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Words: Melanie Burton
Photography: Mick Fox
Featured in the May 2016 issue

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Though located in the shadow of the busier and bigger city of Lincoln, you will find lively communities with excellent amenities right on the doorstep.

Expansion is the name of the game in North Hykeham, with new and exciting opportunities for active fun taking shape, improvement work being carried out at the nature centre and new workshop units being created at its flagship business park.

North Hykeham not only has its own swimming pool and leisure centre but its own theatre, museum and a major supermarket.

Following a massive £3.6m refurbishment, the popular North Kesteven Sports Centre has been reshaped and reinvigorated with a bright new cheery, more family-friendly appeal.

Seen nowhere else in Britain, an interactive waterslide will be a key attraction at the new ONE NK sports centre when it reopens in North Hykeham this month.

As well as the sweeping interactive I-Slide with press buttons, lights and sounds, where users can theme their ride and have photos taken as they shoot down, the refurbishment also includes a toddler-focused splash zone inspired by Magna Carta, featuring castle walls, secret doors, horses, slides, water spouts and shallow paddling pool; more space around the swimming pool and an expanded new gym, dance and cycling studios offering state-of-the-art equipment.

There is a new open plan reception with café, new multi-sport outdoor 3G pitches and all-round improved heating, lighting and air-conditioning.

The refurbishment creates a fantastic family experience, and enables new competitive swimming galas to be held.

North Kesteven District Council leader Councillor Marion Brighton said the council’s main aim throughout has been to meet the needs of the customer by listening to and acting on a range of views which have helped to shape the new centre.

“Historically one of the centre’s most distinctive and popular features has been its flume and so we are thrilled to be able to pioneer an innovative new concept in water slides as a part of our refreshed centre,” said Coun Brighton.

“We know from the enthusiasm of the young people who have helped in the design of the I-Slide, with input on its name and the themes users can select from when choosing their ride experience, that it’s going to be a real success – unique to this area.

“As a council we remain committed to arts and leisure in the district, ensuring there are places people can go to enable them to lead fit, active and healthy lives.”

In addition to the improvements at the sports centre, children’s play facilities at the Whisby Natural World Centre are also receiving a makeover to create all-weather indoor play and extended fun.

There are three refurbishment projects taking place this spring, totalling around £250,000.

Already making a massive impact on young visitors, the Otter’s Reach indoor play area has been in place since mid-April. It is inspired by the success of Little Darters, providing an all-weather experience and educational resource for smaller tots, alongside the shop.

It includes climbing nets, a miniature gravel plant with hands-on features and grabber crane, Bulrush stilt posts, Raptors nest pod and a hands-on, touch-feel nature discovery zone.

The concept takes a journey through Whisby from its origins as a gravel pit thirty years ago to the wildlife haven of today.

Outdoors, the award-winning and hugely popular Little Darters Wildlife Adventure Area is also being transformed to feature an assault course with balance ropes and a new lookout tower. This is also free to use, creating physical challenges and fun.

The bird hide and pontoon which are part of the current Little Darters are being relocated for better viewing of new island habitats within the large central Thorpe Lake. A new octagonal tower will provide a lookout over the island and the start of the mini assault course.

“The whole thing is designed for younger children to increase activity, with a safety flooring that looks like bark,” explained a spokesman. “In the final phase of improvements, the centre’s basement will be remodelled to provide an exhibition gallery.”

Repeatedly awarded the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence, the Natural World Centre remains popular with
approximately 200,000 visitors each year.

Work is underway to expand and extend the successful Hirebike provision, which stretches into the town.

Working with Lincolnshire County Council, NKDC is looking to secure further sites for the distinctive orange bikes within the North and South Hykeham areas. The latest is at the new ONE NK sports centre.

There are currently 100 bikes located at nineteen stations which can be unlocked and pedalled from place to place for commuting, shopping or leisure use.

More far-flung destinations are being added to the network and there is work ongoing to secure a new site in the Lincoln Road/Mill Lane area of North Hykeham.

With five stations in Hykeham and the scheme’s most popular in Skellingthorpe, you can hop on and off at ease, cutting congestion and journey time as with the blue Boris Bikes in London.

New and expanding businesses are settling into the new workshop units created at Teal Park, which is one of the region’s premier employment locations.

Responding to a need for small, flexible, low-cost start-up units within the increasingly popular LN6 business growth zone, North Kesteven District Council has delivered a £2m investment to create nineteen new unit spaces.

Before they were even completed there were five tenants signed up, with a further two committed and considerable interest in the remaining units.

New occupant Ian Edwards, who moved EICS Products Ltd from a home-based operation engineering and re-manufacturing automotive components, turbochargers, control panels and the like for ex-military, commercial, engineering and automotive applications, is so happy with his new space that he already has aspirations to expand to a larger unit.

“This is exactly what we wanted, where we wanted it, with excellent transport links and accessibility to other specialist businesses,” he said. “We tried everyone and everywhere to find a unit that was right for us and this was the best that came up, built to the highest spec and with the best facilities; it’s just perfect.”

Business interests onsite include the secure storage of wills and documents, bespoke joinery, specialist engineering, photography, hydraulics and mobile ice cream sales.

Coun Marion Brighton, who takes a particularly active interest in promoting business growth and economic development, said: “We knew all along that there would be high demand for these units, given the expressed need for them from growing enterprises.

“Our instinctive response was to invest in this way and to have so many let and such levels of interest before they were even completed or marketed is a strong mark of confidence in our foresight and vision.

“Blackwood Court was conceived with the express intention of supporting new and expanding businesses and these new nineteen units are clearly meeting that need, as are all of our similar units across nine locations.

