October 21, 2022 5.00 pm This story is over 18 months old

Inflation could lead to ‘difficult decisions’ for Lincoln Town Deal projects

It’s unclear whether the government would offer more cash

Lincoln’s Town Deal projects may face ‘difficult decisions’ as costs continue to rise.

The impact of inflation is being carefully monitored, the projects’ board has been told.

Lincoln has been awarded £19 million to deliver 13 ambitious projects across the city.

Some £7 million is projected to be spent by the end of 2022 – however soaring inflation could mean money doesn’t stretch as far.

Concerns were raised during an update on the projects this week.

City of Lincoln Council Chief Executive Angela Andrews acknowledged that projects may need to “resize and rescale” accordingly.

She added: “There is no clarity from government on what could happen”, and projects may need to be more flexible with timescales.

A map of the proposed Town Deal projects for Lincoln | Photo: City of Lincoln Council

Ursula Lidbetter, CEO of Lincolnshire Co-op, said: “There has been an extraordinary increase in the cost of some of the tenders due to inflation.

“The government must be seeing rising costs across all Town Deals.”

Council officer Kate Ellis, the strategic director, said: “We must ensure that contractors are realistic and honest about costs. We need to be aware of problems earlier rather than later. They shouldn’t struggle through in silence.

“There may be difficult decisions towards Christmas or New Year on redistributing money.

“Since this is the government’s flagship programme, they may be open to discussion [on more money] but that remains to be seen.”

The meeting was held at the reopened Drill, one of the Town Deal’s early success stories | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The board was told that of the 13 projects, there was uncertainty on the timelines of just four.

The development of a creative hub in the Barbican Hotel and the Lincolnshire City Football Club community hub are currently awaiting planning permission.

Costs are also being reviewed for the Lincoln Connected project, to embrace digital technology on the high street, and the Sincil Bank revamp scheme.

The Greyfriars regeneration is now moving ahead after funding was announced this week.

See the council’s website for details of all 13 town deal projects.

The board also heard that applications for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund have been heavily oversubscribed, as expected.

Lincoln has been allocated £2.8 million of funding – however 48 applications have been received, totalling four times that amount.

Any ideas which don’t receive grants will be added to the city’s growth strategy, meaning they could get funding in the future.