Residents dispute Lincoln Technical College building proposals

Neighbours of the proposed University Technical College in Lincoln have raised a number of concerns over the plans for the new facility.

According to plans, which go before the Planning Committee on August 14, the £7.5 million UTC will make use of the Greestone Centre on Lindum Hill and land to the back of the building.

However, the land will be used to build extra facilities for the 640 14-19 students of the new science and engineering college.

A new two and three storey building would be erected on the site, with a glazed link to the Greestone Centre.

In order to add the new building though, the current workshop behind Greestone Centre will be demolished. A lower floor of the new building will be partially dug into the hill.

While City of Lincoln councillors are being recommended to approve the plans with some conditions, a number of Greestone Place residents feel there are some issues with the new build and that they were not adequately consulted.

‘A catalogue of errors’

Residents told The Lincolnite that planners behind the UTC proposal had only formally met with locals once in April to show them the plans.

The main issue for residents however is the design and shape of the building within the context of the area.

The old building which currently stands on the site where the new UTC building will go. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite.

The old building which currently stands on the site where the new UTC building will go. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite.

One resident explained: “When you look at what is being proposed, you could see why there would be objections in an area which has about 44 listed buildings.”

“This is a building people will walk past with their children and remember, forever. Local people are pround of the Cathedral, and to build this in the shadow of the Cathedral, I don’t think it does anyone living in Lincolnshire any justice. I don’t think anyone could be proud of that.”

The residents said that the design is not sympathetic to the area, and that the current Watkins Building is much loved, despite its underuse.

The height of the building is an issue to some living in the area, particularly in Vicar’s Court, who would lose a view of the city, they said.

‘Restrictive access’

Some of the residents also said the site is too restrictive for what the Lincoln UTC Trust would like to achieve, and that the area could be of archaeological importance.

In one residents’ garden, which lies opposite the site for the new building, part of the original Lincoln wall was uncovered.

He feels not enough focus is being put on archaeological reviews of the site, which in the past has housed three skeletons and historic artefacts.

According to the planning document, builders would not use Lindum Hill as an access point to the site, instead using the quieter access from Greestone Place.

The area that would become part of the building yard. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The area that would become part of the building yard. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Greestone place is a single-track road, partially cobbled, and the road would lead to the small building yard to the back of the medieval Tithe Barn.

Concern in the area is that the large lorries moving back and forth to the site could cause damage to the surrounding listed buildings and walls, in particular Tithe Barn.

The planning documents state that there will also be three parking spaces, which residents believe not be adequate for the number of students travelling from further afield, and could cause traffic problems.

One resident also explained the pedestrian access to the back of the full site will not only knock through and old wall, but would still be dangerous in the case of an emergency.

The Lincoln UTC designs by John Roberts Architects

The Lincoln UTC designs by John Roberts Architects

Great idea, wrong location?

Despite the concerns, all the local residents believe that the UTC plans are a great idea and would be a great asset to Lincoln — if put in the right place.

Residents suggest that the Lincoln UTC Trust move the plans to an area near the University of Lincoln, Teal Park or somewhere on the city boundary with good transport infrastructure for students travelling from other parts of the county.

A resident explained: “We would all be proud of the UTC. We are actually in favour of a UTC. I would have loved this option when I was 14 — I might be an engineer now if I had this opportunity.”

On behalf of objecting residents, Simon Whitton explained: “We have a Cathedral Quarter, a recreational quarter and Cultural Quarter, and we’ve clearly got an educational area around the Brayford. I’d argue that that is where the UTC belongs.”

The plans will be put before the Planning Committee on August 14 at 5.30pm at City Hall. City planners recommended in their report the planning application should be approved by councillors.

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