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Regency Genius
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, not to seem presumptious, but having read and enjoyed the similar threads about Leicester and Nottingham's local economies, I thought I'd make one about Lincoln, too.

My fellow residents will hopefully agree when I state why: no-one running the place seems to have the faintest idea what they want Lincoln to be! In the words of Seneca, "if a man does not know to which port he is sailing, no wind is favourable", and I feel this is true on a grand scale with Lincoln.

If I may, I'd like to lay out what I feel to be the case in terms of the local economy, and what the council thinks is going on.

IS LINCOLN A GREAT SHOPPING CAPITAL?


Well, the councillors seem to push this. Never a day goes by when we aren't reminded of how "diverse" our shopping facilities are here in Lincoln, or how much we have given the city's extremely small size.

I believe this to be wrong. There are several problems with Lincoln's shopping facilities (as well as a huge number of untapped strengths). First and foremost, whatever council literature may say, the shopping isn't diverse. There are a massive number of eateries relative to other shops, far more than there need to be. The clothes shops that there are tend to cater incessantly towards 12-16 year old girls, with a couple for teenage lads from what I can see. When you find yourself constantly going back into M&S (as I do) you know that matters are problematic.

There are other problems with Lincoln's shopping. Has anyone else noticed this, but the streets are incredibly obtuse to navigate for those not used to the city's workings? I'm sure it all used to make sense, but was there ever a worse case of 1960s over-engineering than Lincoln's centre? It's not good for tourists seeking to shop. Then we have the problem of the high-street's surroundings. Most roads off the high street (and the high street itself after pedestrianisation ends) need urgent restoration or demolition. Large chunks of shopping territory are slipping into seediness, and many parts that actually are not (like the gem around the Cornhill) get overlooked by default. A little council planning is all that is needed here.

The old fallacy that the city has a lot considering its size is also a rather one-dimensional argument, given the size of the area that relies on Lincoln for its shopping facilities. Taking that into perspective, the area is woeful in terms of shopping. It doesn't need "MOAR SHOPPZZ NAO!" as the council seems to think, it just needs shops that people actually want to go in and buy things from. That Waterside shopping centre, it's beautiful, it was built (from what I can tell) to an unusually high standard, and yet there's nothing in it! St. Marks is even worse, only without the "high standard" bit.

Ok then....

THE CITY IS A MAJOR TOURIST HUB?

Well, it certainly should be. No offense to my fellow E. Midlanders, but since Lincoln is essentially an East Anglian city accidentally moved north, that gives it a lot of attractiveness to potential tourists in the region. I don't see why Lincoln should be any less of a tourist attraction than York, after all they are cut of much the same cloth. (no ecclesiastical pun intended)

What are the obstacles?

a.)No direct rail links to the Capital, and pretty obtuse links everywhere actually. Culturally, Lincoln shares more with East Anglia. So why is it that trying to travel there results in death by a million frustrated suicides?

b.)Not enough advertisement. 'Nuff said. When I see adverts of "visit Birmingham" on the TV for Christ's sake, it brings into true relief my own council's craven stupidity.

c.) Other parts of the city let the historic bit down for tourists. If you're a tourist coming in through our godawful bus station, what are you going to think?

Right. Not that then.

IS IT A GREAT UNIVERSITY CITY?

I know that a lot of people on this board attend Lincoln University, and in my capacity of a professor, I have been there many times, and been pleasantly surprised by the quality of the staff and courses.

However, as a social experiment, it has not worked. Lincoln has a chronic housing crisis, and the siting of the University there not only robbed the city of inner-city housing, it also inundated the west end with students (understandably) seeking accomodation. I don't want to sound like the Daily Mail, but there is just no room! The city is not a university city, (Lincoln's city was always Oxford, perversely enough, invariably controlled by the Bishops and chapter of Lincoln), and the grafting on of the old Humberside and Lincoln university does not somehow make it a "university city".

Also, and this is more subjective, the designs for the university's buildings are starting to look a bit dated. Boxes were great a few years ago, but can we even have one, teensy tiny curve now?

SO WHAT IS IT?

I don't know. Historically, the wealth of the cloth guilds and the wealth of the Catholic church made Lincoln hyper-rich. Those days are gone, and the sooner the council realises that it needs a plan (the current master-plan is an utter joke), the better. What is Lincoln's function? Right now, it's a forgotten city in a forgotten county. It behoves the city's local governance to get off their backsides and actually do something for their city, like their opposite numbers in Nottingham do (I would love to say Leicester, and I would but for their, somewhat "destructive" streak. I'm sure even the most die-hard Leicester fan would not hold up Leicester council as a shining example of all that is right about local governance, either).

Ah, glad to have got that off my chest. If you read through all that, thanks. Please leave your thoughts about the local economy.
 

