Wednesday 18th September 2019
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Words: Melanie Burton
Photography: Mick Fox
Featured in the August 2019 issue

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Located less than five miles from the city of Lincoln, these areas have developed quickly in recent years, becoming almost self-sufficient communities, much sought after by both businesses and residents.

North Hykeham has expanded at a rapid rate with extensive property developments and an enhanced retail sector not to mention the leisure facilities and open spaces that are literally on its doorstep.

The town can boast its own theatre, swimming pool and leisure centre, is 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.

Its near neighbour South Hykeham, though, is following in its footsteps and even though it is a village, it has experienced ongoing new build housing and an increasing number of businesses operating in the area including an ever-expanding, 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 in the South Hykeham area which attracts visitors from far and wide.

Shops and businesses are generally located at three specific locations in North Hykeham – around the village green, at the Forum shopping centre which has the Asda superstore nearby and at the crossroads where Moor Lane meets Newark Road and Station Road.

In fact, Station Road has the largest concentration of commercial and light industrial premises in the town.

North Hykeham is also home to a specialist bra shop, a comprehensively stocked hardware store and a fashionable house interiors shop.

One business has become the Aladdin’s Cave of Lincolnshire because of its large and varied amount of stock.

Hykeham DIY & Building Supplies was set up in 2006 on Newark Road by Richard Whiteman but grew so quickly that in just under five years he opened a new store in Lincoln Road in the former House of Shah furniture store which became Hykeham DIY Building & Leisure.

It is the largest family run business in the town and stocks more than 5,000 items in 20 departments.

Richard’s son, Henry joined the company and his daughter, Amelia started working for the business in 2014, running its outdoor and indoor lighting showroom, Ilumi-bright.

Now called Amelia Alice Interiors and Lighting Showroom it is also a popular licensed tearoom building up a reputation for its afternoon teas.

However, it is not so long ago that North Hykeham was a village the same as South Hykeham is now.

The old village dates back to the Angles, Germanic invaders who occupied much of Britain after the Romans left in 400AD and according to the Domesday Book (1087) it consisted of just 15 households and a 52-acre meadow.

North Hykeham didn’t achieve town status until 1973 and in 2006 North Hykeham Town Council was immensely proud to be awarded Quality Council status and received re-accreditation in 2010.

The Hykehams are located in the North Kesteven district which contains two towns – North Hykeham and Sleaford.

According to the 2011 Census, approximately 17,671 people lived in Sleaford and 13,884 in North Hykeham. However almost 40% of the district’s residents lived in communities in the Lincoln ‘fringe’ which is the area immediately surrounding Lincoln City including North Hykeham compared to about 15% who lived in Sleaford.

North Hykeham is fortunate to have its own multi-functional performing arts centre in the shape of The Terry O’Toole Theatre which is an intimate, 200-seat arts theatre presenting a high quality programme of professional drama, music, dance and children’s theatre, complemented by a vibrant range of community and hire performances.

The Terry O’Toole Theatre was opened by acclaimed actor Jim Broadbent in 2002 and is named in memory of Terry O’Toole, a former headteacher at North Kesteven Academy, who was a passionate supporter of the arts.

With the school holidays fast approaching, the theatre has been doing all it can to help keep the kids amused and is offering a series of family film and swim sessions.

Families can enjoy a film at the theatre and then get active with a swim at the One NK centre pool located next door.

Films being shown in August are Christopher Robin, Mary Poppins Returns and Shaun the Sheep the Movie.

The One NK centre has a 25-metre swimming pool with a flume, learner pool and kids splash zone.

It runs a range of sessions for the local community, such as a Swim School Programme, over 30 fitness classes per week and also hosts large sports spaces such as 3G pitches and a sports hall.

The 42-year-old centre, which was locally known as the popular North Kesteven Sports Centre, underwent a massive £3.6m refurbishment in 2016 to make it more family-friendly and turn it into the place it is today.

Open spaces are hugely important in the district and are valuable assets proven to improve public health, wellbeing and quality of life.

They make communities enjoyable places to live, work and visit, and provide opportunities for all people to engage in healthy and active lifestyles.

North & South Hykeham have them in abundance.

Whisby Nature Park is a beautiful landscape full of wildlife, walks and trails. Though classed as being in Thorpe on the Hill, it is easily accessible, being on the border.

Once barren and lifeless, it now abounds with wildlife. The park was created by quarrying for sand and gravel, but nature has reclaimed the pits and bare sand, creating habitats for many species.

Then there is Millennium Green actually located in North Hykeham which is a 41.28-acre site managed by North Kesteven District Council since being appointed trustees in 2011.

It is situated behind the playing fields on Newark Road, North Hykeham.

The site’s management plan aims to give visitors a great outdoor facility to enjoy, whilst encouraging natural habitat growth and nature conservation.

It features wildflower meadows, hedgerows, a 1 mile foot/cycle path, a picnic area and a dog friendly walking area.

The predominant feature, though, is a large lake with viewing areas.

