Andrew Abbott's Blog

Monday, 23 January 2012

Joined up thinking.

Monday’s news that Lincoln has not been included in a report on the effect of the recession on British cities is tiresome but really no surprise.

Lincoln is regarded nationally as a small place and a look at the population would seem to confirm this although finding an accurate official population figure on the net is far from easy but, lets say the population is between 85000-90000. It doesn’t seem that small but to the government it is. The magic figure would appear to be 100000 and that was the figure mentioned when Lincoln twice, by invitation, applied for Lord Mayor Status. When Chester and then Exeter were awarded that honour it was stated that really a city was thought to have to be over that threshold in order to qualify.

The irony is that Lincoln is indeed over that threshold in all but name, surely this setback ought to be the catalyst to do something about it and the good news is, it’s been done before. So how do you make a place bigger? Well you can’t but what you can do is to recognise reality. Drive from Lincoln to Hykeham and there is no break in the built environment. The same could be said for Washingborough, Bracebridge Heath and Waddington and to a slightly lesser extent Nettleham and Skellingthorpe and with just a little licence Saxilby Harmston and Heighington. If that is a little far fetched for you consider the City of Peterborough where the city boundary extends to the outskirts of Stamford. If you add those adjacent and adjoining settlements on you reach a population for Lincoln of something like 130000.

Residents of these areas will argue the case for separate identity but this latest indignity actually sets all of us back. Would we have so much trouble getting new infrastructure, park and ride, problems with the railway etc etc if it was recognised that the city was the large centre of population that it is? The city has moved it’s boundaries before and surely now is the time to do so again in everyone’s interest. Hykeham will remain Hykeham, Washingborough will still be Washingborough only this way we might actually get something done instead of being regarded as insignificant little Lincoln. Who knows? We might even get a Lord Mayor!

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