Please sign petition at the end of this blogpost, thank you
The City of Lincoln Council have put The Lawn back up for sale. The asking price is £1,000,000, admittedly it has suffered from lack of maintenance and needs another £800,000 (last years figure so it’s probably more like £1,000,000) spent on it.
Why are the City of Lincoln Council selling it? £2,000,000 won’t fill many holes in their 2014-15 budget; the Council’s annual budget is in the region of £25,000,000 pounds so £1,000,000 would last for just over 2 weeks. Turned into a tourist attraction it’s value to the City would surely be more than £2,000,000 per annum.
Unfortunately, the City Council do not have the drive or enthusiasm to develop the Lawn Complex into a tourist attraction. The council only pay lip service to tourism, the Christmas Market happened to be a ‘success’ by accident rather than design.
I asked Cllr. Ric Metcalfe some questions on Facebook today, unfortunately he didn’t answer the last question. Which means the purchaser can put the building and grounds to any use they want (subject to planning) and exclude the public from the grounds and the Dawber Garden
The Lawn (formerly Lincoln Lunatic Asylum) is an historic building where many new methods were perfected to treat mentally ill patients in a more humane way (read more about the Lawn here)
It seems strange that the City of Lincoln Council wish to dispose of The Lawn when across the road at the Castle work is in the final stages to erect a new building and improve access.
Lincoln Castle Revealed is a major restoration of the buildings and walls costing in the region of £22,000,000. It includes a new temperature and light controlled building to house Lincoln’s copy of the Magna Carta and the Charter of the Forest, the only place where both important documents can be viewed; restoration of the walkways around the castle including installation of lifts for disabled visitors and rebuilding of the curtain walls.
During the restoration work several important and unique discoveries have been made, including a formerly unknown church and a stone sarcophagus containing the remains of an important person.
Lincoln Cathedral Connected is the Dean & Chapters project to improve the area around the Cathedral (read about it here). The Dean & Chapter have applied for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to enable the development of the plans, the total cost of the project is £12,000,000.
The Castle Revealed and (if funding is available) the Cathedral Connected projects will move Lincoln up several levels as a tourist destination, so why are the City Council selling a marvellous asset that could be put to many different uses:
- There are 2 or 3 empty shops and an empty cafe plus offices on the site which, if the Lawn was marketed as a tourist attraction, could generate useful income for the council.
- The Joseph Banks Convervatory celebrates one of the most important English botanists but it has been neglected over the years and needs money and time spent to restore it. Why is there a retail unit at the entrance? It adds nothing to the conservatory and makes access to it difficult. The unit would be better placed in one of the shop units opposite the Charlotte House. It appears the conservatory is included in the sale.
- Mental Health is very much in the spotlight, a national museum of Mental Illness would be a good way to highlight the forward thinking that was used at the Lawn in the early 19th century.
- There are many other ways the Lawn could be used to the benefit of this beautiful and historic city of ours.
The Cathedral, Castle, Lawn and the Museum of Lincolnshire Life would make an excellent tourist trail.
In the words of the salesman “Once it’s gone, it’s gone!”, we can’t afford to lose this fine asset. I predict in a few years the grounds will be built on and the buildings turned into flats at a vast profit to a developer – despite what the covenants may state.
Please sign the epetition to stop the sale
Anyone want to buy an arch? It’s been knocked about a bit in the last 1800 years.
Reply received to my question to Cllr Ric Metcalfe late the next morning:
City of Lincoln Council Hi Phil, apologies Ric had left before this question came in. The South lawn is included in the proposed sale and so would become private space, but most of the West lawn is excluded and so would remain publicly accessible.
We will be evaluating bid proposals in due course and proposed use and treatment of the grounds will be one of many considerations taken into account.