It’s been a year of major change for Lincoln, with big projects completed and much more planned for the next 12 months.
The year started with the opening of the new transport hub in the city centre, the £30 million scheme included a bus station, the new 1,000 space multi-storey Lincoln Central car park, improvements to the railways station forecourt and a new pedestrian plaza linking the area with the Cornhill Quarter.
Speaking of the Cornhill, this year saw the completion of the first phase of the Lincolnshire Co-operative’s £70 million regeneration of the area, with the second part starting in May.
Businesses including Cosy Club, Moss Bros and Flying Tiger had already opened in the area and since the latest phase was started, Lincoln’s Lakeland has moved into its new premises and a new gym has also been given permission to go ahead.
In the new year, phase three of the development will begin, with a boutique Everyman cinema and rooftop restaurant with cathedral views planned to open. A 200 Degrees cafe is also set to open and in 2020 The Botanist cocktail bar announced its arrival.
Moving out slightly from the High Street, work has finally begun on the multi-million Brayford footbridge planned by Network Rail.
It will mean a full road closure to start the year, but organisers say it will provide a new 24/7 route across the railway with improved safety.
The scheme, approved at the start of December, will start by seeing the former Homebase, Lidl, Topps Tiles and part of the BHS unit demolished to make way for 1,300 student flats.
Work has already started on the demolition of the former stores, however, once completed the regeneration will eventually see all the units to the west of Debenhams demolished and replaced with new retail units, leisure space and other amenities.
Keeping with student accommodation, plans were approved in October to see 118 city centre flats created, a change from the previous developers’ plans to build a hotel.
The new build, on the junction of Clasketgate and Flaxengate, will see the former Pygott and Crone Estate Agency branch demolished and a new commercial unit created.
But it’s not just students getting new homes, as “flagship” plans have moved forward on a brand new 70 apartment extra care facility on Bowden Drive.
The plans will see City of Lincoln-owned De Wint Court demolished to make way for the development, which will provide homes for older people who want to remain “self-sufficient” but also have the option of on-site care if they need it.
The homeless too will be benefiting from a £1.2 million regeneration scheme by YMCA Lincolnshire.
The charity plans to open its Lincoln Nomad Centre, on St Rumbold’s Street, in April 2019.
The plan is to convert and expand the organisations’s existing building into a day centre and community cafe on the ground floor, with temporary sleeping accommodation on both the ground and first floor levels.
The plan is to provide 24/7 support where those who find themselves homeless can access caring, professional help.
As we come to the end of our journey through major developments, let’s circle back round to transport, especially since much of next year will be dominated by major works.
The main one coming up will be the Eastern Bypass, which at the start of 2019 will see Lincoln Road Branston closed for 11 weekends from January 18-April 1. Bloxholm Lane and Heighington Road however, will be closed for the majority of 2019 as works progress.
We won’t yet have to contend with the £148 million North Hykeham Relief Road/Southern Bypass, which in October was recommended to be dual-carriage. It is still a long way off, though hoped to be a “top priority” for government funding.
As we look into the future, there’s even more to come — this year a new £2 million roundabout was approved, which it is hoped will kick-start a 3,200 development known as the Western Growth Corridor.
The corridor project has been in the pipeline for more than 20 years, and as well as the new homes City of Lincoln Council leaders hope it will also include a hotel, leisure complex and new stadium for Lincoln City FC.
In September, council leaders said they were “within striking distance” of putting plans in, so who knows? Maybe this year could be the year.
Whatever happens, Lincoln has definitely got things going for it, and long may it continue!