The first phase of a £70 million project to regenerate the Cornhill Quarter in Lincoln will begin this month as the last of the Cornhill Market traders are relocated.
The £12 million first phase of Lincolnshire Co-op’s plans to revitalise the area will see the Grade II listed Corn Exchange building and shop units 30a to 35 on Sincil Street given a new face lift and extensions.
Works, in tandem with the City of Lincoln Council, sit within a masterplan for the area, which also includes the £30 million Lincoln Transport Hub.
The Cornhill Quarter redevelopment required the relocation of Cornhill Market traders. Despite a number of objections raised by traders, the last of the remaining businesses will move on to nearby locations this week.
This will allow Lincolnshire Co-op to begin preparation works and assessments, with construction set to begin in autumn.
Lincolnshire Co-operative Chief Executive Ursula Lidbetter said: “We hope to physically start doing the building works by autumn. At the minute the work will be in preparation for that, like investigations and records of the historic features of the building, as well as utility work. A lot will be behind the scenes initially.”
Lincolnshire Co-op plans to launch the first phase in spring 2017.
Although the Co-op is indicating there are plenty of big names interested in moving into the area, no retailers have yet been officially secured.
Plans for the Cornhill Quarter were first announced in February 2015, with phase one gaining unanimous approval in October 2015.
The modern extension surrounding the Corn Exchange is to be removed, revealing the original building and creating refurbished units for shops and restaurants.
The Corn Exchange will connect to the Greenwoods building and extensions will be built at the rear, where the Cornhill Market formerly sat.
Lincolnshire Co-op and the city council have been working with traders to support their relocation since plans were revealed in February 2015. Some traders have moved from the area altogether over the last few months.
Lincolnshire Co-op says almost all other traders have been relocated within the area and they’ll be putting up a giant map on the site hoardings to show shoppers where their favourite businesses have moved to in the Sincil Street area.
Ursula added: “We’ve been working for some time with the City of Lincoln Council and the Cornhill market traders to bring forward the Cornhill Quarter proposals.
“We’re now managing to get all our stall holders moved to their new locations nearby. That’s going to be finishing this week so the last stallholders will be moving to their new locations and then we’ll be able to finish the work we need to do to begin the first phase of the Cornhill Quarter, which is the Corn Exchange building.
“It’s a historic building in the Cornhill area. We are going to be rejuvenating that building and making the most of its wonderful historic features and bringing it back to life for retail and leisure. We’ll be getting on with that as soon as we can.
“We’re also looking at developing the old restaurant block which was formerly occupied by a Lithuanian restaurant. There is now a proposal to extend that backwards to a heritage feel and refurbish that.
“We want to make sure the area stays vibrant during that time and we are really working towards an eclectic mix of historic scenes, independent retailers and national names.”
Three market traders who have been affected by the redevelopment of the Lincoln Cornhill Quarter will be offered temporary stalls in City Square, which received planning approval at a city council meeting on Wednesday, April 6.
Ursula told The Lincolnite: “Petitioners were saying they’d be losing fruit and veg and valued traders which was very important to people, and we needed to stress to people that that was not what our plan was.
“Of course the main Central Market building is staying there, it’s going to be revamped and the work there has already started with stalls moving within the building.
“There was vacant space in both of the markets so it’s about trying to make one really vibrant market with wonderful stalls, including of course the fruit and veg and flower stall.”
Separate planning permission will be required for future phases of the Cornhill Quarter project, which will include developing and improving other parts of Sincil Street and the City Square centre.