February 15, 2024 7.15 pm

Still no opening date for Lincoln Cornhill Market — three months after delay

The City of Lincoln Council insist an announcement is “coming soon” though

By Local Democracy Reporter

Three months after it had a year-long £10 million revamp, there’s still no official opening date for Lincoln’s Cornhill Market — but the city council promised an announcement in the coming weeks.

The City of Lincoln Council delayed the reopening of the refurbished Central Market to early 2024 due to challenges in preparing traders and weather related construction and finishing issues.

Started in May 2022, the £10 million renovation sought to reinvent the market into a vibrant centre for food, drink, and retail, while retaining its historic charm, with a goal to open by autumn of the same year.

Yet, progress was impeded by unseasonably wet weather and further delays from storms, including Storm Babet.

The opening was then rescheduled to align with the now-cancelled Lincoln Christmas Market in December. However, following discussions with “prospective tenants,” City of Lincoln Council postponed the launch to early 2024, citing unspecified delays.

Although construction finished in late November, chairs still wrapped in cellophane are visibly gathering dust through the windows.

Inside Lincoln Cornhill Market | Photo: James Turner

Council officials confirmed that they held an internal meeting on Thursday, the day we enquired about the delay, to discuss the market’s opening, yet no definitive plans have been confirmed so far.

In January, it was noted that only about half of the available stalls had drawn interest, with just 18 businesses stepping forward. A month later, the council has secured commitments from these 18 businesses, primarily targeting family-friendly ventures, and is in discussions with five additional prospects.

Kate Ellis, Director of Major Developments at City of Lincoln Council, said: “We are delighted to confirm we have had a significant amount of interest in the stalls at the Cornhill Market, and are in ongoing negotiations with many interested businesses.

“The vast majority of these are family-run, local, independent stallholders and this will be the focus for the market going forward.

“We are excited to welcome a fantastic and diverse selection of traders providing a mix of retail, food and drink which will enhance the city’s daytime and evening economy.

“We look forward to announcing a confirmed opening date for the Market in the coming weeks.”