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Lindongate: Development of the decade approved

The City Council approved plans to transform the east of the city centre into a shopping complex and new bus station on Wednesday evening.

The £100 million Lindongate plans from Lincolnshire Co-operative seek to demolish the existing bus station, the Oxford Hall hotel, and several retail units on Sincil Street and Norman Street and replace them with a shopping complex and department store.

A new bus station will be built next to the train station as well as 900 parking spaces, and there is a possibility of 21 residential units in addition to retail space.

Planners noted that Cathedral views will be blocked on Tentercroft Street, but the increase in the retail offer in the city won over the Planning Committee.

The project is expected to take around 30 months to complete and would create 3,250 direct and indirect jobs in the region.

An overview of the plans for the new shopping centre and bus station

While the public consultation in 2011 resulted in generally positive feedback from residents, a number of retail businesses had objections to the build.

Retailers with objections included Curtis of Lincoln and Age Concern, while some businesses had comments of the plans, like Oxfam and Pepperdine Butchers.

Comments included the building not fitting in with surrounding buildings, obscuring the view of the cathedral, traffic congestion, potential loss of existing trees and concerns for the small businesses currently in the area after the project is complete.

Despite the concerns, city planners recommended to pass the the Lindongate plans, but with a number of conditions.

Conditions on the build include further surveying for contaminated land and flooding risks, plus detailed plans for parking provisions, and various management plans for the likes of the bus station, waste and public areas.

Lindongate aims to be completed by 2015.

— Later update: Following the approval, the next stage of the work will be to meet the planning conditions set down by the council.

Ongoing negotiations with prospective new retail tenants will form the basis of the detailed planning applications needed for specific parts of the project.

Lincolnshire Co-op Chief Executive Ursula Lidbetter said: “We have continued to work on the Lindongate scheme because we believe it will bring many benefits for people who live, work and shop in Lincoln city centre. We’re pleased that the planning committee has agreed the principle of Lindongate.

“Lindongate will breathe new life into an important part of the city centre, it will create jobs and more retail and leisure facilities. The new transport interchange is something that Lincoln needs and we were pleased to get positive feedback on this after our public consultation last year.”

Agent Banks Long & Co has been leading the scheme on behalf of Lincolnshire Co-op, working with planning consultants Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners and architects Lyons + Sleeman + Hoare.

Banks Long & Co Partner Peter Banks said: “Lincoln is fortunate that despite the economic climate, and the pressures on retailers generally, there are still national names keen to find the right space in the city centre.

“There is a lot more to do before work can start on site but by granting outline planning permission, the City of Lincoln Council has enabled us to take a massive step forward with this project.”

Lincolnshire Co-op hopes that within the next six months it can appoint a new development partner, which would manage and deliver the scheme.

The earliest phase of work likely to commence would be the proposed new footbridge over the railway from the Tentercroft Street car park, by arrangement with Network Rail and East Midlands Trains.