Former Friarsgate project
This page details frequently asked information about the former Friarsgate development agreement.
What were the funding arrangements for Friarsgate when Lichfield District Council approved the scheme?
The obligation under the Development Agreement was for the Developer to secure commercial funding to deliver the whole scheme, by the prescribed milestone date 30 June 2018. This would have been supplemented by agreed LEP contributions for specific elements of Public Realm and infrastructure works.
Why did we get asked to fund the scheme so late?
It is usual that development schemes of this nature are designed, planning permission is achieved, and lettings are secured before approaching the funding market. This is because it makes such schemes more attractive as they are more immediately deliverable. Usually securing funding is the final piece in the development jigsaw. Following a disappointing Christmas/New Year trading period for retailers nationwide, it was only in spring 2018 that it became clear that the only way of delivering Friarsgate was through public borrowing, and the council was asked to consider funding the scheme.
When did we become aware that the chosen developer did not have adequate financial resources to build Friarsgate?
As a major UK Developer, U&I demonstrated adequate financial resource to deliver their obligations as a delivery partner, however they were unable to secure the required funding from the Commercial funding market to deliver the scheme, due to current market conditions. This was confirmed to Lichfield District Council in March/early April 2018.
What options did we consider when it became aware that U+I did not have funding for the Friarsgate development?
We made introductions to strategic partners with a potential interest to fund Friarsgate, these were comprehensively pursued by the Developer. When the Developer invited LDC to fund, LDC promptly responded with a very comprehensive due diligence evaluation and review. The council chose not to provide funding.
How much was invested in Friarsgate?
We have has invested £6.26 million in the scheme to date, and we are budgeting to spend a further £0.43 million on land acquisition and outstanding commitments. Of this, £4.5 million has been invested in land and reclamation, for which we retain the value.
Why was the Tempest Ford garage given notice to quit and the building demolished?
We served notice on the occupiers of the garage site on the understanding that the development was set to progress to funding and construction imminently. The garage had been on a lease for 12 years, and when the occupiers took on the lease they were aware it was identified as a future development site, and that the lease would only be for a fixed period, depending on when a development came forward.
We worked closely with the occupiers to help them find an alternative site, but none were fully pursued. When the occupiers vacated the site, the buildings were demolished to reduce the council’s health, safety and insurance risks.
What will happen to the site now?
We plan to carry out consultation on future plans for the site and will involve local people and businesses in determining the most appropriate, financially beneficial and sustainable use for the site
How much have we paid in compensation to impacted businesses or individuals affected by the Friarsgate development?
No compensation has been paid to the business or individuals affected by the Friarsgate Development because of the short term nature of their leases.
View the following key releaes and statements.
To find out more, visit our Friarsgate related news releases on our website.
This page was last updated in October 2018.