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Words: Glynis Fox
Photography: Mick Fox
Featured in the March 2015 issue

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Lincoln can justifiably be called a “happening city” as it gears up to capitalise on a milestone year in its history.

2015 started on a high note, driven by rising interest in the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, which has helped to thrust the city into the international spotlight, ahead of a raft of celebrations planned around the weekend of 13th and 14th June.

This anniversary is hugely important to the city. Lincoln Cathedral owns just one of four surviving copies of the 1215 document – sealed on 15th June by King John at Runnymede.

In recognition of this, organisations citywide are busy finalising an amazing calendar of events, including lively festivals and unmissable lectures.

Together, with the reopening of Lincoln Castle, following a £22 million revamp, which includes a new state-of-the-art visitor centre for Lincoln’s Magna Carta and also The Charter of the Forest, these events are expected to supercharge the city’s tourism economy.

Visit Lincoln Partnership manager, Emma Tatlow said: “What many people don’t realise is that Lincoln has a brilliant ‘trump card’, as the only place in the world where people can see the 1215 Magna Carta and the 1217 Charter of the Forest side by side.”

Lincoln BIG is working closely with ArtReach on a Night of Festivals celebration which promises to bring a carnival spirit to different areas of the city centre during the city’s Great Magna Carta Weekend.

Another exciting attraction to look forward to is the Lincoln Barons’ Charter Trail. Lincoln BIG has teamed up with Wild in Art – a leading creative producer of spectacular, mass appeal arts events – to devise a quirky sculpture trail.

This will be similar to one due to be installed in Salisbury, Lincoln’s sister Magna Carta city.

Lincoln BIG chief executive Matt Corrigan said: “We have invited businesses and organisations to sponsor what starts out as a blank sculpture and we are hoping that the finished trail will feature up to twenty-five eye-catching Baron figures.

“Each will be decorated by a professional artist, who will work with each individual sponsor, so the finished trail could include everything from a construction Baron to an engineer Baron, lawyer Baron or even a Steampunk Baron.”

Apart from the publicity factor, there’s another great reason to become a sponsor: after the Lincoln Barons’ Charter Trail finishes, the sculptures will be auctioned off in aid of the Trussell Trust – a national charity which operates foodbanks. Money raised locally will be spent in the Lincoln area.

The unveiling of the Lincoln Tank Memorial on the University of Lincoln roundabout is due to take place on 10th May and, from June, people should also look out for the Spire at the International Bomber Command Centre, which is being built off Canwick Hill. Both memorials are expected to bring more visitors to the Lincoln area.

Already the signs are good. In January, the Lincoln Visitor Information Centre saw a rise in the number of people popping into the Castle Hill facility, compared with the same time a year ago.

Visitor Information Centre manager, Michele Sims said: “On average, we have 150,000 coming through our door every year. But our figures for January 2015, are already up by 31 per cent in terms of footfall and by 46 per cent in relation to sales – compared to January 2014.”

And, with so much buzz about Lincoln this year, there is bound to be something for everyone to enjoy and a great spin-off for the city’s hotels, guesthouses, shops and eateries.

At the same time, Lincoln continues to change physically. Everywhere you turn, highways engineers, builders and shopfitters are hard at work.

Projects under way include construction of the new congestion-busting East-West Link Road, a new pedestrian footbridge spanning the railway, further expansion at the University of Lincoln, extra student accommodation and retail refits.

And, as if this wasn’t enough, people are being asked what they think about more big spending proposals, which are designed to complement Lincoln’s growth by improving travel and transport facilities.

There are also plans to pedestrianise a futher section of the High Street, between the St Mary’s Street level crossing and Tentercroft Street.

This also fits in with major aspirations to see Lincoln’s shopping offer expand further, to create an irresistible mix of stores to attract retail therapy seekers in search of the best in niche and national-name shopping, along with great cafes, and restaurants.

Now Lincolnshire Life readers are being encouraged to make sure they have their say on a £25m project, which has the potential to reinvigorate another key part of the city centre.

The City of Lincoln Council is keen to hear people’s views on its plans for a dedicated transport hub, featuring a new bus station sited close to an improved railway.

A dual-purpose footbridge over the railway – connecting St Mary’s Street and Tentercroft Street – is part of the plan, along with a 1,000-space multistorey car park.

City of Lincoln Council Leader, Councillor Ric Metcalfe said: “This is a really exciting project with the potential to regenerate Lincoln city centre, bringing huge benefits to residents, visitors and businesses.

“There is a clear need for an integrated transport hub that would allow both the bus and train stations to cope with more passengers and pave the way for the possibility of more services in the future, helping to encourage growth.”

The online consultation closes at 5pm on 2nd March and a planning application is due to be submitted later this year.

