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High Street Collapses Put West Midlands Retail Schemes At Risk


Two years after U+I won planning permission, and 12 years after the scheme was launched, the latest rash of retail collapses could spell the end of the road for the £79M Lichfield Friargate development.

Lichfield council is reconsidering the 200K SF scheme's future on 30 May after development partner U+I said it had not found a funding partner, The Birmingham Post reported.

The move comes in the week after Marks & Spencer announced further closures. The latest announcements follow a roll call of the tenants the Lichfield scheme might have been expecting to sign, from Maplin to Mothercare, closing vast numbers of stores.

The cinema-anchored development was to have been provisionally awarded a grant of £2.7M from Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, with further grant funding of £2.4M from the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP.

U+I won approval for a revised planning consent in 2016. It reduced the retail element from the 293K SF approved in 2006, down to 163K SF. But even this might be too much in a radically changed retail scene.

The spate of retail closures and administrations is also putting existing West Midlands retail schemes at risk, with Walsall's Saddlers Centre said to be among those in danger.