Lincoln continued to grow and prosper during 2017 – another milestone year for the city – and I am confident there will be much more progress over the coming months as we start to capitalise on the investments which took place during the year.

Lincoln BIG engaged with many more businesses and organisations, supporters its levy payers and partners, including Visit Lincoln, in myriad ways, during months of major changes.

We were delighted to play a leading role in the 800th Anniversary of the Battle of Lincoln celebrations, by masterminding the hugely popular Lincoln Knights’ Trail. This colourful attraction helped us to tell more people about Lincolnshire history and culminated in an auction which almost raised £180,000, which will help The Nomad Trust and establish a new Art Fund for the City.

A complementary Knights’ Education Trail, delivered by The EBP also proved a real winner with county schools.

Being able to announce that Lincoln was the only place worldwide where visitors could see Magna Carta and the Charter of The Forest together, along with the hosting of the Domesday Book and the fascinating Battles & Dynasties Exhibition were other highlights.

Lincoln BIG’s packed programme of events kept the city buzzing as work gathered pace on multi-million pound regeneration projects in the Cornhill area and Lincoln BIG was able to work with Stagecoach East Midlands and Waitrose to introduce a Park & Ride initiative, which has increased in popularity.

After months of hard work, it is great to see the city’s Transport Hub becoming a reality – people already using part of the new Central Car Park, off Broadgate, the frontage to the railway station has been revamped and the city’s impressive state-of-the-art bus station is just weeks away from opening.

Lincoln’s Cornhill Quarter is attracting increasing attention, following its £2.4m revamp and the arrival of Flying Tiger Copenhagen and Moss Bros, and people are looking forward to welcoming The Cosy Club early in the New Year and the start of work on the new Everyman Cinema in 2018.

Now work has begun in earnest on Phase 2, which will see the revitalisation of properties in Sincil Street, boosting the appearance and footfall in this area.

Overall, we have a city centre we can be very proud of.

The Cathedral Quarter is attracting increasing numbers of tourist visitors; Steep Hill and The Strait have unique places that so many people enjoy; the Upper High Street is seeing continued investment – with new restaurants and bars opening; the High Street continues to thrive and is set to benefit from a whole new pedestrian area, linking it every more closely with St Marks, while the Cornhill Quarter is starting to realise its potential as a whole new shopping and entertainment area – attracting new businesses which would otherwise not come to Lincoln.

This combined with a new 1,000-space multi-storey car park and new bus station, puts Lincoln in great stead for next year and the years to come.

Matt Corrigan is the Chief Executive of Lincoln Business Improvement Group.

2016 has been quite a year for Lincoln, it was a year in which we welcomed over half a million new visitors to the city, many to see “Poppies Wave” in Lincoln Castle.

The success of this exhibition which followed on from the successful Magna Carta celebrations in 2015 has seen a fundamental shift upwards in Lincoln’s status as a historic city visitor destination.

The range of cultural events and activity in the city has also continued to expand and I’m pleased that Lincoln BIG has played its part both in securing extra funding, and delivering an exciting programme of street activity and events.

A lively, vibrant city centre is important for all of us and 2016 has shown how investment in the cultural life of the city can drive the local economy and stimulate investment.

The number of new investment starts in 2016 are really impressive and means that 2017 is going to be a particularly exciting year for the city, you only have to look at the number of cranes on Lincolns horizon to see how much is underway, shopping, housing, transportation, education and commercial developments are set to transform the city in 2017.

The focal point for this will undoubtedly be the investment in the “Cornhill Quarter” including Lincoln’s new transports hub and 1000-space multi-storey car park, but there is also going to be a lot of investment in Lincoln’s streetscape which gives a whole new feel to parts of the city centre which have been overlooked for too long.

2017 also sees a the 800th anniversary of the Battle of Lincoln, and the subsequent issue of the Charter of the Forest, for many historians the battle is as decisive and the Battle of Hastings and meant that England was ruled by the Plantagenets rather than by King Louis of France!

We will be celebrating this with our Knights’ Trail in Lincoln in the summer which will help people to explore the city and tell the story of the fascinating part of the city’s heritage, complimentary exhibitions, street events and festivals, including the Frequency digital arts festival in October will all help to bring the city to life.

I think by the end of 207 we really can say that Lincoln will have arrived in the 21st century, and it’s going to be quite a place!

Matt Corrigan is the Chief Executive of Lincoln Business Improvement Group.

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.

Matt Corrigan is the Chief Executive of Lincoln Business Improvement Group.

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