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Tom Gooding


Tom graduated from the University of Lincoln in 2010. He blogs about digital culture and social media, and writes creatively in his spare time.

— After a week of looking back at the most important developments in Lincoln throughout 2011, it’s time to see what’s in store for the city in 2012

Fresh into the new year, Lincoln will be welcoming Royalty again on January 19 as the University of Lincoln and Siemens welcome HRH The Princess Royal, Princess Anne, to inaugurate the newly built Engineering Hub. She will tour the building from 12.15pm, before unveiling a special plaque. The £15 million mental rehabilitation centre off Long Leys Road, Discovery House, is set to open in January as well.

Local elections will be held on May 3, when residents can decide which party takes responsibility for the city at City Hall. Last year, Labour returned to power after losing out to the Conservatives in 2007, so expect a close race at the polls.

Yarborough Sports Ground will hold overnight celebrations for the Olympic Torch procession through Lincoln on June 27, exactly one month before the opening ceremony in London. The event will be free to attend, but details about what it will entail are currently under wraps. The Olympic Flame will leave Lincoln on June 28 to continue its journey through Saxilby, Grantham, Stamford and Market Deeping.

Work continues on the £7.5 million development of Lincoln College’s main city centre campus into the new year, which will include a brand new sport, health and spa facility at the Deans Building, as well as an all-weather sports pitch. Meanwhile, the University of Lincoln and Bishop Grosseteste University College will see if their student numbers will be affected by the rise in tuition fees, up to £9,000 per year.

Lincolnshire County Council will work in 2012 towards fulfilling a set of conditions Chancellor George Osbourne imposed before approving the Lincoln Eastern Bypass funding bid in November 2011. The government will contribute £50 million towards the single-carriageway bypass, which is expected to cost £94 million in total. The County Council is contributing with £14 million and is underwriting £34 million of third-party funding. Construction could start in 2014.

Further developments on the Lindongate project are expected in the first half of the year, as a revised planning application is currently with planners at the City Council. Lindongate will see the south-east corner of Lincoln city centre receive a new shopping complex, car park and bus station. The proposal should encourage the use of public transport and improve footfall to and from the High Street. The project would take up to 30 months to complete, and is assumed to be complete in early 2015, creating up to 3,250 regional direct and indirect jobs.

Elsewhere in the city in 2012, a proposal for a new Lidl, a mosque and some new housing to be built on the site of the former Boultham Dairy has been approved. Full planning permission was granted for the supermarket and associated parking, whereas outline permission was given for a housing estate and secondary building, which may be turned into a mosque. The details of the housing development and the mosque will be subject to certain reserved matters in 2012, which include design, archeology and affordable housing. Meanwhile, on Newark Road, the site of the Waggon and Horses pub will be turned into a housing complex and associate car parking.

The High Street will also see a new, modern River Island store. The current small unit housing Next and Sundance will be removed and in its place a large, glass-fronted unit will be built. In addition, those exhausted after a walk up Steep Hill will be able to grab a tasty pasty, as the Cornish Pasty Shop received permission to open a new outlet at the top of the street.

— As 2011 draws to a close, we take a look back and give you a concise breakdown of the biggest business developments of the year for Lincoln

Lincoln is the UK’s number one hotspot for business growth, according to a study that found the number of companies trading in Lincoln totals 8,000. In addition, a new business hub at Bishop Grosseteste offers help to young companies, and the new Engineering Hub at the University of Lincoln also opened.

Tourism and Retail

Back in August, the City of Lincoln Council increased the amount of funds it puts into tourism and culture by almost £450,000 in an effort to boost visitor numbers and to bring more money into the local economy. Controversially however, the council decided to proceed with the sale of The Lawn in the Bailgate area, although this continues to be met with fierce opposition because of its merit as a tourist location and its importance to Lincoln’s heritage.

The cancellation of last year’s Christmas Market was blamed for visitor numbers at Lincoln Cathedral taking a nose dive in 2010, although it made a triumphant comeback this year, seeing over 335,000 people visiting the city over the weekend.

Reaping the benefits of the busiest ever Christmas Market period were shops and hotels — good examples being the Castle Hotel in Westgate and the Holiday Inn on Brayford Pool, both of which also saw £1 million refurbs this year. Of course, the erection of a DoubleTree by Hilton on the Brayford is also drawing to a close, with rooms ready to book from January 2012.

There have also been changes on Lincoln’s High Street. Renovations were made to Marks & Spencer and Wilkinson, the town centre got another Tesco Express convenience store in May, and Apple franchise store, Stormfront, just opened in the Waterside Shopping Centre.  Lincoln coffee shop Stokes Coffee has seen success expanding its trade to retail outlets and taking over the café at The Collection.

Nightlife and Dining

Lincoln’s nightlife has developed significantly this year, as three new nightclubs opened their doors. Wahoo opened in January in the building that was formerly Chicago Rock Café, Tokyo opened in August after a £1.5 million renovation of the Constitutional Club on Silver Street, and more recently, The Annexe reopened as Home after a £3 million revamp and re-brand. The future of long-running nightclub Ritzy is up in the air, however, since the owners went into administration after recording massive financial losses.

Other pubs and bars have also received makeovers. The Horse and Groom on Carholme Road reopened in November after having been closed for almost two years, with a focus on good food and traditional ales, much of which is locally sourced. Bar 67, a wine bar at The Lincoln Hotel, reopened after the previous venue had been shut for 25 years. The Glasshouse in St. Mark’s Square closed earlier in the year to make way for a new Toby’s Carvery, a national restaurant chain.

With the birth and regeneration of so many businesses within the city of Lincoln this year, it will be interesting to see how the city economy will improve in 2012.

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