“This part of North Hykeham is developing a strong reputation as a distinct and desirable place to do business and we are very pleased to welcome more businesses to join in with that enterprising spirit.

The Blackwood Court units range in size from 500 sq ft to 2,000 sq ft.

“There is a natural synergy between our own development and the larger units at the adjacent Vincent Court, which will hopefully encourage those fledgling businesses which outgrow Blackwood Court through their continued success, to stay in the area and carry on contributing to the vitality of the LN6 business community which we are working so hard to foster,” said Coun Brighton.

South Hykeham is a village just outside North Hykeham which has two distinct areas – the quiet rural old village and the newer busier suburban area which has gown up along Newark Road.

The village was mentioned in the Doomsday Book of 1086 when it was described as ‘Hichum’ and consisted of fourteen households and two fisheries.

The village area is still rural with a small parish church, St Michael’s and All Angels, a small primary school and areas of farmland with several houses.

The area is popular with walkers who can take advantage of the public footpath and byway that starts at Meadow Lane, South Hykeham and which takes them across either to North Hykeham or across to the River Witham.

The Newark Road area (Fosseway Ward) is by contrast a much larger area made up of many homes and several businesses on Gateway Park including Soper BMW and Mini, Horton Seat and Hyundai, and a Brewers Fayre and McDonalds.

South Hykeham is also home to the Bentley Hotel and Beauty Spa and one of the county’s leading garden centres, Pennells.

HYKEHAM STATION
Hykeham Station has seen a significant increase in the number of rail passengers. With additional services poised to be added again this year through further timetable enhancements, the number of passengers using trains at Hykeham is on the up – increasing by 10,000 to 49,972 during the 2014/15 period.

Figures are not yet available for the past year when thirteen extra stopping trains at Hykeham provided passengers with yet more opportunity to use trains for business or pleasure – but a continued rise is inevitable.

Over a decade, passenger numbers increased from 14,314 to 49,972, making Hykeham the second busiest station between Lincoln and Nottingham, after Collingham.

This bodes well for local businesses whose employers and customers are taking up a more sustainable travel option, and for local residents as increased rail travel relates directly to reduced traffic congestion on local roads.

Michael Webb, head of train planning and access with East Midlands Trains, said: “Essentially, Hykeham gets seven additional services calling on Saturdays (four westbound and three eastbound). There are also some minor changes to the times of some of the existing calls.”

North Kesteven District Council deputy leader and member with particular interest in transport, Coun Mike Gallagher, said: “This increase in passengers is great news, and before the effects of the additional services are even factored in. It proves that people will use trains and public transport as visitors, residents and businesses where they are available, reliable and regular and I hope it gives a particular boost to the trading possibilities for the companies within the LN6 local area.

“Given a range of improvements through the Access LN6 project to the station’s car park and cycle facilities – with a new enlarged car park poised to open later this year – I look forward to seeing the impact of this investment in forthcoming figures.”

SIR ROBERT PATTINSON ACADEMY
Sir Robert Pattinson Academy is a comprehensive school where students are valued, happy, challenged and strive to achieve their best.

The academy provides rich learning experiences both in and outside of the classroom, resulting in a great education.

The academy has a unique ethos that provides a calm and caring learning environment where all students can succeed. The staff believe every student should value, enjoy and be excited by learning and this will allow them to achieve and be successful.

At Sir Robert Pattinson Academy we believe every student is an individual and we celebrate their successes and range of talents with them.

The school continually strives to improve and the Academy has a clear strategic vision for the future, to ensure it continues to provide a world class education for students, allowing them to develop their potential and contribute fully to the life of the community.

The academy’s strategic vision is based on the following key areas:
• Improving performance in relation to student achievement;
• Engaging students in their learning through high quality learning and experiences;
• Developing the organisation as a whole through working with other schools, universities and businesses.

The school will be throwing open its doors to all visitors at its Summer open evening on 12th July, between 6pm and 8.30pm.

WALTERS OPTICIANS
Walters Opticians is an independent family business established by Roy Walters in January 1998 with practices located in Market Place, Gainsborough and Hykeham Green Shopping Centre, North Hykeham, Lincoln.

We offer a comprehensive eye examination, backed up with an extensive range of ophthalmic equipment including retinal photograph.

Our contact lens specialist Karen Everatt will work with you to give advice and recommend the best contact lens for you, both clinically and to suit your needs and lifestyle. Contact lenses have many advantages, especially when wearers are taking part in sports and outdoors activities. They can be particularly good for children and teenagers, helping with self-esteem issues often associated with spectacle wear.

We maintain an extensive range of spectacle frames ranging from budget to designer. Our frames include Michael Kors, Gucci, Radley, Tiffany & Co and popular with the gents is our Tag Heuer range. One of our qualified dispensing opticians will help you choose the right frame for you and give advice on the best options for your lenses, which may include: anti-reflection coatings that will cut down on the glare from headlights and artificial lights or Transitions lenses that change with the light. Prescription sunglasses as well as non-prescription designer sunglasses are available. Ray Ban and Oakley are among our most popular ranges.

We are currently running the Essilor ‘SEE more. DO more’ promotion; to qualify for this offer the first pair of spectacles you purchase must include the Crizal Forte UV coating with its six protection benefits against: scratches, ultraviolet rays, glare, smudges, dust and water. You will then receive a second set of lenses free of charge with the Crizal Easy anti-reflection coating – these can be tinted as sunglasses or clear as a spare pair. We are also offering half price on the second frame you purchase! Upgrades are available and terms and conditions apply.

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