Though classed as North Hykeham’s smaller sister, South Hykeham is home to the long-established Pennells Garden Centre which was founded in 1780 and continues to expand and go from strength to strength.

Described in the Domesday Book as Hichum, it consisted of 14 households and two fisheries.

The parish is now split into two distinctive area – the old village and the newer part which has grown up along Newark Road.

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

SPECIALISTS IN EYE CARE
Walters Opticians is an independent family business established by Roy and Anna Walters in January 1998 with the first practice located in Market Place, Gainsborough and a second practice which opened in 2006 at Hykeham Green Shopping Centre, North Hykeham. They offer a comprehensive eye examination, backed up with an extensive range of ophthalmic equipment including retinal photography.

One of their specialist services is the tear clinic for the diagnosis and treatment of the symptoms of dry eye disease, by testing and assessing the severity of the dry eye and recommending a suitable treatment.

A tear clinic appointment will include a laboratory level test of the tear film, detailed assessment, a clinical in-house treatment and a personalised maintenance plan.

This service is offered in both of their practices.

Walters Opticians maintain an extensive range of spectacle frames ranging from budget to designer. Brands include Tom Ford, Gucci Jimmy Choo, Tiffany & Co and a very popular spectacles brand Silhouette. Prescription sunglasses as well as non-prescription designer sunglasses are available. Ray Ban and Oakley are among the most popular ranges.

Walters look forward to seeing you soon.

For more information please visit www.walters-opticians.com

SOMETHING FOR ALL AGES
One of the many hidden gems in North Hykeham is The Garden Tea Room situated in a conservatory off Moor Lane behind Flowers by Suzanne. It also has a summerhouse named the Potting Shed, which offers extra seating.

The town’s Memorial Community Hall is home to a number of groups, clubs and organisations and hosts plenty of events throughout the year.

Built in 1910 on land farmed by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, the Memorial Hall originated with the ‘Tin Tabernacle’ Clubroom and Institute of the Hykeham Rifle Club.

The Rifle Club was dissolved during World War One and in 1921 the Ecclesiastical Commissioners sold the Rifle Field and Institute for £415-5s to the War Memorial Hall and Recreation Ground Trust.

The Trust refurbished it and deemed its use to the Hykeham Sports Club of 1926 and to groups such as Hykeham Operatic Society, whose performances were all held there.

In 1968 a new group, the Playing Fields Association, was created and given responsibility.

Extra land was purchased and a new Memorial Hall with modern facilities (including Council Chambers, council offices, kitchen, bar and hall) was opened in 1969.

Today, the North Hykeham War Memorial Trust, a registered charity, is responsible for all of the facilities which comprise the Memorial Hall, used primarily as a vibrant and busy community centre, a members-only Sports & Social Club, cricket, football and rugby pitches and a popular bowls club.

Hykeham also has a Twinning Association and has been twinned with Denzlingen for more than 27 years.

Visits take place between the two Associations each travelling to the ‘twin’ town on a biennial basis.

The two communities were twinned in 1988 and the official signing of the ‘Twinning Oath’ by the Mayors of the two towns took place in 1989.

Neighbouring South Hykeham is home to Pennell’s, one of the oldest garden centres in the country and probably the oldest still in the same family ownership.

The business was founded in 1780 and the company’s first nurseries were situated in what was then the outskirts of Lincoln, next to a small stream called Gowt’s Beck, the site of the current Pennell Street.

In about 1858, the great grandson of the first Richard Pennell, Charles Pennell (1826-1891), came into the business on the condition that his father Richard (1798-1876) retired.

Charles developed a very large farm seed business, introducing new herbage seeds, roots and clovers for the farmers of Lincolnshire. He was also one of the first to try and popularise the tomato in this country.

Additional nursery land had been acquired at Bracebridge by 1894 and 13 years later in 1907 the land of the original nursery at Gowt’s Bridge was sold for housing and the Lincoln nursery was fully relocated to the Brant Road, Bracebridge nursery on the edge of the city.

Between 1969 and 1971, Walter E Pennell went on to develop three purpose-built centres at South Hykeham, Lincoln; Doncaster and Humberston Road, Grimsby.

In the mid-1970s, he changed the nursery to concentrate on growing plants in containers for the evolving garden centre market. In particular the nursery specialised in the production of clematis and climbing plants.

The nurseries moved again in 1989 from Brant Road to a site behind the company’s Garden Centre at South Hykeham. An additional nursery was bought at Waddington, just outside Lincoln.

In 2002 the company changed direction again to concentrate on the development of its garden centres. The nurseries were reduced in size and its plant production was changed away from clematis and climbers to the production of bedding plants, perennials and shrubs for its own centres.

In 2008/2009 the Lincoln Garden Centre was redeveloped with new retail areas and a restaurant which doubled the size of the centre.

Further developments were completed in 2015 with increased retail areas, an increase in restaurant seating (up from 260 to 420 covers), a new luxury food hall and a fully covered plant area.

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