Green light for further growth
Located less than five miles from the bigger city of Lincoln, the town of North Hykeham and neighbouring village South Hykeham are both self-sufficient communities in their own right, much sought after by businesses and residents alike. By Melanie Burton.
They are thriving, lively communities with excellent amenities on the doorstep and an ever expanding business fraternity that is helping to put the areas on the national map.
North Hykeham, the larger of the two with a population of 16,400 residents, was granted town status in 1973 and can boast its own theatre, swimming pool and leisure centre.
It is also home to two major national supermarkets and even has its own railway station, giving easy access to the cities of Lincoln and Nottingham as well as the town of Newark.
Even though it is classed as a village, South Hykeham is expanding at a fast rate with new housing development, a well-established family run garden centre, major car dealerships, pubs, eateries and a motel.
There is also a national chain hotel complete with beauty spa which attracts visitors from far and wide.
And to make access to the areas even easier, the long-awaited Hykeham Relief Road project has taken a step forward following Lincolnshire County Council’s £110 million allocation from the Department for Transport (DfT) towards building it.
Councillor Richard Davies, Executive Member for LCC Highways, said: “We’re pleased that central government has acknowledged the important role the North Hykeham Relief Road will play in better connecting Lincolnshire to the rest of the East Midlands region and country.
“Not only will it better connect the A46 between the Midlands through to the Humber ports, but it will also form part of Lincolnshire’s coastal highway, making it easier for people from all over to get to our beautiful coast.
“And locally, it will help us meet the area’s growth target and cut traffic in and around North Hykeham, Lincoln and the surrounding villages by forming the final section of a complete ring road around the city.”
The £110 million allocated from DfT will come from the government’s Large Local Majors programme. The remaining budget will be funded by Lincolnshire County Council and developer contributions, which the council will forward fund. The current scheme cost, included in the council’s outline business case for funding, is £155 million.
Councillor Davies added: “We used Government’s industry recognised road cost estimation process to determine the expected cost of the new relief road, and the total that came out was £155 million.
“However, based on past experience with managing projects like the Lincoln Eastern Bypass and the unexpected issues that can arise, it’s possible that the cost estimate of the road will go up before we break ground.
“We’re well experienced in delivering major infrastructure projects so are preparing for this potential and are ready to cover additional costs that arise as we progress things further.
“The next steps in getting the project off the ground will be completing a detailed design, purchasing land and submitting a planning application.
“Once we’ve progressed all of these big pieces of work, we’ll have a much clearer picture about when we will be starting on site. However, our plan is to start building the road in 2025.”
Simon Statham, head of technical programmes at Midlands Connect, said: “Midlands Connect prioritised this project in a submission to Government, seeking funding for the most critically-important highway improvements.
“This route is hugely important for local businesses and exporters, as it will reduce congestion on the nearby A46 and ease access to the Humber Ports, which act as a vital international gateway for many exporters.”
When built, the scheme will see a new dual carriageway built, linking the A46 Pennells roundabout to the newly constructed Lincoln Eastern Bypass, creating a complete ring road around the city.
As part of the project, new roundabouts will be built at South Hykeham Road, Brant Road and Grantham Road. A number of bridges will also be constructed, including at Station Road and over the River Witham. There is obviously a long way to go but it isn’t putting businesses off relocating to the Hykeham areas.
COMMERCIAL PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT
A new development of 15 commercial units is now ready to welcome new and growing businesses to North Hykeham, on North Kesteven District Council’s £2.2 million Discovery Court development.
It is the council’s newest commercial property development and is in a prime position being within the existing Discovery Park development on Whisby Road, off the A46.
Lindum Group built Discovery Court to a high specification, and on completion of the build work formally handed over the site to North Kesteven District Council back in May.
Leader of North Kesteven District Council, Councillor Richard Wright said: “It is fantastic to see these high quality commercial units now built after breaking ground in June last year with Lindum, knowing they’ve been constructed especially to support the new and growing businesses which make our economy so strong, successful and varied in North Kesteven.
“We believe in the will and determination of local businesses, and so throughout the pandemic we’ve focused on bringing forward investment and new schemes which will allow them to grow and in turn benefit our wider communities.”
Lindum Group director, Edward Chambers said: “Handover of these units marks the successful completion of years of work by numerous divisions within Lindum Group.
“Our Joint Venture team worked with NKDC to bring forward this site as a potential location for its next development of business units. Our design team then assisted with drawing up a suitable planning application and, once permission was granted, our Plant, Waste and BMS divisions carried out construction.
“The project progressed well despite the challenges posed by Covid and, as a local construction company, we are delighted that almost all of our subcontractors came from within a few miles of the site.
“We are happy to see the keys handed over and look forward to Discovery Court developing into a thriving hub for local business.”
NATURAL WORLD CENTRE
Located in the same area is Whisby Nature Park, which has also undergone some improvements recently.
North Kesteven District Council secured £25,000 of funding to improve facilities at the Natural World Centre, particularly for people with disabilities.
Following customer feedback, the space provided for disabled toilets has been improved, making access easier, and automatic doors installed at entrances to the visitor centre.
The grant from Tarmac Landfill Communities Fund has been welcomed as a significant contribution to fulfil a long-held aspiration.