Early last year this project received £11m in indicative funding through the Single Local Growth Fund from the Department of Transport.

If funding for the project is successful, and subject to it getting planning permission and securing additional monies, the scheme would be delivered by the city council in partnership with Lincolnshire Co-operative and Network Rail – working with East Midlands Trains and Lincolnshire County Council.

The regeneration scheme would involve demolishing the existing, outdated bus station – which is currently used by seven million passengers every year – and building a better facility next to the train station.

Read more about the plans at www.lincoln/gov/uk/transporthub and take part in the consultation at www.lincoln.gov.uk/transporthubconsultation

The proposed Lindongate shopping complex would also enhance this area.

Chartered surveyor Banks Long & Co managing director, Tim Bradford said: “The funding that’s been made available to help create a new public transport interchange is good news.

“The interchange is one of the important stages in the transformation and development of that part of Lincoln and it will make such a difference to local people.

“The Lindongate scheme will also contribute to the revitalisation of that area of the city centre. The projects complement each other.

“We’re continually working with Lincolnshire Co-op on Lindongate and a lot of activity has been taking place behind the scenes. We hope to have further news to share publically in coming weeks.”

BE PART OF IT

Lincoln’s 2015 Calendar is crammed with arts, cultural and historic highlights.

They include:
The Magna Carta Lecture series – a programme hosted by Lincoln Cathedral, the University of Lincoln, Bishop Grosseteste University and Lincoln’s Theological Society.

It features top flight speakers, including Tristram Hunt and the Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney, who will be exploring this historic document and the themes of liberty, justice and democracy.

The next events in the programme are:
24th March – University of Lincoln (6pm–7pm) ‘Who Wrote Magna Carta?’ Professor Nicholas Vincent FBA. Each year the university hosts its Annual Medieval Lecture and this time around it is being delivered as part of the Magna Carta series.
27th March – University of Lincoln (6pm–7pm) Chief Executive of the British Library Roly Keating brings his expertise and knowledge to this wonderful series of lectures.
1st–2nd April sees the Grand Reopening of Lincoln Castle. Visitors will be able to enjoy the Medieval Wall Walk, visit Magna Carta and the Charter of the Forest in the new David P J Ross Magna Carta Vault, and check out the imposing Victorian Prison.

The Castle is hosting its own programme of events this year, including Grand Medieval Jousts, outdoor film, theatre and themed weekends. A highlight will see this historic monument open its gates to visitors free of charge, during daylight hours.

13th–14th June is the Great Magna Carta Weekend which promises to be a feast of music, carnivals, family entertainment and a celebration in Lincoln Castle.

People will also be able to see some of the county’s finest treasures, from manuscripts to jewels, maps and more, when they visit The Collection, The Usher Gallery, Wren Library (Lincoln Cathedral) and Lincoln Castle during Lincolnshire’s Great Exhibition, which runs from 27th June to 27th September.

And music lovers won’t want to miss the Eastern Three Choirs Festival (18th–21st June) when Lincoln Cathedral’s Choir will join others from Southwell and Peterborough to perform specially commissioned pieces, featuring classical artists.

For more information about the above and other events, please see www.visitlincoln.com

DR MARTIN SMITH SHORTLISTED FOR NATIONAL AWARD
Dr Martin Smith, of Martin Smith Opticians in Lincoln, has been shortlisted for the acclaimed title of Optometrist of the Year 2015 in the National Optician Awards.

Optometrist of the Year is the industry’s most prestigious national award and is given to the optometrist who uses their optometric skills and clinical techniques to enhance the lives of patients, and the community.

One of only five optometrists nationally to be shortlisted, Dr Smith will attend a glamorous ceremony on 18th April at the Metropole Hotel in Birmingham when the winner will be announced.

Dr Smith is striving to position Martin Smith Opticians as the leading independent opticians in the East Midlands area, offering professional eye care and outstanding service in the local community. Customer service is the top consideration for this innovative practice, and Dr Martin Smith is leading from the front. In 2014 he became the youngest Doctor of Optometry in the UK, and one of just six in the whole of the UK with this highest professional qualification. This fantastic achievement benefits all patients of the practice as they are seeing an acclaimed expert in the field of optometry.

HIREBIKE SCHEME EXPANDS IN LINCOLN
Lincolnshire County Council’s bike hire scheme, Hirebike, is expanding in spring, with additional stations and bikes.

One hundred bikes will be available to rent from nineteen stations across the city – with six new locations being launched by April.

Since the scheme first launched in August 2013, more than 3,000 bikes have been rented. A Hirebike Lincoln app is now available on Android, and a casual day tariff has been introduced for city visitors.

There are two tariffs available for anyone wanting to rent a bike:

• Annual membership – ideal for residents and commuters
• Day tariff – for visitors or casual users. Users can rent a bike from £1 per hour, maximum £5 per rental.

