POLL: Movers and shakers discuss how to provide a bright future in Lincoln
Lincoln's movers and shakers are discussing how to secure the city centre's success. Ideas already mooted include free parking and sorting out level crossing congestion. Here, Paul Whitelam asks what else people think could make a difference...
The city of Lincoln can expect exciting redevelopment over the next 20 to 25 years.
The £100 million Lindongate shopping centre and new footbridges over the railway could all finally come to fruition.
Making it easier for vehicles and pedestrians to get around, while freeing up regeneration and refurbishment, is at the heart of the Linking Lincoln City Centre Masterplan.
The focus of this week's sixth annual masterplan conference at the Doubletree by Hilton, was the future challenge for retail.
Speaking ahead of the event, Matt Corrigan, chief executive of Lincoln Business Improvement Group, said the internet should be seen as an opportunity, not a threat.
"I think that the secret to a good retail centre for the 21st century is for it to be a destination – not just for shopping, but for leisure and social activity as well," he said.
"We need to embrace the internet as a partner in this and, while we might lose out to it in terms of sales in some areas, there is also an opportunity to use things like social networking to ensure that the city centre is the social and economic hub of the city.
"It can be the showroom for goods, where people can try and buy, a great place for fashion, to buy 'real' locally-made gifts, products and produce.
"I'm really optimistic for Lincoln.
"Leisure time is still increasing and we have a great tourism offer, lively events and a growing university to attract people.
"The challenge is to make sure that our city centre works as one, not as three or four or more competing centres, with a vibrant mix of specialist shopping, national brands, indoor and outdoor markets, pubs, restaurants, clubs, cinema, lively public spaces and quiet places in which to relax."
Ric Metcalfe, leader of the City of Lincoln Council, said business growth must go hand-in-hand with growing local infrastructure.
"This can be anything from ensuring we have suitable sites available for housing to flood management plans, schools, roads and more," he said.
"My hope for the future of Lincoln is that it becomes a prosperous place to live and work.
"The council is already playing its part in making this happen, by ensuring that the recipe is right for businesses to start up in or move to the city, and to stay and grow when they get here."