Monday, 19 November 2018

The adage has it that if you take care of the pennies, then the pounds will look after themselves …
But in a case recently brought to the attention of Boston Eye it would seem that if you don’t take care of the pennies … someone else will do it for you!

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A former supporter of the Boston Bypass Independents party – created and led by the now independent conservative councillor Richard Austin – which swept to power on Boston Borough Council in May 2007, then crashed and burned after failing to deliver … was stunned to discover that the £5 a month she signed up for many years ago to support a party lottery was still being taken from her account and over time had amounted to hundreds of pounds. 

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That’s despite the party ceding power to the Tories in 2011 after losing 21 of its 25 seats, then throwing in the towel and rebranding as the Boston District Independents.

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Mrs Jane Curley, of Holland Fen, and her husband Guy were both enthusiastic supporters of the BBI.
Mrs Curley told Boston Eye: “My husband was in the original party.
“I was in the Conservative Party first and I desperately wanted the roads sorted out and the schools sorted out and they seemed to be talking sense.”
She stood for the BBI in Swineshead and Holland Fen in 2011 against well-established political heavyweights Tory Michael Brookes and Independent Richard Leggott – but nonetheless was pleased with her result.
And it was about that time that she signed up for the BBI lottery – promising to chip in £5 a month.

***

Fast forward several years, and Mrs Curley was going through her bank statement to try to shave a few pounds off her expenses.
“I must admit that I’m not very good at checking my bank account and I decided to look through my direct debits to see if I could shed anything to save a bit of money and I was absolutely gobsmacked that I was still paying it,” NHS worker Mrs Curley told Boston Eye at the end of a 12-hour shift.
“Once the bypass party had packed up I thought that would all have been cancelled. But it was obviously still going into an account to the Boston Bypass people – and I have no recollection of which bank it was going into.”

***

She cancelled it – “and that was after I contacted a friend of mine who was also in the bypass party. She had no idea about what was going on either and suggested that I contact Helen Staples (who took over the leadership of the Boston District Independents which superseded the BBI – Ed.)  
“I must admit I didn’t, but a week later she phoned and said she didn’t know anything about it and that we should contact Richard Austin.
“Well, I had tried to contact Richard Austin initially as my first port of call and it was very, very difficult ...
“But I’m getting a bit old.
“You’ll probably find out easily – but I’m one of those unfortunate women who’ve been caught having to do what some call a life sentence to retire.
“I’m over 60 but can’t retire until I’m 66.
“It’s quite upsetting, so we need to cut back on everything, and a refund would be quite helpful – although I’m not expecting it.
“To be quite honest, I gave up then; I thought ‘they’re all going to close ranks and I’m not going to get anywhere and they’re going to say it was an insignificant amount to them.’
“I mean it’s a lot of money to me – but probably insignificant to them.
“But I would like to know where and what the money has been used for …”

***

Boston Eye e-mailed Councillor Austin for a comment last Thursday morning … and he replied the following day with a response that sounds as though Christmas may have come early in the Curley household.
“I am pleased that you have Jane Curley’s contact details,” he wrote, “as in the near future I would have been renewing my efforts to make contact with her. It is difficult to understand why she has not been able to contact me, being a Borough and Parish Councillor and also my phone number is in the phone book.
“I was made aware from a third party a few weeks ago that Jane had discovered that she had been paying £5 per month into a BBI account. The BBI party was disbanded several years ago and the Treasurer was asked to close all the accounts.
“Unfortunately the Treasurer moved from the area and died so there were no bank statements or information to hand about the account or signatories. Furthermore Jane could not be located to help. Richard Lenton kindly agreed to investigate as he has banking experience.
“I am pleased to report that, after great difficulty, Richard has identified the bank and the account. About ten days ago the bank agreed to provide statements, within three weeks, going back to 2011 that hopefully will show the amount Jane has paid in and other details. Please ask Jane to contact me so that any money paid in by her can be returned in full. 
“This account was controlled by the Treasurer but my recall, from 2011, is that the lottery element was a very minor issue. Hopefully the bank statements will help. Jane is welcome to see them when they arrive.
“I very much look forward to seeing Jane again and arranging for this money to be returned to her in full.”

***

Anyone who had hopes that Boston will come up smelling of roses once the TV drama Wild Bill is screened will have had them dashed by an interview with the star playing the role of the US police chief parachuted into Boston to sort things out.
Some of the quotes from actor Rob Lowe on the BBC included: “The faces here are amazing. The old people look like they are in a documentary about Armistice Day! It's that unbelievable, weathered, proud, proper English working class look.
"To throw a high-flying, fast-talking American in to the mix is the perfect fish out of water set up …”
“… It's a perfect place to put a story, the story is all about conflict and people are feeling a lot of conflict here. It's kind of boiling under the surface.
“It's such a unique place and I love shows where you put a character in a place and the place becomes a character itself. And that is what this is, there's nowhere else quite like it. It's never really been seen properly on TV before.
“It's been great cinematically for us to be here. The stories in this area are so uniquely odd and wonderful and putting an American in the centre of all of it is kind of like a great oddity.”

