Ric Metcalfe

Ric Metcalfe, City of Lincoln Council Leader

Councillor Ric Metcalfe is the Labour Leader of the City of Lincoln Council.

By Ric Metcalfe, City of Lincoln Council Leader

What a year it has been! Notable for the protracted debate about Britain’s place in Europe, increasing and justifiable anxiety about the effects of climate change, continuing pressure on public services and right at the end, a seismic change in the political landscape.

I was extremely pleased that the whole council came together as one to support our proposal to declare a climate emergency for Lincoln and to commit to a carbon-neutral city by 2030.

This will challenge us to change the way we do things, as both individuals and organisations.

The council has already developed an action plan which includes the reduction of single use plastic in our buildings and we are encouraging others to follow our lead and go plastic free.

Sadly, you don’t need to go too far in the city to notice the effects of chronic underfunding for our public services. Homelessness is on the rise and is being felt in all towns and cities across the country. Lincoln is no exception.

We have taken significant steps over the last year to address the issues of homelessness and rough sleeping. We have worked together with partners to set up a rough sleeper initiative delivered by a team based at City Hall.

It is not a problem amenable to a quick solution, but successes are being achieved. Since it was set up the team has helped almost 100 people to find accommodation and assisted more than 160 who are suffering with mental health issues.

Another success I am particularly pleased about is that we were able to get government support for the removal of the blight of ‘To Let’ boards in certain areas of the city. At first glance, this might seem like a small thing but the improvements made are significant to those streets which were so negatively affected by signs which remained in place on a year-round basis.

We also celebrated Lincoln City FC’s promotion to League One, a success story that we recognised by organising the club’s second city parade in three years. It was incredible to witness more than 20,000 people lining the streets to cheer on their heroes and show their pride. It was a privilege to put on this event for Lincoln and we keep our fingers crossed that it isn’t too long before we can do it again!

We set great store by having good relationships with business in the city, large and small, which is why I am very happy at the number of businesses which have signed up to our Lincoln Social Responsibility Charter. Almost 70 businesses have now shown that they go ‘above and beyond’ in providing support for their employees and the community.

In 2017 we launched our vision of “Let’s deliver Lincoln’s ambitious future” and since then we have been integral in the delivery of dozens of new initiatives and projects which have helped move the city forward, from the Transport Hub to the £4million renovation of Boultham Park.

Next year, we hope to keep this momentum going with the launch of our Vision 2025 and I hope residents will get involved.

It will include further work at Boultham Park. A bid has gone into the Heritage Lottery Fund for money to improve the park’s lake, clearing silt and debris which will allow the water to become rich in oxygen and clean itself naturally. We are hoping to hear whether we are successful very early in the New Year.

Vision 2025 will include work on a fantastic new extra care facility on the vacant site off De Wint Court, off Bowden Drive. This will feature 50 one-bed apartments and 20 two-bed apartments and will bridge the gap between ordinary sheltered housing and residential care for a mixture of residents with high, medium and low care needs and supporting them to live independently. The project will be delivered in partnership with Lincolnshire County Council and Homes England.

There are also big changes on the way for Lincoln Crematorium, with a radical transformation on the cards, creating a modern, high-quality service which is fit for a growing city.

We will continue our house building programme, all our work to support sustainable economic growth, and our drive to reduce inequality.

There are some great challenges ahead in 2020 but also some great opportunities.

Councillor Ric Metcalfe is the Labour Leader of the City of Lincoln Council.

By Ric Metcalfe, City of Lincoln Council Leader

2018 has been a year contrasts. While the country seems to be in a period of division and political uncertainty, Lincoln has seen a year where pride in the city is at an all time high and many positive changes have been made as we look to the future.

A new era of cultural understanding was ushered in this spring, as the doors opened on the long-awaited Lincoln mosque. The mosque had a long and arduous journey to completion, and was funded entirely by donations so the opening of this already iconic building stands as a testament to the hard work and passion of the city’s Islamic community.

I feel that it is fantastic that Lincoln has shown itself to be a welcoming and diverse city and that the Islamic members of our society now have somewhere suitable to worship for many years to come.

Lincoln City FC made history this year by reaching the hallowed turf of Wembley Stadium for the very first time, winning the Checkatrade Trophy by beating Shrewsbury 1-0. What an amazing moment for both the team and the city!

It only seems like five minutes since we were all united as a city celebrating their league win with an open-top bus tour. It looks like there may be more causes for celebration coming up soon, so it’s an exciting and rewarding time to be an Imps fan.

2018 has also been the second year of the council’s vision 2020, and it’s been a year where we’ve delivered projects that have focused on the safety and wellbeing of our residents.

