Exterior of The Cosy Club
The Cosy Club © Lincoln co-op
The Cosy Club © Lincoln co-op

Cornhill Quarter, Lincoln

Lincolnshire Co-op and Lincoln City Council are undertaking a £70m heritage-led regeneration of the Cornhill area of Lincoln’s city centre. It represents the most significant refurbishment and new build retail development in the heart of the city centre in recent times, with the opportunity to deliver modern well configured retail floor space not available elsewhere in this city centre retail location.

  • 50,000 square feet of refurbished retail and catering floorspace
  • 120 FTE jobs created
  • £70 million investment in the scheme including:
    • £30 million in related transport infrastructure projects
    • £1.5 million to enhance urban realm

New commercial use of the historic area

The Cornhill Quarter seeks to attract both visitors and businesses to Lincoln through the redevelopment of its historic buildings and an improved shopping experience at a time when high streets are in trouble.

The first phase of the project began with a skillful £12 million redevelopment of the historic Corn Exchange building. The Grade II listed building now houses the Cosy Club. This new bar and restaurant celebrates the building’s unique heritage through the restoration of its original features. Adorning the walls are historic market adverts, referencing the building’s long tradition as a trading location in the city. Other tenants include Flying Tiger Copenhagen, Moss Bros and Thomas Cook.

As well as delivering a new offer to those living and working in the city, the brands will encourage more people to come and experience the thriving city centre, contributing to the local economy. The regional shopping destination has a significant catchment area as well as attracting an estimated 4 million tourist visitors per year from both the UK and internationally.

Contribution of historic elements of the area to its new function

The area is also set to benefit from the careful restoration of historic shop premises. A new Everyman arts cinema will follow, creating an experiential retail destination. The removal of modern extensions from the Cornhill area has also opened up a new vista between High Street and Sincil Street. Allowing a visible connection between these two areas of the city has helped create a better streetscape and public realm.

Previous plans for monolithic development on the site have failed to materialise. In 1970, a proposal for a huge shopping centre with enclosed shopping mall, bus station and multi-storey car park would have required the total demolition of Sincil Street and the old and new Corn Exchange buildings, which are both listed. The plan was met with opposition due to the excessive scale of the project which disregarded the particular character of the city. A scheme proposed by Lincolnshire Co-op to renovate the Cornhill Quarter in 2008 based on a new department store also proved undeliverable.

The development we have now started in The Cornhill Quarter is a combination of rebuild and restoration to retain as much of the authenticity and original character of the area as possible. This is what many retailers, cafés and restaurants are now looking for, and will certainly set the scene for our beautiful historic city as you arrive in the centre.

Ursula Lidbetter, CEO of Lincolnshire Co-op