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Words: Glynis Fox
Photography: Mick Fox
Featured in the March 2016 issue

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Lincoln has been recognised as one of the country’s top 50 shopping destinations by the global information services group Experian – and the way in which everything is going on the development, shopping and tourism fronts, its position can only improve.

There continues to be no let-up in the pace of change and plenty of evidence of continuing investment in Lincoln, after an amazing 2015 when the 800th Anniversary of Magna Carta and a string of celebratory events – including the now famous Lincoln Barons’ Charter Trail – really put the city on the map.

Important regeneration projects are on the verge of coming to fruition and making an impact on the city’s streetscape. These are also helping to drive further interest from businesses and developers.

The past few months have seen the arrival of a range of new businesses, including those masterminded by entrepreneurs drawn to Lincoln from other parts of the country. They have increased the choice of brands on offer to shoppers and leisure seekers on both the retail and restaurant fronts, by snapping up premises in areas within the city centre, the upper High Street, lower High Street, Cornhill and Bailgate.

Shopaholics, including local residents and people travelling into the city from a wide catchment area, often comment on one of Lincoln’s real selling points: the fact that it offers people the chance to visit a fabulous mix of national retailers, long-standing independent and niche businesses, during a single trip.

Spending of more than £9 million has already enhanced the Waterside Shopping Centre, St Mark’s has welcomed new faces and major changes are on their way to the Sincil Street, markets and St Mary’s Street areas. Sincil Street, the markets and Cornhill are important commercially and visually. They are among the first places people see when they arrive in the city by bus or train.

Lincoln Business Improvement Group (Lincoln BIG), which supports more than 800 levy payers in an area stretching from the Ritz Cinema in the south High Street to Newport Arch, said people who haven’t visited Lincoln for some time cannot fail to notice how it is evolving.

Lincoln BIG chief executive Matt Corrigan said: “The ongoing growth of the University of Lincoln, the success of businesses which have recently moved here and the expansion of our leisure and cultural offers is making a difference.

“People are starting to see the results of the millions of pounds worth of work which is underway to upgrade the city’s transport links, and there is more to come.

“Work is progressing well on Lincoln’s £22 million congestion-busting East-West Link Road. This is due to be completed by the autumn. At the same time the pedestrian footbridge over the High Street railway crossing is now taking shape.”

A City of Lincoln Council spokesman said: “Updated plans for the £29 million Lincoln Transport Hub spells further good news, because this project has been split into two phases. This means that work can start sooner than originally anticipated.

“Thanks to the removal of a dual-purpose footbridge from the first phase of the project (its delivery is the responsibility of Network Rail, but has been delayed), work to complete the new bus station and car park is expected by the end of December 2017.”

As we went to press, planning approval was being sought for a second time, with the aim of a start being made on site this summer.

A final business case for the project is being prepared for submission to the Department for Transport in June, and it is hoped that a decision on confirmed funding will be received in July.

Work on a £50 million project to breathe extra vitality into the city’s Cornhill Quarter should also see work on the £12 million first phase – involving the transformation of the landmark Corn Exchange building – start during the first half of this year.

The new scheme is already attracting national interest, but the development of the Sincil Street and Cornhill areas will also involve working closely with local independent traders.

Lincoln BIG’s evening economy manager Marion Cooney said big changes on the bar, restaurant and leisure front have really boosted the city’s offer for people of all ages wanting to enjoy a night out.

“Not only have newcomers invested in bringing new brands into Lincoln, the owners of existing bars and eateries have been splashing out on improving their premises,” said Marion.

Visit Lincoln continues to promote Lincoln as a destination which offers something for everyone, whether they are looking for a short break or longer stays, and Lincoln BIG has also drawn up a packed calendar of events for the coming months.

Among the forthcoming attractions are the return of the Tour Lincoln open top sightseeing bus, which will be offering free rides over the Discover Lincolnshire weekend in March; Lincoln Fashion Week in May and an amazing Poppies sculpture, which people will be able to enjoy from May through until September.

NIGHTTIME IN LINCOLN
People of all ages looking to enjoy a night out in Lincoln are getting spoilt for choice.

Marion Cooney said: “The owners of many existing bars have been ploughing serious money into upgrading their premises and newcomers have brought added diversity to the city.