Economy and Place Director at North Kesteven District Council, Andrew McDonough, said: “We’ve been eager to make improvements to our disabled toilet facilities and access to the building for a while, so the funding is important.
“Visitors have told us that better access to the toilet facilities would make it easier for them to visit, especially those with larger wheelchairs or buggies. The funding also enables us to install automatic doors making the site much more user-friendly for families and people with disabilities.
“Since opening the Natural World Centre to the public 20 years ago as a millennium project, we have made continual improvements to make it more user-friendly and to provide more interest to visitors.
“This latest project will help even more people enjoy visits to discover nature and learn about the environment, so we’re really excited to see the plans come to fruition.”
Whisby Nature Park opened to the public in 1989, having been developed from former gravel pits. The 150 hectare wetland and woodland site is home to many bird and plant species. The Natural World Centre welcomes over 200,000 visitors a year with over 150,000 visitors using the Nature Park.
The centre also operates as a conference, party and wedding venue.
MAKING A SAFER CROSSING
More improvement works are also now underway to help make a busy junction safer for pedestrians.
Work to improve the pedestrian crossing and traffic signals at the junction of Newark Road and Station Road are expected to take around six weeks to complete. The traffic lights at the junction are being replaced with new, ultra-low voltage equipment to reduce the energy consumption and carbon footprint of the crossing and the traffic islands will be removed, so people will be able to cross the road in one go and also cross diagonally, saving people needing to cross twice.
Newark Road and Station Road have remained open with three-way temporary lights and temporary pedestrian crossings in operation during the works. But Moor Lane will be closed at its junction with Newark Road, and traffic diverted.
Councillor Richard Davies said: “This is a very busy junction, and with three schools all in close proximity, it’s only right that we bring it up to the latest standards.
“Removing the islands means the crossings are no longer staggered, and there won’t be a temptation to dash to the middle when the light is red.
“By moving the pedestrian lights to the nearside – rather than across the road – it’ll also be immediately clear whether it’s safe to cross or not. And you’ll be able to cross in one fell swoop, either straight over or diagonally.”
SHOP WITH CONFIDENCE AT SIMPSONS BUTCHERS
Multi-award winning butchers Simpsons offers customers a wide variety of quality locally farmed meats and produce, including a range of sausages, minced meat, beef, pork, lamb and poultry, as well as pre-marinated and baked goods.
Based at Pennell’s Garden Centre in South Hykeham, which offers free parking and is open seven days a week, owner Gary Simpson’s experienced and helpful team is on hand to guide shoppers with advice and suggestions on best buys, sourced whenever possible from local farmers and producers. Twice winners of Butchers Shop of the Year, all Simpsons products are prepared to guarantee freshness and a rich distinctive flavour.
With Simpson’s commitment to safety, quality and accountability, customers can enjoy shopping for farm assured produce with confidence, plus that all-important five-star service to ensure total satisfaction.
Open at Pennell’s Garden Centre, Monday to Saturday 8.30am-5pm, Sunday 10am-4pm.
Tel: 01522 695419 or visit www.gsimpsonbutchers.co.uk
Though South Hykeham is the smaller of the two Hykehams, it is growing in stature and expanding rapidly with new housing developments springing up and plenty of thriving businesses in its midst.
It is made up of two very distinct areas – the quiet rural old village and the newer busier suburban area which has grown up along the main Lincoln to Newark Road and helped create South Hykeham as a gateway to the main A46.
It is home to one of the oldest garden suppliers in the country and probably the oldest still in the same family ownership.
Pennells was founded in 1780 by Richard Pennell and today it is run by the seventh and eighth generation members of the family. Its first nurseries were situated on what at the time were the outskirts of Lincoln next to a small stream called Gowt’s Beck, which is now the site of Pennell Street.
South Hykeham also has its own beauty spa located at the Bentley Hotel.
Several businesses are based in the Gateway Park business zone ranging from large well-known car dealerships and office equipment suppliers to computers, workspace and sustainable packing products.
Walkers can take advantage of the public footpath and byway that starts at Meadow Lane, South Hykeham and then goes across to North Hykeham or across to the River Witham, while cyclists have a number of routes to choose from too.
South Hykeham is also home to Hykeham Sailing Club which was formed in 1985 and is now one of the premier clubs in the eastern part of the East Midlands.
North Hykeham has become a familiar place to vintage vehicle enthusiasts from far and wide who flock to the Lincolnshire Road Transport Museum for events and rallies that are usually held there throughout the year.
However the Lincolnshire Vintage Vehicle Society which owns the museum has taken the decision to end its two major Transport Festival events completely due to concerns about public safety.
The museum is located on Whisby Road which has become increasingly busier traffic wise and the Society feels that the large number of people that attend the festivals and the amount of vehicles on the road would not be a safe mix.
The Board also decided that the museum would open on Sundays only from 1st August.
The Society was founded in 1959 by a group of local businessmen, with the aim of preserving local vehicles of historic interest. The museum was granted ‘Registered Museum’ status, followed by ‘Accredited Museum’ status in 2009.
As well as the collection of vehicles, the museum includes a variety of items large and small connected to road transport in the area, as well as photographs and posters from the past which are changed regularly.
Photographs: Mick Fox