Important long views
This Plan includes several policies intended to ensure that development respects the integrity of the Lincoln Edge, the setting of historic Lincoln upon it and the dominance in the skyline of the grouping formed by the Cathedral, the Castle and Blomfield's Water Tower (a Grade II listed building). It is a composition of landform and architectural excellence, rightly regarded as a national, indeed, an international treasure. Historic Lincoln and especially the Cathedral, is visible over considerable distances. "The Parliamentary Gazetteer" (1845-6) noted historical reports of the Minster "forming a conspicuous object from a distance almost incredible; as, for instance, from the hills beyond Buxton, Derbyshire". While that observation may have been made through the clearer air of pre-industrial Britain and when the Cathedral's three towers were crowned with spires, it is still visible from distances of 20 to 30 miles, from points on the Fens, the Lincolnshire and Leicestershire Wolds and from west of the Trent. Within Lincolnshire, these distant views of the historic City are safeguarded by policies in Local and Structure Plans.

Policy 55 is concerned with 'long views' within the City of Lincoln. In essence, these are views towards and from the historic hill top City, of a scale which allows the eye to appreciate Lincoln's landscape setting and encapsulates the composition of landform and architectural excellence referred to earlier. It is not intended to encompass the many attractive views which occur over lesser distances from within the built up area. These are dealt with in Chapter 5: "Built Environment".

There is no shortage of 'long views' in Lincoln, but categorising them and assessing their relative attractiveness is an inevitably subjective exercise. It is especially important that what might be termed 'classic' views and viewpoints are safeguarded and Policy 55 lists those which are considered to be most significant. Nevertheless, the impact of development proposals on the quality of other views including opportunities to enhance existing and create new views may be a material consideration in the determination of planning applications.

Topography dictates that Lincoln's most spectacular long views are to and from the south and west. These take in not only the hill top setting of the historic City, but also the Lincoln Edge's scarp slope and the sharp definition that gives to the Witham Gap. There are also important long views from the east and north, across the dip slope of the Lincoln Edge escarpment, along radial routes from the City Centre and, notably, from the floor of the Witham Gap.

These long views fall into two basic categories:
•    along the axes of radial routes to and from the City Centre, e.g. Tritton Road; Newark Road/High Street; Sincil Bank; Canwick and Cross O'Cliff Hills; Greetwell Road; Wragby Road; Nettleham Road and Riseholme Road;
•    across open spaces where these provide an attractive contrast of a substantial rural/open space foreground against the urban area and historic City setting - e.g. from the A57 across Bishop Bridge and the West Common; from the A46 Western Relief Road across parts of Decoy and Fen Farms and Skewbridge; from the Catchwater Drain across the Skewbridge Swath; the length of the Witham Valley south of the Brayford and from the top of the South Common.

There are also important views out of the City, principally from the Lincoln Ridge and the historic buildings set on it. These vistas owe their existence to a combination of historical 'accident' such as the radial alignment of Roman Roads, disposition of common land, and to physical restrictions imposed by flood risk and ground conditions. In the future, some are likely to be subject to development pressures, in various forms, as demand for land and the needs and capability of technology increase. Their potential impacts will vary from views being blocked by development to the quality of views being compromised by poor design and the ' insensitive positioning of overhead power lines, masts, aerials, lights, lighting columns and advertisements.

The future of vistas across and along open spaces is closely linked with that of the Green Wedges. The potential impact of development on the quality of views is, therefore, consistently highlighted as a material consideration in this Plan's policies for the various uses found within Green Wedges and for open space, generally. At a larger scale, it is also an issue which informs the alignment of the Skewbridge 'Swath' north from the Catchwater Drain, where substantial linear open spaces have been retained across land proposed for development, to safeguard views of the Lincoln Edge and the historic City, to provide land for formal and casual recreation and to maintain linkages between sites of known nature conservation interest.