We have recently started an investment in fire safety for the residents of Shuttleworth House. £1 million has been spent on communal fire doors and individual property doors to ensure that we provide the best care possible as a landlord. This work is ongoing and fully supported by Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue.

We have also upgraded our CCTV network across the city. Our cameras now film in ultra-high definition and make it easier for police and security to identify those breaking the law. We work closely with Lincolnshire Police to provide footage for crime investigations, and they have told us that the new system makes the process much easier for them. As part of the CCTV upgrade, we were also able to roll out free public Wi-Fi in the city centre.

For me, one of the most important moments of 2018 was the launch of the Lincoln Intervention Team. I am very pleased to say that our multi-agency team is now out in the city centre working with vulnerable people to tackle the joint problems of drugs and begging in the city, and most importantly, the acts of antisocial behaviour that these cause.

It is still very early days, but I feel we are already seeing a visible positive difference in Lincoln and I’m sure that the good work of the team will ensure this continues into 2019 and many years to come.

I feel our year has been one of great positive changes in Lincoln, and what excites me most is that this is only the start. I am looking forward to 2019 and the continued improvements that I believe it will bring.

We have laid the foundation of a city built on compassion, equality and compassion, and the coming year we can all take pride in building a fantastic future for Lincoln.

Councillor Ric Metcalfe is the Labour Leader of the City of Lincoln Council.

By Ric Metcalfe, City of Lincoln Council Leader

This year has been a fantastic year for Lincoln – a year when we have been proud of the city we live and work in and, as councillors and council officers, the city we represent and work hard for.

As many of you will know, local councils are coming under increasing pressure, with greater demand on services but shrinking budgets. Despite this, City of Lincoln Council can show considerable achievements, and has made significant progress on projects that will benefit our residents, and has still continued to provide good quality frontline services.

Among our achievements in 2015 has been the annual Lincoln Christmas Market, which was once again a resounding success, according to feedback from visitors, stallholders and residents. This is a great event for the city, attracting 250,000 visitors, bringing £10 million into the local economy and putting Lincoln on the map. It was a culmination of a brilliant year for the city, which included the Magna Carta anniversary, reopening of Lincoln Castle and the national cycling championships.

We have been at the forefront of tackling an emerging issue, making national headlines in February, when we became the first council to introduce a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO), banning the consumption of so-called ‘legal highs’ in public city centre areas. Many councils have followed suit and action against these dangerous substances is now being discussed nationally.

In April, the Spark Engineering Festival was enjoyed by around 8,000 visitors in the magnificent surroundings of Lincoln Cathedral, and in September we celebrated 20 years of our Work Based Learning service, which has given hundreds of young people the vital skills needed to find employment.

We have continued to drive forward our Anti-Poverty Agenda, which has received national recognition for its work supporting our most vulnerable residents, with the help of many brilliant local partners.

It was with great sadness we said farewell to Andrew Taylor in March, after 16 years as Chief Executive. However, in July we were pleased to appoint Angela Andrews to take over the helm and help guide us through the exciting but challenging year ahead.

In 2016, we’ll be continuing to focus on our three main priorities:

Growing the economy

We’re working with partners to deliver Lincoln Transport Hub – a hugely important project replacing our out-dated bus station with something modern while also creating an improved gateway to Lincoln.

In addition, improvements to the city’s Central Market will gather pace, complementing Lincolnshire Co-op’s Cornhill Quarter Scheme. These projects, along with the Transport Hub, will completely regenerate this area of Lincoln city centre for residents, businesses, commuters and visitors.

We’re also hoping for a positive response to the devolution bid we have made along with our neighbouring authorities and will continue to work closely with others where it means we can provide the best services for local people.

Increasing the supply of affordable housing

Providing more affordable homes is vital as Lincoln continues to face a severe housing shortage. We’ll be celebrating the completion of a further 20 new council homes in Birchwood in March as part of our House Building Programme, while seeking planning permission for more new homes.

Work is progressing on the Western Growth Corridor development, which would see up to 3,000 new homes being built, along with new shops and leisure facilities.

Protecting our poorest residents

It’s inevitable that the massive cuts local councils have suffered in funding will have a detrimental impact on the services we are trying to provide and, sadly, on our poorest residents.

Our Living Wage campaign will be stepped up next year, encouraging businesses to pay the Living Wage, which is vital to grow the economy and improve people’s standard of living, while work on our Anti-Poverty Agenda will continue.

My New Year’s Resolution

To keep the city council at the heart of the community, fighting for social justice, and continuing to speak up for the people of Lincoln.

Councillor Ric Metcalfe is the Labour Leader of the City of Lincoln Council.

Councillor Ric Metcalfe is the Labour Leader of the City of Lincoln Council.

+ More stories