity stakes having chosen to be both a lawyer and a banking specialist, is an early tosser, his hat landing firmly in the ring. Mr Ray, known in District Council circles as X-Ray due to his level of invisibility at Council meetings, said:
The identity of the Labour candidate remains uncertain. Labour’s Mr Chris Whoishey who stood in the 2015 general election refused to be drawn, blaming satnav malfunctions for being unable to visit the constituency from his home somewhere in the Black Country. He said:
District councillor Sue Woodward has been inundated with emails, texts and tweets urging her to stand as Labour’s candidate. Despite being recently distracted by an irritating burning bush on Gentleshaw Common Mrs Norman has found time to treat herself to a makeover and has become a fluent French speaker. She said:
‘Le Fabricunt! Il est un tas de merde!’
Having yet to be formally selected by his local constituency party, Mr Fabricant expressed concerns about the outcome of the West Midlands Mayoral election on 4 May where his long time chum Andy Street is the Conservative candidate. Mr Fabricant said:
‘The BBC hustings on Thursday evening showed the fraudster Simone Simone to be head and shoulders above the diminutive Andy despite Andy being way ahead on my poll.
‘If Andy doesn’t get elected on 4 May he’ll be unemployed and I know he’s had his eye on my seat for years.’
International health club group Virgin Active is expected to bid for Friary Grange and Burntwood Leisure centres following the announcement by Lichfield District Council of plans to abdicate its civic responsibility and off load public assets onto the private sector.
Virgin Active is already operating a successful gym at Wall Island, a health club location that is only accessible by car. General manager Paul Mycock said:
‘Taking on one or both of these leisure facilities would certainly compliment and enhance our local offering. Wall Island caters for the upwardly-mobile, middle class, vigorous penis-towelling, BMW driving pricks on their way to and from their Birmingham offices. Our vision for Friary Grange is that it will be re-branded as a Virgin InActive Centre of Physical Excellence, appealing to local mums who’ve let themselves go after years toiling away in loveless marriages to BMW driving, vigorous penis-towelling husbands.’
Mercifully elected Liberal Democrat Councillor Paul Ray said that any moves to outsource the district’s two leisure centres needed to have proven benefits. The Twitter-blocking, BMW-driving Birmingham banking lawyer, councillor for Chadsmead, commented:
‘I can see some real community benefits in a “Virgin InActive” at the Friary Grange site, Mrs Ray certainly fits the demographic and is always keen to get out of the house, especially when I’m there.’
Councillor Andy Smith, Cabinet member for leisure at Lichfield District Council, said he was committed to ensuring any deal worked for local residents. He is particularly concerned to see that any change to Burntwood Leisure Centre is tailored to meet the special needs of the community.
Virgin’s Paul Mycock is up for the challenge, he commented:
‘For Burntwood we are recommending our “Active Virgins” brand. The emphasis will be on high-intensity interval training. It lasts a matter of minutes, leaving plenty of time for high-intensity enjoyment of the centre’s enhanced restaurant facilities offering a wide selection of deep fat fried filth for those who find themselves between meaningful lives.
‘We will retain the swimming bath of course, but we will shift the emphasis from “bath” to “swimming”, there will a complete ban on shampoo and wet wipes in the pool.’
Former Butcher of Burntwood, Steve Norman, who has recently changed his name by deed poll to “Councillor Steve Norman”, said:
‘It’s a load of old bowlocks, I say bowlocks, there’s not been a successful Virgin in Burntwood since 1952. Isn’t that right my love?’
Cllr Sue Woodward was unavailable for comment. [Ed: Really?]
Following the recent resignation of Marion Bland as local district councillor, Paul Ray of Chadsmead Liberal Democrats has declared his intention to stand in the forthcoming by-elections to Lichfield District and Lichfield City Councils.