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welcome j nash :)


a.)No direct rail links to the Capital, and pretty obtuse links everywhere actually. Culturally, Lincoln shares more with East Anglia. So why is it that trying to travel there results in death by a million frustrated suicides?
this is a huge problem and as you say lincoln shares more with east anglia... but unfortunately it has been the victim of gerrymandering to the extent we have the county even split between two different regions.

b.)Not enough advertisement. 'Nuff said. When I see adverts of "visit Birmingham" on the TV for Christ's sake, it brings into true relief my own council's craven stupidity.
it's worse than that though. there's an almost total disregard for history in lincoln when it should be rivaling york in this respect. why isn't the cathedral a world heritage site? why did the council give planning permission for hotels to be converted to university accommodation thus causing a shortage? why is it more expensive to get a three star hotel room in lincoln than a four star hotel room in manchester or even nottingham?

c.) Other parts of the city let the historic bit down for tourists. If you're a tourist coming in through our godawful bus station, what are you going to think?
i have yet to see a bus station worse. i am amazed it has survived as long as it has.

However, as a social experiment, it has not worked. Lincoln has a chronic housing crisis, and the siting of the University there not only robbed the city of inner-city housing, it also inundated the west end with students (understandably) seeking accomodation. I don't want to sound like the Daily Mail, but there is just no room! The city is not a university city, (Lincoln's city was always Oxford, perversely enough, invariably controlled by the Bishops and chapter of Lincoln), and the grafting on of the old Humberside and Lincoln university does not somehow make it a "university city".
indeed the university was built in the wrong place. i was chatting to the architect of one of the buildings on it and he said it was an awful shame that the best development land in the city that private companies would hunger after was taken by the university and that meant that there was lots of brownfield land out of the city centre that is unused and unloved because it's too far away. they could have built the university there, but didn't.
 

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Regency Genius
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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Thanks Gothic! Lovely to hear your comment.

I really hope the new Mayor can help to an extent. I know his family socially, and they are really lovely people. Don't know what that means for the city, though.

Now that you say it, I've never seen a worse bus station either. I only hope Lindumgate can go through, and then we'll have a new one.

EDIT:

Is it just me, or has Lincolnshire as a whole been totally and utterly forgotten? In many ways that's a good thing, because that Dickensian aura has been maintained in large parts which is unique now, but seriously, when is someone going to start caring about this county? I believe it was someone in the old Labour government who said that Lincolnshire was on the "economic periphery of England", and thus not worthy of investment.

Turning on the telly during the election so that the "local" election coverage show could tell me about South Shields made me (metaphorically) weep for the fate of this great county. This country needs ways of attracting foreign tourists to spend cash, but won't due to such places being on the "economic periphery" of the country. Sorry, I forgot. If they're not true blue or true red, **** 'em. Merseyside, Leeds, Chelsea and Kensington are the only four places in the country, after all.

It's the same with London. If I were Mayor of London, I would turn Whitehall and Westminster into "olde worlde" areas for the tourists, complete with red phone boxes and routemasters, and encourage the City and Canary wharf to completely modernise into the 21st century. Voila, business gets its floor space, modern architecture is not compromised, and the tourists can still come in droves.

If France had these cretins, they'd be recycling the Eiffel Tower, and then blocking off supertall projects because it "blocks the view" of the Champs Elysee. Mental! But I guess I feel it more in Lincoln.
 

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I believe it was someone in the old Labour government who said that Lincolnshire was on the "economic periphery of England", and thus not worthy of investment.
fastest growing place in the country too... better to stick infrastructure in shrinking cities like liverpool! the idea of the previous government was to slice a vast chunk off lincoln, marry it to properly rural areas, and then claim the whole place is rural and thus needs no new infrastructure investment. can you think of any other rural areas in england that have their largest population centre as part of a city?

what we need, badly, is transport infrastructure.

oh and did you see that lincoln's new tory MP was unable to make his maiden speech in the house of commons, his train was stupidly late!
 

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Nice post Mr. Nash.

I agree entirely, in what does the Council want Lincoln to be? It has potential to be a massive fluctuating City.

The Bailgate area could be as popular as the Shambles at York if organised and promoted right, this I beleive is down to the lack of ambition via the Bailgate working association than any City planning - as the york stone resurfacing to me has rejuvented the area.

Difficult position about the University, as would students attend a University on the outskirts of Lincoln? What is on the outskirts? Nothing. The positioning for me is fine, however, it needs to link to the City centre better than currently - as does the Brayford waterfront (who to me, maybe the weather has helped has become vibrant over the last 6 months) A crossover point, rather than a smelly underground subway under Wigford Way needs focusing upon. The East/West Link would be crucial to this.

