The Lawn sale: Difficult, but right decision

— Ric Metcalfe, the Leader of City of Lincoln Council, responds to Vasos Melides on why the authority is selling off The Lawn.

The decision to sell The Lawn was a difficult one, but is the right one, because the council is not in a position to put in the long-term investment required to make best use of the main building and the conservatory.

In the right hands and with the right investment, The Lawn and the Conservatory could be a great visitor attraction for Lincoln.

Unfortunately, in the current economic climate and with the maintenance burden continuing to increase, the City Council is not currently in a position to provide the required funds and resources to make The Lawn the success story the people of Lincoln deserve.

I would like to reassure the public and the current tenants that when we carry out the tender process, it will be in the best interests of the people of Lincoln and we will not base our decision to sell on price alone.

Any sale will be subject to the leases of existing tenants who currently occupy premises at the complex. We will also protect the most used public open spaces surrounding The Lawn, namely the West Lawn and the recently refurbished play area. This area, as well as much of the public car parking, will remain in council ownership.

All the council’s tenants at The Lawn complex have been notified of our intention to sell and we will continue to keep them informed, although we haven’t started to market the site yet. As required by law, we consulted widely on the sale of the south lawn, which is open public space, and members of the public had until September 15 to comment or object. We received no comments or objections and took the decision to sell this piece of land along with the buildings.

We will do everything in our power to ensure that the future of The Lawn is secured and we’re confident that in the right hands the people of Lincoln will have a revitalised facility that they can be proud of.

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