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Lincoln Glory Hole business owner fed up of ‘carrots being dangled’ regarding collapsed footway





A business owner at Lincoln’s Glory Hole — closed for repairs for a year now — said he is fed up of “carrots being dangled” over fixing the collapsed footway, and he’s had to dip into savings to keep the business open.

The Glory Hole, a footway between Wigford Way and the High Street, has been a staple of central Lincoln for hundreds of years, but it fell on hard times last year.

In February, a partial collapse of the footway resulted in Lincolnshire County Council closing the Glory Hole for temporary repairs, but investigations into the extent of the damage found extensive works would be required.

Roger Baldam-Lucas' business has been impacted for a year now, with the Glory Hole's closure. Photo: Ellis Karran
Roger Baldam-Lucas' business has been impacted for a year now, with the Glory Hole's closure. Photo: Ellis Karran

Underwater divers discovered a crumbling underside in May last year, and more routine inspections saw slabs beginning to lift, as well as a series of fractured wooden beams.

Lincolnshire County Council (LCC) submitted reconstruction plans for the area in October last year, with cost estimates of around £80,000 to blend modern engineering with the heritage of the area and return it to its former glory (hole).

The solution consisted of reinforcing existing timber piles with ‘C’ channel sections and introducing new transverse beams to support deck boards, featuring a grooved anti-slip surface to ensure safety when walking along it.

Lincoln's Glory Hole. Photo: Ellis Karran
Lincoln's Glory Hole. Photo: Ellis Karran

Planning permission was granted back in December 2023 to install a jetty that would reinstate the collapsed footway.

However, spates of bad weather and ongoing dealings with several agencies, including the Environment Agency and the River and Canals Trust, means we are no closer to a completion date.

This is despite Lincolnshire County Council’s hopes that works would be carried out early in 2024.

Roger Baldam-Lucas at the Glory Hole. Photo: Ellis Karran
Roger Baldam-Lucas at the Glory Hole. Photo: Ellis Karran

Roger Baldam-Lucas, owner of the Now Hair salon along the Glory Hole footway, said he has “absolutely no doubt” that business has been impacted by the year-long closure.

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He explained that he has had to shorten opening hours and even dip into savings to prevent the business collapsing, and is keen for action from the council as soon as possible.

“We’re not making any money and the fact of the matter is that’s what business is all about,” he said.

The Glory Hole has been closed for a year. Photo: Ellis Karran
The Glory Hole has been closed for a year. Photo: Ellis Karran

“Things haven’t actually been as bad as we were expecting and January/February is ordinarily very poor for business, but things are still very tight.

“I’m just quite fed up with the carrots being dangled and then taken away. I was told last year work would start in September, then it was October, and then nothing at all.

“Now we’re here, I have very little faith until I start seeing some action. I guess we just have to keep biting the bullet and keep going.”

Work at the Glory Hole. Photo: Ellis Karran
Work at the Glory Hole. Photo: Ellis Karran

Roger also said he had correspondence with Lincolnshire County Council via email earlier this month, where he was told the works were set to commence “at the end of February/early March,” subject to progress on other projects and weather situations.

This, however, is not what the council told reporters, with no timescale revealed when asked.

The council previously stressed that accusations of delaying works because of money or suggestions of “dragging our feet” are categorically wrong.

Lincoln's Glory Hole. Photo: Ellis Karran
Lincoln's Glory Hole. Photo: Ellis Karran

LCC says its stance has not changed from the last statement, where Coun Richard Davies, executive member for Highways, said it was a safety issue first and foremost.

“The truth of the matter is that this is a historic public right of way attached to a Grade II listed building, which is hard to reach and sits on the bank of a live, and very active, riverway in constant use by boating traffic.

“As such, we are having to deal with several external agencies, and dealing with each takes time,” he explained back in November.

“The alternative to what we are doing is to not liaise with the agencies we have to, to not do the work in line with the historic importance of the right of way, to not engage and find a solution to the problems of working in a live river with the Canal & Rivers Trust.

“Any one of those omissions could lead to a catastrophic end result and possibly loss of life.

“For the sake of getting the work done sooner, that is simply not something we are in any way going to consider.

“The work will be done as soon as it can be, without a needless threat to the safety of the experts who will carry it out, and it may take quite some time yet.”



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