As a banking lawyer with Midland law firm Browne Jacobson, Mr Ray has successfully blended two of the most derided professions into one career. A serial electoral loser Mr Ray commented:
‘I have worked closely with Marion, helping and advising her for many years – I’m pleased to say that she eventually took the hint and resigned. For the record I’d like to praise Marion for all the hard work that she has put in over the years and to personally thank her for keeping the seat warm – a job she is admirably equipped to do.’
Tributes have poured in from across the political spectrum. Labour group leader Sue Norman said:
‘I’d like to thank Marion for her valuable contributions to Council meetings. Yes, I’d like to, but..’
A local authority officer commented:
‘Marion can be quite a formidable lady, especially when drinking pints and wearing lederhosen.’
Mrs Bland spoke of her resignation, she said:
‘I’m resigned to the piss poor prospects for the LibDems nationally and locally, it makes me sick so I’m off. In the circumstances Paul Ray is the ideal candidate to enhance my reputation, folks will look back and say, you know she wasn’t that bad in comparison.
‘Paul upholds many traditional LibDem values, particularly the ability to lose elections. He lost to me in 2012 and again 2015 when he simultaneously lost the Parliamentary election, quite a track record even for a LibDem.’
Paul Ray has never lived in Chadsmead for over 14 years, he is married with children. Paul’s wife Xena Ray is his strongest supporter, she commented:
‘This is great news for Poor, I’m pleased Marion eventually saw sense. His work out in the badlands takes him away most evenings and weekends, we hardly ever see him – it’s great. He hasn’t even realised that we’ve moved out yet.’
As the nation decides and the voters of Lichfield (and half a dozen folks from Burntwood) anoint Michael Fabricant on his triumphant return to Cathedral Close for another term, what becomes of the other candidates?
Chris Worse-y (Labour) leaves Lichfield for the final time and returns to his real life as a Sandwell Councillor hoping to be nominated in a West Midlands constituency that he is actually interested in when he leaves college in five years time.
The LibDem candidate Poor Ray, having failed to be elected either as our new MP or as councillor for Chadsmead returns to his charismatic and ever popular day job as a banking lawyer. The only chance he has of being called “councillor” [sic] is if he transfers to the New York Bar.
Pub Landlord, “the Gu’vnor” Johnny Rackman returns to the Kings Head stunned by the fact that despite the height of his campaign being his faltering rendition of sections of the UKIP manifesto, he has actually come second. Hosting a “private” party in the pub into the early hours of Friday morning celebrating the life of the comedy script writer Roy Clarke, the ruddy faced drunks head off to Burntwood Leisure Centre for the count.
On hearing the declaration he becomes giddy, not through an excess of Pedigree ale but rocked by the realisation of “what the fuck would I have done if I’d actually won”
Rob Pass of the Green Party impressed many during the campaign and benefited from the piss-poor performance of the
LibDems. When even the LibDems own campaign team say they’ll vote for another candidate you know it’s not going to end well. As a result the Greens keep their deposit and the passionate and earnest Pass returns to his beloved Tree house hoping that the coming years will involve more sex.
Water-gypsy and angry T-shirt printer Andy Bennetts burst onto the Lichfield political scene as the Class War Party candidate. Class War is a party of shaven-headed banner-waving drunks, the Provisional Wing of the Labour Party, whose image prompted Michael Fabricant to call for police protection at the Cathedral hustings.
In reality Bennetts fought a refreshing, articulate and entertaining campaign and captured the nature of the constituency perfectly. My favourite moment was at Speakers Corner where a CND/Green lady urged the crowd to join a protest against Trident outside of Waterstones in Birmingham the following day. Bennetts responded:
‘I don’t think there are any nuclear weapons in Waterstones Birmingham, so if you’re serious about protesting get a train to Faslane.’
A Class Act yet he loses his deposit but having been out drinking all day he doesn’t give a toss, after all it wasn’t his fucking money anyway.
The Stick was a late-comer but wowed the crowd with his appearance as Michael Fabricant’s alter-ego at the Speakers’ Corner hustings. He listened carefully to the debate, allowing the other candidates to put their case undaunted by the presence of the great parliamentarian himself. On international affairs Stick remained tight lipped about his travels far and wide around the globe, thereby avoiding the crowd’s heckle: “Pity you never managed to find Burntwood.”
