Roadworks, transport schemes and innovation in Lincoln were among growth strategy highlights at an annual conference mapping a new-look city.
Around 100 representatives from local businesses and organisations attended the Lincoln Growth Conference at Lincoln Drill Hall on Wednesday, March 18.
With the theme Connecting for Growth, a series of presentations from business and council leaders focused on issues and opportunities around place, skills, innovation and partnership working.
The day celebrated the city’s growth achievements since the first city centre masterplan was drawn up in 2007, and looked ahead to new priorities moving forward with the Growth Strategy for Lincoln 2014-2034.
Combined projects underway in the city such as the Canwick Road works, the East West Link scheme and other highways developments, in addition to rail footbridges and parking strategies, were referred to as a “perfect storm”; regenerating the area.
There were nine main speakers at the event from local councils, Lincoln Business Improvement Group, Lincoln’s Science and Innovation Park scheme, Lincolnshire LEP and Visit Lincoln.
Creating a fresh, accessible city with welcoming facilities was a shared vision by speakers, and the partners behind disruptive ongoing roadworks said the inconvenience will be worth it in the long run.
Alan Aistrup, Head of Highways at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “Canwick Road is halfway through the project and still on programme. The East West Link road is set for an Autumn 2016 completion.”
Toby Forbes-Turner, Principle Planning and Regeneration Officer for the City of Lincoln Council, outlined the city’s new parking strategy, which was approved by the City of Lincoln Council Executive on Monday, March 16.
He said key issues addressed would be the quantity and quality of spaces, appropriate tariffs and updated payment methods such as pay-on-exit systems.
Deligates also heard from Matt Corrigan of Lincoln BIG and Emma Tatlow of Visit Lincoln on Lincoln’s retail landscape and changing visitor economy.
Tom Blount, Director of the Lincoln Science and Innovation Park, spoke about how the continuation of the park’s growth will feed into and expand local infrastructure and connections.
Amid standout Lincoln infrastructure growth projects in 2015 is the £25 million Lincoln Transport Hub, with new bus station, 1,000 space car park and dual purpose footbridges.
Angela Andrews, Acting Chief Executive at the City of Lincoln Council, said: “The Transport Hub is a really exciting project for Lincoln and for me the bus station is at the heart of that.
“Most of the things that we have heard about today within this perfect storm of growth have been planned for so long and it’s now coming to fruition. The key thing I would say to the public and the users of the roads, the bus station and our transport systems is ‘patience’.
“In terms of the Lincoln Transport Hub plans, as a whole there is a funding gap; we are talking about £3-4 million at the moment. We are working towards securing additional funding, and we are also looking at whether the scheme can be phased in some way so that we can deliver some of the key elements, like the bus station, first with the money that we have secured.
“Investment within the city centre will raise the profile of the city and that will help all of us, both private and public sector, to lobby rail operators; to let them know we are here and to bring electrification forward or more trains to and from London. The more we do the more strength we have.”