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02/Sep/2013 – LDC's Friary Outer Blog: See, hear & speak no evil

posted 2 Sep 2013, 01:06 by Andre Hefer   [ updated 2 Sep 2013, 02:37 ]
Lichfield District Council parking surpluses
The Friary Outer development is running late and work on the Premier Inn is yet to start. This much is obvious. BSARA wrote to Cllr Mike Wilcox, leader of Lichfield District Council asking for an update. We feel that the Friary Outer Blog, has little to offer beyond what can be observed by peering over the fence. BSARA Chairman, Bob Smith, wrote to District Councillors on 01/Aug and received a reply from Cllr Mike Wilcox on 09/August. Copies are attached at the foot of this web post. Combining Cllr Wilcox’s reply with a recent parking report to the Operational Services Scrutiny Committee it is clear that:
  • The Council borrowed £1.92M to create more parking capacity when demand is falling.
  • The Council says that its parking revenues have fallen 25% in three years. Motorists prefer supermarket car parks or street parking because it’s free.
  • The Council committed to the Friary Outer development when it knew construction contracts were not in place for either the Premier Inn or the Friarsgate shops. The Birmingham Road multi-story car park, next to Debenhams, is the second most popular car park that the Council operates. Only Bird Street car park (Woollies) is more popular. With Friarsgate stuck on the drawing board there seems no good reason to shut this popular site.

The District Council has, on the face of it, burdened its residents with a debt of almost £2M so that it can gamble on the Friarsgate retail development proceeding. This is against a background of service cuts, and the Fit for the Future cost reduction campaign.

Fit for the Future is effectively an emergency budget to deal with the Council’s deteriorating financial position.

With local government being urged to be more open and transparent it is unfortunate that there is such a gap between the Friary Outer Blog's spin and reality – see quotes below.

Correspondence with District Council attached at foot of this post.


Apr/2013 – Legal Notice in Mercury admits delay

"Due to unforeseen circumstances, the works, which were due to be completed by Friday 29/March/2013, have now been delayed, and the anticipated end date is now Wednesday 11/December/2013"

Three wise monkeys, Toshogu shrine, Nikko, Japan
Aug/2013 – Weasel words on Council blog suggest further delays

"Work on the hotel hasn’t started yet, however the contractor is gearing up to start and we hope that things should get underway in the autumn."

Source: Lichfield District Council, Friary Outer redevelopment blog, August Update.

Image: Wikipedia Three wise monkeys , Toshogu shrine, Nikko, Japan
Copyright © 2003 David Monniaux. Used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 1.0 Generic license.

Performance Management – Lichfield District Councils 2013/14 – One Year Action Plan

"Economic goal: We’ll grow our local economy with an improved retail offer in both Lichfield and Burtwood …

Developments delivered to budget and on time including:

  • Friary Car Park by spring 2013
  • Repair of city centre paving scheme by March 2014
  • Outstanding archaeological works (Cross Keys Car Park) by July 2013"
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Andre Hefer,
2 Sep 2013, 02:32
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Andre Hefer,
2 Sep 2013, 02:31
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Andre Hefer,
2 Sep 2013, 02:32