Stick will now assist Michael Fabricant with his constituency work. Whilst Mr Fabricant is busy drinking with cronies in Cafe Nero or retweeting Twanks to his sycophantic Twitter followers, Stick will be holding the fort in Burntwood. Regular surgeries will be the order of the day, Stick will go along to the Leisure Centre twice a month and listen attentively to the health and welfare concerns of the Lost Tribe.
Stick will then say nothing and do nothing, just like Mr Fabricant himself.
Anyone who is concerned about the outcome of this election is advised to wait, another may well be on its way sooner than expected.
As the 2015 General Election campaign gets into it’s stride Lichfield’s Green Party candidate Robert Pass declares that when he is elected as MP Lichfield will become the UK’s first independent Amish community.
Rob will contest the seat currently held by Michael Fabricant on May 7. He grew up in Whittington and attended school in Lichfield before studying Old Chinese Proverbs at Birmingham University. He has also been an environmental campaigner with Birmingham Friends of the Earth and works in the family rag-and-bone company, “Where There’s Muck There’s Money” Limited based in Birmingham.
‘Admittedly I’ve never travelled very far from home in my life, but then a pony and trap has a very limited range.’
The Green Party’s local spokesperson is Whittington based Simon Partridge. The self-styled “Elegant Vintage Vocalist” and lounge lizard crooned:
‘There may be trouble ahead, but while there’s moonlight and music and love and romance, we couldn’t have hoped for a better candidate than Robert to represent the Green Party. And dance.’
The Green’s launch party was held at Burntwood Rugby Club where the campaign’s incoherent national policy was explained to an uninterested audience. Attracted to the event by the warmth of the venue on a freezing-cold Sunday afternoon and with the promise of free lentil soup and herbal tea, the five locals were left bemused by the Green Party policy pledges (many of which are true) including:
Handouts of £250 billion to enable people to “choose whether or not to bother going to work.”
Basic maths and economics – banned as irrelevant
Inheritance tax – 100%
Cars – banned
Foreign holidays – banned
Imports – banned
The sex industry- compulsory.
Prisons closed and inmates released to work on the land and paint barns doors.
Independent schools – banned.
Religious instruction – banned.
Basket weaving,ploughing and tree-whispering will become core subjects.
Wispy beards compulsory for all, including womenfolk
Advertising – banned.
International sporting fixtures – banned.
New airports – banned.
New homes and businesses to provide stables for horses.
Helicopters – banned.
Abortion liberalised to allow doctor’s receptionists to carry out the procedure
Breastfeeding in public – compulsory
Membership of a terrorist groups – discretionary
As the standing Armed services are “unnecessary”, bases will be turned into nature reserves and the arms industry “converted” to produce wind turbines.
The monarchy will be abolished and the Queen will become a tenant of Bromford Housing
During the eight hour launch party Mr Partridge glided amongst the gatherers to give wonderful renditions of timeless Green Party classics such as Pennies From Heaven, Call Me Irresponsible and Anything Goes . Rob was delighted and commented:
‘A big thanks to Lloyd the Bartender, this style of music has always appealed to the Greens – the Big Banned Sound.’
Speaking later from his home in the Tree-house at the bottom of his parents’ garden, Rob said:
‘The Green Party offers a truly bonkers alternative to real world politics. I’m proud to stand as Green Party candidate in my home city and pledge to fight for an economy that functions in the interests of the common good, for a society that is fair and democratic…’
‘…and a planet that is habitable for future generations Rob,’ prompted the Tree, quietly but with a hint of menace.
Anyone wishing to send their loved ones off in style can contact Simon for a funeral wake package at www.simonpartridge.com
The candidates standing in the Lichfield constituency in May are:
Andy Bennetts – EDL Splinter Left Drunk Faction Party