Poor rail service makes me hang head in shame
Barely a day passed this last summer without visitors to the Cathedral arriving frustrated at just how difficult their journey had been.
It was seldom the many miles travelled to get near to Lincoln, but the very few once they had got near.
This summer we welcomed a great many visitors and the same increase in numbers was experienced by the Visitor Information Centre.
In under 18 months' time the Castle re-opens, with its fabulous additional offering to visitors giving them at the very least a full day to enjoy the Cathedral, the Castle and other attractions.
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If we are successful with our Heritage Lottery Bid for Lincoln Cathedral Connected, numbers will increase further to the benefit of each attraction but at least as important to the economy of the city and county beyond.
But it seems there always is a but. This but is crucially important and is all about the problem of access.
When visitors to any historic city arrive by car these days, they expect a park and ride.
This is not necessarily for the daily commute and quite possibly not all year round but for those months when we expect to welcome many new people, it would make a huge and hugely beneficial economic difference.
Visitors who have had a good experience come back and they tell their friends.
If they drive into the city, they must be met by good and helpful road signs that take them to where car parks have room for them.
Once parked, they must be welcomed by good pedestrian signs and, with most of the car parks downhill, good public transport; not everyone can climb Steep Hill.
Work is in hand.
Lincoln BIG has taken over the uphill/downhill bus and is re-branding it and publicising it.
They are also engaged in a major project to improve pedestrian signage in the High Street area helping visitors to navigate the city.
Available figures indicate perhaps only one in 10 of those who visit downhill Lincoln make it uphill.
This month, the city council start consulting on some ideas and options for car parking with a view to a strategy itself being published early in 2014. Our car parks need to be visitor friendly.
Visitors need to be able to pay on exit.
Many visitors arrive by coach. Coach drivers will only come if they can park easily and be themselves welcomed.
Last and truly in no way least, many come by train and many more should.
But, and it is the biggest but of all, while people from Lincoln can travel for a day in London without having to change trains, the same is not the case for our visitors.
How often I have hidden my head in shame when visitors arrive at Lincoln station having totally failed to enjoy their journey here.
The franchise for the East Coast Mainline is out for re-tender, it is vital those companies bidding see the overwhelming economic case for a direct train from London to bring the many thousands of visitors in 2015 who want to see the place where Magna Carta began.