Reflections: Matt Corrigan – Events to look forward to in 2016

People living and visiting Lincoln have plenty to look forward to as 2016 gets underway.

Major changes to the city’s streetscape, and the anticipated arrival of yet more new names keen to be part of a city which is growing as a retail and leisure destination, are poised to drive the pace of change.

While 2015 – with its unforgettable 800th anniversary of Magna Carta celebrations and the amazing Lincoln Charter Barons’ Trail has certainly been a milestone year – 2016 could match it in other ways.

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The opening of Lincoln’s long-awaited East-West Link Road across the city centre, will act as a catalyst to a number of long-awaited schemes, including the pedestrianisation of the south High Street from St Marks to St Mary’s Street, with the new railway bridge, spanning the High Street railway crossing, also shaping-up.

The physical appearance of Lincoln is on the brink of major changes. These will provide the backdrop to a variety of new events and the return of old favourites.

Work is due to start on a £50 million project in the Cornhill Quarter. This will breathe extra life into what is an important part of the city.

The £12 million, first phase, will see the transformation of the Cornhill and Sincil Street. It is good that planners have given the green light for this work because this area is one of the first seen by visitors arriving in Lincoln by bus or train.

Work is due to start on the landmark Corn Exchange building during the first half of the year and the good news is that the scheme is already attracting strong national interest.

However, those involved in the project will also be working closely with existing tenants based in this area.

Lincoln’s long-awaiting Transport Hub is also causing a real buzz and a hot topic of conversation. A full business case for this is due to be submitted to the Department for Transport in February, with a decision on confirmed funding of £11 million expected in April.

We continue to see investment ploughed into the University of Lincoln campus and even after many years of welcoming new businesses to the city, there is every expectation that Lincoln will continue to attract many new names.

We are aiming to match the city’s rise as a retail destination, which is well worth exploring, with an exciting programme of events.

Lots of work is going on behind the scenes and everyone is encouraged to note that the first-ever Lincoln BIG Fashion Week is taking place from May 16 to 21.

The idea has come about as a result of suggestions from our retail levy payers and initial talks with St Mark’s Shopping Centre Manager Val Hardy and the Waterside Shopping Centre’s Marketing Manager Chantelle Henderson.

This event is still in the early planning stages, but we want to make it as inclusive as possible. It will feature fashion, design, hairdressing, beauty and nails, and we are keen to get as many businesses, both independent and national, involved.

This major event will feature four pop-up events and will culminated in a grand fashion show on Friday, May 20, 2016 – in St Swithin’s Church, St Swithin’s Square.

The pop-ups will include a mobile catwalk show, which will be spread around the city centre and during the week, University of Lincoln Fashion Students’ outfits and millinery will be on show in a variety of locations.

Other dates to note include the Lincoln Dragon Boat Race on July 30, which Lincoln BIG is facilitating in conjunction with Ringrose Law. It is taking place on Brayford Pool.

2015 also saw a special addition to Lincoln BIG’s popular motoring events, staged on the city’s waterfront – the Independent Car Show. The good news is that we are bringing it back on August 14.

Continental markets are great for sparking memories of great holidays and there are three to look forward to in 2016. They are being staged in the High Street, from March 17 to 20; June 9 to 12 and September 29 to October 2.

Major investment by Lincoln’s pubs, clubs and restaurants means that it is also well worth people planning a night out in the city or perhaps staying in town after work. There really is something to suit all tastes.