That leads me onto transport, a population near on 100,000 and our train service is as good as a local village, it is disgusting - why has it been left to suffer for so long? The roads haven't been a focus, although light relief that the A46 will be a dual all the way to the M1. - But what about the A15, A57, A46? Single carriageway's carrying tens of thousands worth of traffic including many HGV's each day to the nearest motorway, why? It is also typical that the by-pass next in line after the A46 Newark/Windmerpool improvement, will be cancelled due to the economic mess we are in.

Also, a quick note should the City boundaries be shifted? Should Hykeham be moved into Lincoln? It nearly boast a population of 15,000 - it is class as a rural town, it won't recieve the funding an urban City would and yet a suburb technically is being left to demise again to the lack of funding.

I would love this City to be flourish, but we seem to have our hands tied and have done for years.
 

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they could have built the university off valentine road and crusader road... but they didn't. check out the site on google earth, it's hardly out of the city.

Also, a quick note should the City boundaries be shifted? Should Hykeham be moved into Lincoln? It nearly boast a population of 15,000 - it is class as a rural town, it won't recieve the funding an urban City would and yet a suburb technically is being left to demise again to the lack of funding.
not just hykeham. bracebridge and waddington are expanding rapidly, physically connected with lincoln and so on. to the west birchwood suffers in the same way. if you add these to lincoln and the population goes up to about 130,000. the last government wasn't stupid though, it saved them a fortune by meaning they didn't need to build infrastructure.
 

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Great post...

And very timely for me as I was back in Lincoln for the first time for 4 years - but only for about an hour!

I love Lincoln, I was born there but share everyone's frustrations with seemingly endless delays and missed opportunities to create a city that fulfills it's potential. But it's easy to be negative...

The University in my eyes has been a great success, the fact it is there at all seems to me like a miracle. When it first opened a night security guard gave is an impromptu tour. I was overwhelmed that a building of it's quality was in the middle of Lincoln.

There are other successes - the re-paving, the collection, the starter business units. All this shows some vision and determination and those people should be congratulated.

Sure in hindsight, perhaps the university should have been sited not outside the city, but perhaps further to the east. (As Gothic mentions above) The promised continuation of the city centre through the university and beyond hasn't happened - they are unsurprisingly two separate entities - not helped by Wigford Way. To create the kind of fluidity this part of the city centre needs ripping up - and that's a huge project with a cost implication.

I do think the master-plan has identified this and some of the other problems - but the reality is they will be realised in a piecemeal fashion, certainly as long as these projects rely on private capital (well any capital!), and this is the cause of the frustration.

The east-west relief road is a another case in point, it's burdened by the 'will it, won't it' factor – but again the powers that be have identified an opportunity, but what can they do when funding opportunities are relatively slim.
 

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Regency Genius
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'd bet my bottom undergarment that the lower-half of the High Street won't see pedestrianisation for at least 10 years. I'd bet something a little less vital that the EW relief road won't be done for at least 5.
 

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no comment here so far on the canceled rail link to london.

£188 million quid has been spent on infrastructure to allow it to run, and the government has decided to not run the services to save £9 million (this is only possible because the franchise is state owned). as a sop east coast will be running one single service to london every day, which leaves within 15 minutes of the single service we already have. we've been watching other cut backs around the country and trying to find one as insane as £9 million after you've spent £188 million so it's quite funny seeing people complain about £150 million in costs to cut the school building programme of £55 billion, or a 0.2% cost to cut ratio or a 2088% cost to cut ratio for lincoln's rail link.

particularly loving our stupid new tory mp who seems to support the cuts.

Sure in hindsight, perhaps the university should have been sited not outside the city, but perhaps further to the east. (As Gothic mentions above) The promised continuation of the city centre through the university and beyond hasn't happened - they are unsurprisingly two separate entities - not helped by Wigford Way. To create the kind of fluidity this part of the city centre needs ripping up - and that's a huge project with a cost implication.
bingo, and the most commercially valuable land to develop residentially in lincoln is around the brayford. this land has been taken by the university, which would have happened anyway but a bit further east. when i speak to architects have actually designed the university buildings they always remark about how they don't quite understand why it has been given THE central location. the owner of one firm said it was "almost too good for students" and started talking about how he thought it was a shame the best land wasn't being privately developed. the end result is the sole private block developed there has been this where the smaller flats were listed for sale at a higher price per square foot than canary wharf!

 

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Should the University have failed I think it would have been a major disaster for Lincoln. Therefore everything needed to be done to maximise the probability of it being successful including building it in the best location. Should the University have failed I understand it was designed (at first anyway) so that it could easily be converted into retail and other uses which which might not have worked at another location. Also if they hadn't built the University where it is then realistically they would only have built more St. Marks/Tritton Road style retail centres dominated by ugly warehouse style buildings and masses of surface level carparking. Given the choice between these two I imagine most people would opt for the University.
 
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