Where towns meet countryside

Words by:
Glynis Fox
Featured in:
May 2014

If city living is not for you – but you still want to reside in a lively area packed with great facilities, good shopping, a choice of schools and plenty of leisure activities – read on!
The ever-expanding town of North Hykeham and its sister village South Hykeham are hard to beat for families looking to find everything on their doorsteps, with the bonus of fast access to the A1 and wider UK, via the dualled A46.

North Hykeham and South Hykeham have witnessed plenty of changes over the past few years, particularly with the growth of new housing developments and the arrival of a number of relocating and new businesses. These have naturally pushed the demand for further education, medical and other facilities – a factor which has not gone unnoticed.

A diverse population of more than 15,000 people in North Hykeham and a further 780 people in South Hykeham, has helped to feed the demand for shops and services, as well as clubs and organisations offering leisure time activities to suit everyone from tiny tots to the elderly.

North Hykeham and South Hykeham fall within the LN6 postcode area, and the Grow LN6 plan – involving North Kesteven District Council, Lincolnshire County Council and the City of Lincoln Council – aims to ensure that it reaches its full potential as a major job-creation area for Central Lincolnshire.

The partners are now developing an action plan setting out how future growth will be achieved; by exploring key land issues in the area and looking at how it can be made more competitive nationally and locally, within a crowded market.

Some improvements have already been made under the multi-million pound Access LN6 programme, being delivered by Lincolnshire County Council, but more good news is on the way. In addition, the LN6 business group is encouraging managers and owners of different sized firms to network and discuss issues affecting the area.

North Hykeham Town Council Town Clerk, Tracey Broughton said: “The Town Council has engaged with the LN6 business group and I and members of my council have represented North Hykeham Town Council on the Officer Steering Group since it began in 2011, and the overall Steering Group.

“The Town Council has always recognised the need for direct engagement with its partnering authorities and is keen to liaise and have a say in how its area grows, both economically, recreationally and through the building of new residential areas.

“The achievements that the Town Council hope for are: for the community of the future to be residential and economically prosperous, healthy, sustainable and generally a place that people wish to work and live in.”

So just what does today’s North and South Hykeham offer families and individuals looking for a good balance between home and working life – which includes excellent schooling, clubs and activities for everyone to enjoy?

On the educational front the town is well served with schools including the Fosse Way Academy, Ling Moor and All Saints C of E Primary Schools, as well as the North Kesteven School and Sir Robert Pattinson Academy. In South Hykeham there is the South Hykeham Primary School.

But a rise in the birth rate and the rate of housing expansion in the area – an example is the new development taking shape on the former Leys Malleable foundry site in Station Road – means that more school places will be needed.

Lincolnshire County Council has recently announced plans for a new primary school, for children between the ages of four and eleven. It will have 210 places. Poised to be built between Mill Lane and Newark Road on the Manor Farm development, it is expected to take its first reception class children in September 2015 or 2016.

The County Council has sent a letter to schools and academies across Lincolnshire in a bid to find an operator. Interested parties have to respond by 5th June.

North Hykeham is well catered for when it comes to facilities for babies and youngsters. For those a little older, there is the North Hykeham Youth Centre, which provides sports hall activities, pool, arts and more on Wednesday evenings from 7pm to 9.15pm.

Hykeham Cricket Club, which meets at the town’s Memorial Field, off Newark Road and Hykeham Sailing Club, which is based south-west of Lincoln at Apex Lake, are among a range of sporting options in the area.

The club, which is affiliated with the Royal Yachting Association, offers dinghy sailing for casual and racing sailors. The Lincoln & District Schools Sailing Association – a RYA-recognised Sail Training establishment – is also affiliated with the club.

Racing takes place on Sundays from the end of March until Boxing Day. A Summer series also operates on Wednesday evenings from May until September. Sunday racing starts at 11.30am with fleet and handicap races. The Wednesday evening series is a single start handicap race lasting for about an hour. Hykeham Sailing Club also boasts a modern clubhouse.

North Hykeham Sports Centre, which is popular with people of all ages, is in line for a massive £2.4m revamp, which is due to start in October.

For families who love swapping notes with people in other parts of Europe, the North Hykeham Twinning Association has plenty to offer. Twinning Association chairman, John Lingard said: “We have been twinned with Denzlingen in the Black Forest region of Germany since 1988, but we also maintain friendly relations with St Cyr sur Mer in France, Città della Pieve in Italy and Konstancin-Jeziorna in Poland, which are directly twinned with Denzlingen.

“Last year was our Association’s Silver Jubilee and a party from Denzlingen visited us. We shall be going over there in July for the second part of our celebrations, which will tie in with the Europafest celebrations.”

The Twinning Association has about forty-five active members, plus lots of supportive families which provide accommodation when the Association plays host to friends from its German twin town.