To get started visit www.hirebikelincoln.co.uk, or call 01522 370 143 within office hours.

Hirebike is funded by Access LN6 at Lincolnshire County Council until 31st March 2015. From 1st April 2015, the annual membership fee will increase.

FAMILY RUN SKIP HIRE IN LINCOLN
Skip Hire Lincoln are a family run business, providing professional skip hire and clearance services throughout Lincoln and surrounding villages. They offer a friendly, helpful approach to clearing out waste. Whatever you need to clear, they are there to help you in any way they can. Just give them a call and they will be happy to advise.

Skip Hire Lincoln deliver skips six days a week, subject to availability and a skip filling service is also available. Their clearance service carries out full house clearances and office clearance, and removes waste and unwanted items from areas where a skip is not suitable.

Their uniformed staff are always helpful and always on hand to offer practical advice. Skip Hire Lincoln are registered waste carriers, fully licensed with the Environment Agency. Being committed to recycling and reducing landfill, all the waste they collect is taken to their own licensed Waste Management Facility, where it is sorted by hand so that as much waste as possible can be recycled. Tel: 01522 856028.

GOLDING YOUNG & MAWER
One of Lincolnshire’s oldest auctioneers and valuers, Golding Young & Mawer regularly sells to buyers in up to ten countries during its auctions.

The company, which celebrated its 150th year last year, holds monthly sales at its Lincoln, Grantham and Bourne Auction Rooms each month.

Following its first art valuation in Europe in 2008, the auctioneers and valuers has been awarded a major four-year contract to work on behalf of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to professionally value artworks and antiquities for its annual accounts.

The contract has already taken the firm’s three senior valuers William Gregory, John Leatt and Colin Young to properties in Ankara, Istanbul, Madrid, Paris, Rome, Vienna and Warsaw in the last year. This year, the valuers have already spent a week in Washington, and are looking forward to future visits to Brazil, Tokyo, Bangkok, and 2016 will see them travel to Cairo and cities in South Africa.

The Private Client and Professional Services Department has been headed by William Gregory since his return to the Lincoln Auction Rooms in 2010, where he first trained and qualified. Mr Gregory said: “We are delighted to be awarded this major valuation contract which underlines the importance of using a firm regulated by RICS for any formal valuations.”

UNIVERSITY OF LINCOLN UPDATE
Ongoing developments at the University are clear evidence of Lincoln’s continuing growth. 2014 was an incredibly exciting year for the University, heralding the opening of the new state-of-the-art Joseph Banks Laboratories.

The new facility, which has become the base for the University’s Schools of Life Sciences, Chemistry, and Pharmacy, welcomed around 1,300 students and staff for the start of the 2014/15 academic year.

Adapted from an existing industrial building, the laboratories form the centrepiece of the Lincoln Science and Innovation Park, a visionary partnership between the University of Lincoln and Lincolnshire Co-op.

The science park will provide a focal point for world-class science research and technological innovation, with the aim of becoming the hub of economic regeneration in Lincoln.

New for 2015 is the University’s School of Mathematics & Physics, which is supported by an investment from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). It will open its doors to undergraduate (BSc) and postgraduate (MMaths and MPhys) students in September.

The School has been created in response to the huge demand for graduates with a deep understanding of maths and physics in the complex high-tech industries which flourish in today’s global economy.

With a strong focus on the student experience and employability, a distinctive feature of the courses will be the availability of industrial placements, with students taking part in applied, real-world research during final year projects and internships.

The School of Mathematics & Physics will be located alongside the University’s Schools of Engineering and Computer Science on the main Brayford Pool campus.

The University has been awarded an additional £5 million from HEFCE to invest in STEM teaching facilities,  as part of a planned expansion of the existing Engineering Hub, which will be renamed the Isaac Newton Building.

The University has also announced plans for the Boole Technology Centre, which will complete the first phase of the Lincoln Science and Innovation Park. Funding has been secured through the Government’s Growth Deal via the Greater Lincolnshire LEP.

It is estimated that the Centre will house between 95 and 140 highly-skilled employees when fully occupied, and has been designed to provide a combination of laboratory, workshop and shared working space that will be specifically targeted towards advanced engineering and manufacturing businesses.

The project will build on the growing reputation of the University of Lincoln in attracting resources to the area and nurturing the growth of new enterprises in the county. 

Andrew Stevenson, director of Research and Enterprise at the University of Lincoln, said: “Lincoln Science & Innovation Park will create a community where the organic exchange of ideas, skills and funding between businesses and academia will bring mutual benefits.

“The University of Lincoln has an established reputation for developing industry relevant research which drives growth and the Boole Technology Centre will play a significant part in attracting technology-led businesses to the area,” he added.

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