“There is a real buzz about the place, whether people want to stay in Lincoln and have a bite to eat and enjoy a film after work or go home and return a little later to try out one of the latest bars or eateries.

“The newest venues include The Cask Restaurant and Brewhouse, which has opened in the former Roman’s Place, off Drury Lane. This is the result of an investment of about £100,000. It features an Italian brick pizza oven and a variety of local beers. It will soon be creating its own ales from a microbrewery on the premises.

“The Duke William in Bailgate has benefited from a £350,000 revamp, which has included work to its nine guest bedrooms and created new jobs. The former Cloud Bar in Westgate has now become the Taphouse and Kitchen.”

In The Strait, people will find The Crafty Bottle, a new venue selling local, UK and internationally-brewed beers. Côte Brasserie has moved into the former Craft outlet in the upper High Street and The Optimist has snapped up the West Parade premises, which were formerly occupied by The Bronze Pig.

“Dexter’s, which is based in the former Lincoln Red premises in Newland, is doing very well at the moment and there is a new offer at The Green Dragon in Broadgate, the Black Rock Bar and Grill,” said Marion.

“In the city centre, Ye Olde Crown in Clasketgate has been transformed into Huckleberrys Bar & Grill, offering authentic American smokehouse food and craft beers.”

Businesses, families, celebration parties and people who simply want to chill out, eat, drink and take in a Thursday night film will also be able to enjoy a new dining and movie experience in Lincoln this summer.

A ‘cinema room’ is being built into the new Wildwood Restaurant, which is being created out of the conversion of the former upper High Street shopping centre The Mall.

The new venue is due to open this summer and will create 30 jobs. The cinema room will be open for bookings by business groups and organisers of mini conferences, as well as available for hire privately by families, including those who want to host a children’s party and entertain the youngsters by showing their own film (DVD).

“In addition, Wildwood will also be offering regular Thursday film nights, designed to appeal to people who want to relax over a meal and a film, as part of a leisurely evening out.”

EVENTS FRONT
There is lots to look forward to on the events front in Lincoln and the wider county over the coming months.

Saturday and Sunday, 12th and 13th March marks the Discover Lincolnshire Weekend and offers people the chance to explore a range of local attractions and activities, without having to dip their hands in their pockets.

The weekend also sees the return of Tour Lincoln, when people will be able to enjoy free rides on the open top sightseeing bus and learn more about the city. (After the 12th/13th March weekend, it will be offering paid for runs most weekends until 21st/22nd March and will operate daily from 28th May until the end of September). Readers can check operational dates by clicking: www.visitlincoln.com/tour.

The 12th/13th March weekend also features free entry to Lincoln Cathedral, guided tours of Lincoln Guildhall, behind the scenes tours of Lincoln Theatre Royal, the Lincolnshire Food Festival at St Marks Shopping Centre and more.

People who are having friends or family to stay, or know of others who may be visiting the city over the coming months, are encouraged to tell them about the Joint Ticketing Offer, which gives them a 20 per cent discount when they buy a ticket to visit both Lincoln Cathedral and Lincoln Castle. It includes a free return ticket to the Castle or Cathedral for people who come back to the city within six months.

Fashionistas should look out for Lincoln’s First Fashion Week, which is taking place from 16th to 21st May.

It is being masterminded by Lincoln BIG, following initial conversations with managers at St Marks Shopping Centre and the Waterside Shopping Centre and will bring together the best from Lincoln retailers, designers and representatives from the worlds of hair and beauty.

The event will feature four pop-up events leading up to a grand fashion show on Friday 20th May.

From 28th May to 4th September, Lincoln Castle will be awash with a sea of poppies when a famous artwork goes on show in the city. Poppies: Wave is one of two sculptures from the installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red – a display of 888,246 poppies which honour the deaths within the British and Colonial forces during the First World War.

This sculpture was originally on show at HM Tower of London in 2014.

HAVE YOU CONSIDERED CONTACT LENSES FOR YOUR CHILD?
Physically a child’s eye can tolerate a contact lens at a very young age; the average age at which children are first fitted is currently 13 years old. Eight years old is the youngest we generally fit in practice and even at this age children are usually extremely successful in wearing, handling and looking after their lenses.

