Councillor Neil Murray, Portfolio Holder for Economic Growth, presented a report which provided Council with an update on the work of his Portfolio.
Councillor Murray was pleased to see that residents in the Sincil Bank area voted positively for the introduction of the Residents’ Parking Scheme in a consultation exercise recently held. This would be very helpful by removing vehicles which at the moment clogged up the streets in that area and would improve the quality of life for residents. He was hopeful that the County Council would address the problem of rat runs through the area given that the East-West link road was now well established. Councillor Murray was concerned about the air quality and road safety in this area as a consequence to this unnecessary traffic.
Another positive development was the introduction of a ban on ‘to let’ signs, which had seen an immediate beneficial effect on the street scene when introduced in April 2019.
Councillor Murray reported that nearly 250,000 people had attended the Lincoln Christmas Market in 2019 and emphasised what a special and unique event it continued to be. He praised staff from across the authority who all came together from different service areas to provide excellent support in running the event alongside key partners from the emergency services in particular.
The Guildhall was now part of the Lincoln tourism trail and Councillor Murray reported that the Civic Team had done the Council proud in opening up the building to the public. This year marked 500 years since the last major works had been completed on the building, which had been used as a meeting place to govern the business of the city since 1237. Exciting events to commemorate this anniversary would take place later this year.
Councillor Murray reported that the Council’s car parks had responded to anti-social behaviour by investing in security equipment to keep people safe. CCTV and sensor equipment to deter anti-social behaviour had been put in place with an immediate positive effect. He highlighted that staff continued to provide an excellent service despite some difficult situations, but emphasised the importance of protecting staff.
The Council’s Planning and Heritage Officers had worked closely with the Co-operative in relation to the re-development of the Sincil Street area. The results were excellent and were being viewed as an exemplar by an increasing number of planning, heritage and regeneration professionals both regionally and nationally. Councillor Murray was keen for people to understand the important role that the Council’s officers were playing in support of these re-development works.
Councillor Eddie Strengiel referred to the proposed Western Growth Corridor development which sought to provide good quality homes and new leisure facilities on the Swanpool site linking into the city centre. He reflected on plans he had seen in 2007 which involved the proposal commencing development from Beevor Street going out towards Birchwood Avenue and Skellingthorpe Road. However, the latest plans indicated that development would now commence from Birchwood Avenue and Skellingthorpe Road. Councillor Strengiel felt that this would cause unnecessary disruption to residents and commuters and questioned the feasibility in respect of revenue generation to fund a new railway bridge, which was a fundamental part of the whole development. He therefore asked the Portfolio Holder to give due consideration to the feasibility of commencing the development works from Birchwood Avenue and Skellingthorpe Road.
Councillor Murray emphasised that the Western Growth Corridor development was vital for Lincoln and was the largest and most sustainable urban extension in the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan. He agreed to raise Councillor Strengiel’s concerns with officers.
Councillor Ronald Hills referred to the section in the report which highlighted that officers were looking into ways they could address developments in the central residential area of the city where on-street parking was at a premium. He made a plea from the perspective of the Planning Committee that any changes in respect of this issue be implemented as a citywide policy.
Councillor Hilton Spratt, regarding rat runs in the Sincil Bank area, suggested that it may have been a mistake to block off the bottom of Portland Street as part of recent redevelopments in the area. He added that consideration could perhaps be given to opening up Portland Street as a bus route only. With regard to car parking, he highlighted that residents in other areas off the high street such as Foster Street also suffered with a lack of parking provision due to commuters or shoppers parking outside their homes and walking into town. He therefore called for further Residents’ Parking Schemes. Councillor Spratt was supportive of the introduction of CCTV in car parks to protect staff, stating that anyone working for the City of Lincoln Council should be able to undertake their duties without fear of abuse or threatening behaviour.
Councillor Murray reiterated the problem of rat-running in the Sincil Bank area from the perspective of unnecessary traffic and very poor air quality. Anything that could be done to help residents in that area would be beneficial and he agreed that it would be worth speaking to the County Council regarding bus movement in that area.
With regard to other Residents’ Parking Schemes in the area, Foster Street was included in a consultation for a Residents’ Parking Scheme where a vote in favour of a scheme had been confirmed.
Councillor Chris Burke said that improvements to the Sincil Bank area had been as a result of the valuable work undertaken by the Neighbourhood Team and the introduction of the Community Hub in the area. As a consequence, the number of people engaging in events in the area, including meetings of the Neighbourhood Board, had increased.
The report was noted.