Lincoln’s changing face

Words by:
Glynis Fox
Featured in:
October 2015

After an amazing summer of celebrations marking the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta – and with its power to continue attracting major investment – the city has become widely recognised as a destination which is going places.
Numerous family events, the £22 million revamp of Lincoln Castle, the fantastically popular Lincoln Barons’ Charter Trail and much more have encouraged more people to discover what makes the city so special.

And the feelgood factor, generated over the past few months, is poised to be sustained with the promise of more fun and festivities in the run-up to Christmas.

2015 is proving to be a milestone year for Lincoln because, apart from a boost in tourism, it is forging ahead with regeneration projects and millions of pounds continues to be ploughed into higher education developments, which are changing the face of the city.

That vibrancy is also sparking activity on the retail and leisure fronts, with the arrival of yet more new entrepreneurs who are keen to get a slice of the action, by opening new stores and eateries.

At the same time, work continues on the congestion-busting East-West Link Road and there remain high hopes that the Eastern Bypass will not be too far down the line.

New research has revealed that Lincoln’s visitor economy grew by five per cent between 2013 and 2014, with the sector contributing £176 million each year to a part of the economy which already supports 2,400 jobs. The findings, from research commissioned by the City of Lincoln Council, have been welcomed by the Visit Lincoln Partnership, which is confident that the picture will look even rosier when this year’s tourism figures are taken into account.

Visit Lincoln manager, Emma Tatlow said: “Lincoln’s visitor economy supports growth in the local area and creates and supports jobs. It is encouraging that we continue to see year-on-year growth. We anticipate that, with the Magna Carta 800th Anniversary, investment in Lincoln Castle and the stunning events programme the city has played host to this year, we will see even more growth in 2015.

“We have delivered a significant national marketing campaign which was designed to really put Lincoln on the map and fly the flag for this historic city.

“A vibrant visitor economy supports so many businesses throughout the city and the wider supply chain. Accommodation businesses have seen growth of 7.6 per cent, but the restaurants, retail and transport sectors have also seen a benefit from an increase in the number of visitors to the area.”

In recognition of the huge financial importance of Lincoln’s tourism economy, the Lincoln Culture & Arts Partnership is running a series of cultural workshops and masterclasses.

Events organisers, venues, artists, hospitality and tourism businesses are being encouraged to make the most of a Culture Connects programme – backed by Arts Council England funding – through the city’s Cultural Destinations project.

The programme features short workshops which explore funding, digital marketing, networking and business planning and its aim is to get everyone involved in arts, culture and tourism sectors working closer together, to the benefit of all.

The future of the Lincoln Markets area remains firmly under the spotlight, as Lincolnshire Co-op looks to move forward with a multi-million regeneration project for the area. The first phase features the revamping and extension of the Grade Two-listed Corn Exchange, which is owned by Lincolnshire Co-op, and the creation of new units which are designed to appeal to a much wider range of businesses. In addition there are plans to bring the Corn Exchange building itself back into use.

At the same time, the City of Lincoln Council is looking to upgrade its own market building – adjacent to the Co-op’s.

Chartered Surveyor Banks Long & Co managing director, Tim Bradford (acting for its client Lincolnshire Co-op) said: “We expect to receive planning permission for the first phase of works by the end of October.

“Other plans for the Sincil Street/St Mary’s Street area of the city include the development of a £25m-plus transport hub for Lincoln, which would feature a new bus station, pedestrian bridge over the railway, cycle and taxi ranks and a 1,000-space car park, retail leisure and residential opportunities.”

In early August, the City of Lincoln Council endorsed the Lincoln Science and Innovation Park Masterplan, a multi-million-pound venture to be developed on a twelve-hectare site bordered by Tritton Road and the Boultham Loop railway line.

Phase One has already seen the development of the Think Tank, Joseph Banks Laboratories and Minster House. The Boole Technology Centre will follow.

Overall, the Masterplan aims to create £50m worth of investment and 2,000 high-tech jobs – with the development of space for innovative businesses and university workshops.

Lincoln BIG chief executive, Matt Corrigan said: “2015 has certainly been a memorable year so far. There has been a real sense of businesses, agencies and organisations city-wide pulling together to make the most of opportunities created by the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta.

“At Lincoln BIG, in addition to offering our usual support for businesses, we have put on more events than usual and worked hard to get our levy payers involved in a wider-than-ever range of promotional opportunities during this significant year.

“The reopening of Lincoln Castle has triggered a surge in visitor numbers; joint-ticketing has encouraged people to enjoy both Lincoln Castle and Lincoln Cathedral and the Lincoln Barons’ Charter Trail has put Lincoln on the map and caused great excitement on social media channels.

“Progress is being made on the Lincoln East-West Link Road, Virgin Trains has shown a willingness to work with the city to put on more trains to Lincoln and we have the prospect of the new transport hub and massive ongoing investment in the city centre. There is plenty to look forward to.

“More immediately, Lincoln BIG is busy planning for the Lincoln Barons’ Charter Auction on 1st October and our team is also busy finalising an exciting Christmas events programme.”

Shopaholics looking to get their fix of retail therapy now have a wider choice than ever before in Lincoln.

The city’s vibrant shopping offer and lively events programme means that there is always someone new looking to bring their name to the retail scene.

As we went to press, Lincoln had just welcomed an innovative oxygen facialist, a new women’s clothing store and an innovative bar/diner – but by the time you read this they are likely to have been joined by more new names!

The brains behind two new enterprises have breathed new life into neighbouring premises in St Benedict’s Square, off the city’s High Street.

Oxygen facialist Nick Metcalfe said he was keen to offer Lincoln skin-conscious women and men something new, by launching Intraderma. Nick has made his move after teaming up with Aussie brand Intraceuticals, which pioneered this type of treatment, and which is highly popular with Hollywood A-listers.