The advantages of contact lenses over spectacles are well recognised but there are additional benefits for children and teens:
• Excellent full field of vision (no frame in the way), perfect for sports when spectacles are often removed for fear of breaking them or injury.
• Greater self-confidence and self-esteem, especially when a strong prescription is needed.
• Avoid frequent breakage of spectacles.
• Full time vision correction – spectacles are easy to remove and put in school bag
• Easily updated when eyesight is changing frequently
• Added protection from ultraviolet with some contact lenses
• Avoid reflections and steaming up of lenses and no problems with rain!

Daily disposables are perfect for children; easy to look after, brand new, clean lenses every time and flexible wearing; every day or just occasionally for activities and sports.

To give children and teens the chance to enjoy all the benefits that contact lenses have to offer, we are running a promotion from 13th March to 30th April of a free trial.

This includes an appointment to fit the lenses, teaching how to put the lenses in and remove them, how to look after them, contact lenses and a follow-up appointment.

If you wish to book your child in for a trial please give us a call.

A current spectacle prescription is needed to take part in the trial.

Hykeham Green Shopping Centre, North Hykeham, Lincoln. Tel: 01522 686200.
34 Market Place, Gainsborough. 01427 616505.
www.walters-opticians.com

BANK HOLIDAY BREAKS AT SIMPSONS SPA
Are you looking for some time to relax and unwind over the bank holiday season?

LAZY BANK HOLIDAY FOR TWO £78PP
This 3-hour experience includes:
• Time at the spa to include use of the hydrotherapy spa, hot tub, plunge pool and sauna
• Rasul mud temple experience
• Back massage
Plus choose either a Taster facial or Indian head massage.

SHORT FOR TIME? SIMPLICITY SPA £60PP
Use of the outdoor spa area, hydrotherapy hot tub, plunge pool, sauna.
Use of the spa relaxation lounge.
Plus your choice of one 25-minute treatment.
Add an afternoon tea or two/three-course lunch for an additional charge.

For those looking to extend their stay…

BANK HOLIDAY GETAWAY ONLY £145PP
Offer includes:
• Overnight accommodation in a twin or double room at Branston Hall
• Full English breakfast
• 3-course evening meal
• Time at the spa to include use of the hydrotherapy spa, hot tub, plunge pool and sauna
• Hot lava shell full body massage
• Complete with cake and a glass of Prosecco to finish.

OUR MINI SPA BREAK OFFER
From only £99 per person!
Simpsons mini spa break includes overnight accommodation in a twin or double room, a full English breakfast plus use of the pool, sauna and Jacuzzi at Branston Hall Hotel.

This luxurious friends and couples spa experience will include time to relax in the outdoor hot tub before entering the exotic Rasul mud temple to take part in a unique and fun Arabian cleansing ritual, followed by an Indian head massage and the choice of either a 30-minute foot ritual or facial treatment.

Terms and conditions apply. Offer available on selected bank holidays. Offer based on two people sharing. Please note the spa experiences can only be reedeemed on the Sunday or Monday. Call to book on 01522 797989.

Bank holiday offers are available on the following dates only:
26th–28th March 2016
30th April–2nd May 2016
28th–30th May 2016

LINCOLN PRINT AND COPY CENTRE
Lincoln Print and Copy Centre, a local family business, has been helping customers in Lincoln and the surrounding area for 37 years this year. Our aim is to provide the printing service and advice our customers need to run their businesses and organisations.

During that time technology, equipment and print requirements and possibilities have changed dramatically and we have changed and adapted to provide the best service we can. In 2015 we bought the latest Xerox digital colour press to increase capacity and for 2016 we have brought in a new range of speciality papers suitable for many uses including wedding stationery.

Our friendly team can help and advise on how we can help customers old and new get the best out of their printing, and you will always deal with experienced staff. We can print, design, print finish, scan and copy from small business cards and labels, through to leaflets and brochures and up to large posters, CAD drawings and prints 1m x 3m. We can laminate, bind and staple. We are an Ordnance Survey Map Data centre providing custom maps for many uses including planning applications. If you want to know if it’s possible call or email us, we’re here to help.

Lincoln Print & Copy Centre, 9 Clifton Street, Stonefield Park Industrial Estate, Lincoln LN5 8LQ, www.lincolncopycentre.co.uk, 01522 546118, sales@lincolncopycentre.co.uk

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