Cinema is key to £100m Lichfield shops scheme

Big-name operators are clamouring to run the new cinema in Lichfield's £100 million Friarsgate development, it emerged today.

Cinema is key to £100m Lichfield shops scheme

Big-name operators are clamouring to run the new cinema in Lichfield's £100 million Friarsgate development, it emerged today.

Bosses revealed there is a lot of interest in the scheme as they unveiled revised plans following a public consultation.

The main change is the scrapping of a planned hotel to make more space for shops. Other alterations include improved links between Friarsgate and the existing shopping area of the city, better parking facilities and more space for shops and the new digital cinema.

However, the main shape of the scheme remains the same and will be anchored by a major department store.

David Clancy, director of S Harrison Developments Ltd, which submitted the plans, said: "Within the new design we have improved the parking layout and created an even better mix of retail units.

"The cinema has attracted interest from major operators and an announcement is expected later this year about who will operate what will be one of the region's first purpose-built, fully digital cinema complexes.

"Despite tough trading conditions nationally there is interest in the Friarsgate development from a hard-pressed high street retail sector. It is an indication of the appeal of the city that brand-leading and specialist retailers and restaurant chains are expressing their desire to be a part of the scheme."

Around 500 people attended the two-day consultation exhibition. If the revised scheme gets the go-ahead, it will create hundreds of new jobs.

Research shows Friarsgate would move Lichfield 108 places up the UK town shopping rankings.

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