Next door is Salt Lincoln – the brainchild of Jules Ridgeway and Richard Jenkins, who have opened a new fashion store in the city. They previously lived in the London area and Jules has ploughed twenty-five years of retail experience into the business.

“In the south, we had seen high streets suffer from high rents, but Lincoln offered us a brilliant opportunity to bring something new to the city. We have exclusivity on the brands we are stocking, within a twenty-five miles range of Lincoln,” said Jules.

“Our new shop is in a great position. It is close to the High Street, but also offers us superb potential to catch the attention of people walking to and from the University of Lincoln campus and Brayford Waterfront.”

Jules is selling continental brands, such as the Swedish range Twist & Tango and Coster Copenhagen, bags by London-based Nooki and soaps and scent by Ortigia Sicilia.

Another recent arrival is the jewellery business Daniella Draper, which has opened in the former upper High Street premises once occupied by Gadsby’s. Daniella also has a shop in Cleethorpes. The jeweller’s distinctive designs are worn by the likes of Kate Moss and Ed Sheeran.

Her mother, Della said: “Lincoln has such a fantastic vibe these days. It was a natural choice for the expansion of Daniella’s business.”

About twenty-five new jobs have also been created with the arrival of a new bar in Lincoln’s historic Cardinal’s Hat building. In addition to drinks, the bar – appropriately called The Cardinal’s Hat – is serving breads, meats and cheeses.

Something new is always coming out of the University of Lincoln, which has not only invested millions of pounds locally – but is recognised across the UK and further afield for its expertise.

Today it has an annual income of £130 million and at least 14,000 students. It is estimated to contribute at least £300m to the regional economy every year and is credited with creating more than 3,000 jobs.

Now it has announced the creation of the Lincoln Institute for Agric-food Technology, which aims to capitalise on its growing research and educational activity in the agri-tech and food sectors. These include food manufacturing, agri-robotics, agronomy and animal science.

University of Lincoln vice-chancellor, Professor Mary Stuart said: “Productivity is a key aim for the UK Government and is vital to the success of our economy. The agri-food sectors are at the heart of our county of Lincolnshire and productivity lies at the heart of these sectors. Innovations in autonomous systems and robotics and other scientific innovations will drive that productivity.”

The Lincoln Institute for Agri-food Technology will focus on the development of technologies to improve efficiency, sustainability, and reduce waste throughout the food pipeline, from farm to retailer. It will draw on facilities and expertise across the University of Lincoln.

Professor Andrew Hunter, the University’s pro vice-chancellor for science, said: “As populations grow, so the challenge in providing sufficient food will intensify. The University of Lincoln is in a unique position to develop this new interdisciplinary research centre dedicated to meeting this challenge. Our academic expertise and the exceptional nature of our facilities, including parkland, farmland, woodland and watercourses, alongside our food manufacturing centre and world-class science laboratories, provide a major opportunity to contribute to this global cause.”

At the main Brayford Pool Campus, scientists, programmers and engineers from across the University’s College of Science will collaborate on projects, utilising the state-of-the-art facilities in the centre of Lincoln.

The National Centre for Food Manufacturing at Holbeach will still serve as the University’s gateway to the global food manufacturing industry, providing critical expertise on industry needs and hosting projects at its model food manufacturing plant.

At the University’s Riseholme Campus, near Lincoln, the Institute will develop an agricultural field station for testing farm innovations, supporting training courses, crop trials, and experimentation, including in agri-robotics, water management and agronomy.

Situated in the old Norman house on Lincoln’s historic Steep hill is a shop that aims to blend the building’s heritage with the items found inside. Paula West is the owner of Heritage Country, and is passionate about mixing tradition and English eccentricity, to offer a distinctive look in both fashion and home.

When asked what made Heritage successful Paula replied: “At Heritage we are always searching for that quintessential English product, whether it is a handmade leather gunslip, a beautiful silk and tweed headpiece or a fabulous Lords and Labrador Chesterfield dog bed, and we are very fortunate to have small businesses around the county hand-making for the shop, giving us that point of difference from larger high street shops.”

For a small independent shop Heritage proudly boasts customers in New York, Paris and elsewhere in Europe, and finds many of the customers from abroad have discovered the shop by stopping English customers on holiday, and asking where they purchased what they were wearing.

Heritage have recently taken delivery of their stunning new autumn/winter collections from Maquien, Alan Paine and Jane Hemmings, showcasing beautiful wool, silk, tweed and cashmere, and are open Monday to Saturday 10am until 5pm and Sunday 11am until 4pm.

Heritage Country, 46 Steep Hill, Lincoln LN2 1LU. Tel: 01522 522565.

The festive season is on the horizon and there are lots of fun family events to look forward to in Lincoln, so get those diaries out. Dates to note include:
• 19th November, Lincoln Lights Switch-On – 5pm to 7.30pm, at St Mark’s Shopping Centre and Lincoln High Street
• Late Night Shopping will see stores stay open until 8pm on Thursday in November and until 9pm on Thursdays in December
• 26th November, Lincoln BIG Reindeer Parade. Families can meet the reindeer at St Mark’s Shopping Centre from 2.30pm to 4pm. The reindeer then leave Bailgate at 6pm for their parade into the city centre, finishing at the Cornhill at about 8pm.
• 28th November, The Lincoln BIG Ice Rink returns to City Square and it will stay in place until 3rd January. (the rink will be open every day, except Christmas Day – from 10am until 9pm).
• 17th December, Lincoln BIG’s traditional Lantern Parade & Nativity – the Parade will leave the Cornhill at 6pm and wind its way up to Bailgate.

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