Lucy Tower car park to re-open in February
Lincoln's Lucy Tower car park will not re-open until February, it has been confirmed.
Repair work resumed this week on the multi-storey car park, which has over 450 spaces, after being suspended in June.
But the revised programme of work means that it will not be back in use until two months after the Christmas Market.
The City of Lincoln Council has moved to reassure visitors and businesses that there will still be ample parking available during events such as the festive markets, which begin on December 3.
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The original £1.4million repair scheme began back in March but was called off when contractors discovered that corrosion to steel used in the structure was much worse than first thought.
Structural engineers were called in to determine whether repairs were viable, and rumours spread that the council was considering demolishing the car park, which was built in 1973.
The cost of the work has risen to £2million and it is hoped it will extend the structure’s lifespan by a further decade.
Funding will come from the council’s cash reserves.
Council bosses believe that recent projects to open up more city centre spaces will provide sufficient capacity for regular visitor flows, but admit that facilities will be stretched during major city events.
Staff parking at City Hall is now open to the public on a pay and display basis and there are currently negotiations to put a same arrangement in place at Lincolnshire County Council’s staff parking facility.
In addition, 46 new spaces have been added at the former Grand Hotel site.
“The steel corrosion is bad and the cost is significant - it is important that we bring this car park back into public use and extend its life. It will take substantially longer than anticipated, which at the moment isn’t good news for the city,” said council leader Cllr Ric Metcalfe.
“We have bended every sinew to try and avoid this situation."
John Bibby, director of housing and community services at the council, said the disruption had not been on the scale expected.
“The perceived chaos hasn’t materialised as imagined since Lucy Tower closed - there have been no significant issues, although problems have been exacerbated during events such as the university graduation ceremonies,” he said.
“Over the Christmas period, we will look at opening up new areas of land, and we are in negotiations with the county council over other options, such as a walk and ride facility.”