North Hykeham is also fortunate to have its very own performing arts centre for budding thespians – The Terry O’Toole Theatre in Moor Lane, which is a collaboration between NK School, the county council and North Kesteven District Council.

This popular venue offers a wide range of entertainment from drama to dance and music. Coming up is The Wind in the Willows on 9th and 10th May and an Evening in Concert with Jazz Vehicle on 16th May.

North Hykeham and South Hykeham offer a huge range of shopping and services. In North Hykeham, you will find everything from a major supermarket to smaller shops, including those based at The Forum. In South Hykeham you will find The Bentley Hotel and Spa, various pubs and restaurants and Gateway Park, with its wide variety of service businesses, eateries and car dealerships.

North Hykeham and South Hykeham fall within the LN6 postcode area, which is already home to major employers.

The Grow LN6 plan – which covers part of the LN6 area – aims to ensure that it fulfils its potential as the leading economic area for Central Lincolnshire and key players behind this drive include North Kesteven District Council, Lincolnshire County Council and the City of Lincoln Council.

Access LN6 is a multi-million pound programme designed to improve sustainable transport options in the LN6 area. It is delivered by the county council and is already making a difference.

At the same time, the five-years-old LN6 business group, is giving a stronger voice to firms in the area, by bringing owners and managers together and potentially increasing trading opportunities.

North Kesteven District Council spokesman, Jeffery Kenyon said: “LN6 is the name and brand for a significant employment area to the south-west of the City of Lincoln, in the local area of Hykeham, largely within the NKDC area.

“Whilst it has developed over time as an expansion of Lincoln and, in most respects a suburb of the city, it is located largely within the North Kesteven District and is the principal employment location for the district.”

To highlight its significance, in 2008 the Hykeham area had about 800 businesses, employing around 9,000 people – representing twenty-eight per cent of all the employment in NKDC.

There are now more than 15,000 residents in Hykeham, an increase of twenty per cent over the last thirty years, reflecting the growth in house building.

With its proximity to the centre of Lincoln, the Grow LN6 area is an important location for companies wishing to stay in the area but needing more floor space.

It is close to the A46 and routes through to the A1 and East Coast Main Line; is well placed for access to the Humber Ports and is seen as one of the few logical areas for business expansion, without majorly affecting the setting of Lincoln,” said Mr Kenyon.

This year an action plan will be drawn up detailing what needs to be done and who should be involved in driving forward LN6. New branding will be created, the area marketed and potential investors encouraged to take a closer look at the benefits offered by this location.

Through the Access LN6 programme the county council has boosted bus services, improved facilities at Hykeham station, developed the LN6 Car Share Scheme and worked with businesses and schools to encourage sustainable travel. Lincoln’s Hirebike Scheme is also part of the programme.

A county council spokeswoman said the Hirebike Scheme, which offers forty bikes for short-term hire from seven locations will be extended this summer, with the addition of more bikes and docking stations.

“Following a six-month walking and cycling audit of the LN6 area, £1m will be invested into the area to make infrastructure improvements and a team of travel advisors are also offering free information and advice to 10,000 households in the LN6 area.”

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the North Kesteven Sports Centre, which is in line for a £2.5 million revamp.

The centre is considered to be at a stage in its life where it is difficult to meet customer standards and expectations and priority repairs needed in the next five years alone would cost up to £2m.

North Kesteven Sports Centre is seen as a major sports facility for the area, especially with its ‘dual function’ – it is well used by members of the wider public and also school students.

Outline plans involve spending £1m on outside building works, car parks, drainage and roofing; £200,000 inside on courts and changing rooms; more than £1m on electrical and mechanical fittings and £5,000 on structural alterations.

Work, phased over two years, will see the cafe relocated to the ground floor and the gym being moved to the first floor. Synthetic turf pitches will also be upgraded.

Pool changing rooms will be converted to a changing village and extra activity studios will be added. Designs will be submitted for planning permission in July.

From buying the weekly groceries to ordering flowers, visiting the dentist or buying a new car – you can do it all in North and South Hykeham.

Whilst this part of Lincolnshire might only be a short distance from the city of Lincoln, it is well served by a mix of national and homegrown retailers, restaurants, guest houses and hotels, as well as businesses providing health, hairdressing and other services.

The Forum, off Newark Road, in North Hykeham is the place to find everything from a convenience store to a post office and coffee shop. There is a giant supermarket a short distance up the road and plenty of places to eat, plus service businesses and motor dealerships at Gateway Park in South Hykeham.

Among the firmly established businesses at South Hykeham is Pennell’s Garden Centre, which is much more than simply a place to buy plants. Diversification means you can also buy clothes, footwear and furniture too, and there’s a large and airy restaurant where you can enjoy a meal or a snack.

The busy Bentley Hotel is also one of the first things that visitors spot when they arrive on the outskirts of South Hykeham, via the A46, and it also has its own spa.

Pubs in North Hykeham include The Harrows, The Centurion and The Plough.

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