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Last week’s impressive remembrance service at the town’s war memorial – which would have been even more so with better public address facilities – prompted a question from a reader.
He noted that the Assembly Rooms was not flying the Union Jack –  nor had it flown a flag for some time.
That is a shame  and something that should not be happening according to Boston Borough Council, which reported back in 2014 …
“Flags will continue to fly for civic occasions and at times of public celebration over the Assembly Rooms in Boston as they always have, despite a change of ownership.
“New owner, businessman Matt Clark, gave an undertaking to Boston Borough Council at the time of the sale of the building that he would continue to fly the flag.
“Mr Clark said: ‘I stressed at the time of the handover that I wanted to see a continuation of community uses at the Assembly Rooms, and this includes use of the flagpole.
I have said on many public forums that the flagpole is not lost and will not be.  I am very happy in continuing to fly any flag that the council would like.
I am determined that the new future for the Assembly Rooms will keep it at the heart of the community, dominating, as it does, the Market Place. I have always accepted that there would be no more appropriate place, at the very heart of the town, for flags to be flown that can easily be seen and admired by all.
I am very much a traditionalist and take great pride in our heritage and different cultures and will support these in Boston as best I am able.”
The impression that we take from this is that it is up to Boston Borough Council to request the flying of flags on special occasions.
Did they perhaps forget to ask for that most important of days?

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Another question raised was about how Worst Street interpreted the date of the event ...


We assume the numbers are meant to signify the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month – but given the way dates are now written gave the impression that the war ended seven years before it started. 

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Recent reports said that new measures that make police forces responsible for pension contributions previously provided by the government could see Lincolnshire Police facing a £21 million shortfall in the next two years.
The county’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Marc Jones, was reported as saying: “Even after all of the effort and money invested in recent years to innovate and transform Lincolnshire Police into one of the most forward thinking and efficient forces in the country we are still faced with a funding gap of £17m over the next two years that our depleted reserves simply cannot meet.
“This extra cost pressure could boost that number to an incredible £21m that can only be met by additional grant from central government, contributions from local taxpayers and or a total reorganisation of the force and a reduced level of service to the people of Lincolnshire.”

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Having said that, around the same time, Mr Jones was highlighting a report which showed that two uniformed officers on the beat prevented 86 assaults and saved thousands in prison costs.
He tweeted: “We know from recent outstanding results in Lincoln centre that a small team can make a huge difference. Prevention is better and cheaper than cure.”
The report said that the result of a year-long experiment in Peterborough showed that PCSO foot patrols targeting crime ‘hot spots’ could yield a more than five-to-one return: with every £10 spent saving £56 in prison costs.
Targeting each crime ‘hot spot’ in the city with 21 extra minutes of daily foot patrolling by Police Community Support Officers could save the justice system hundreds of thousands of pounds through prevented crime.
Police on the streets? On foot? A breath-taking new idea – why has no one thought of it before?

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Last week we talked about Boston’s CCTV system and the number of times that its eagle eye comes up with inconclusive results – such as happened with the recent vandalising of the aviary in Central Park.
Another fairly regular target is another park – in this case the one in Garfit’s Lane.
Earlier this month a dog walker who visits the park daily snapped the scene below. 


The gouges in the football pitch in the foreground appear to have been caused by a motorcycle.
The towering post with a ringside view of events is – yes, you’ve guessed it – a CCTV camera.
Yet again, whatever happened appeared to go unnoticed by the camera – and prompted an e-mail to the local councillor – Independent Conservative Alison Austin.
The e-mail was sent at 10-22am on the morning of 7th November and without too much mental strain it was possible to guess that the damage had been done within 24 hours of the writer’s last visit to the park.

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Back came the reply: “I am extremely grateful to residents who let me know about incidents as soon as possible after they occur, preferably with some indication of when they might have taken place. For the example, last night (7th  November) between 10 pm and 6 am if it was noticed to have been overnight.
“I cannot visit every part of the ward every day and therefore appreciate the cooperation of public spirited residents.
“Once I am given adequate information I can set appropriate action in place.”
Helpful, or what?
The response apologised  and estimated that the damage was done on the evening of 6th November.
And that’s the last we’ve heard of it. so our best guess is that yet again CCTV was looking the other way at a crucial moment ...



You can write to us at boston.eye@googlemail.com   
E– mails will be treated in confidence and published anonymously if requested.
Our former blog is archived at: http://bostoneyelincolnshire.blogspot.com  

We are on Twitter – visit @eye_boston

Monday, 12 November 2018




We were saddened but not surprised at the attack on the aviary in the town’s Central Park in which 30 birds were stolen and others killed by exhaustion and distress.
Such a vile event has been a long time coming – especially since the park gates have been left open at night.

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When the decision was first taken, the reason offered was that it would save money … as the park's closing time was at sunset, which required a council officer to work later and later during the summer months to ensure that it was secured.
Although we can’t lay our hands on a precise figure, similar charges for another park in the town came in at the £3,000 a year mark.

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Whilst Councillor Claire Rylott, Worst Street’s portfolio holder for parks and open spaces – or her Spinster – had much to say on the matter, some of it was quite contradictory.
WorstWeb – the borough website – had her saying: "This is such a mindless, determined, deliberate and heartless act.”
Whilst we accept that the word mindless is de rigueur when associated with vandalism, it can scarcely be defined as that if is also determined and deliberate.

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The incident prompted a petition on the website change.org  which attracted hundreds of signatures in a very short space of time.
It read:
“Over recent months Boston Borough Council have decided to leave the Park gates open at night.
This has led to an increase in street drinking within the park, anti-social behaviour within the park, people urinating and leaving human excrement in the park, and now birds have been killed and stolen. 
Many people now avoid the park because of this. All we want is to get the council to lock the gates at night to make the park secure and safe from all the behaviour and damage being caused. It’s our park and we want to enjoy it and look after it.”

*** 

However, according to the website Lincolnshire Reporter, the idea does not cut any ice with the portfolio holder.
“Councillor Rylott said the park wasn’t locked so people could enjoy it all the time and she believed the attack on the aviary would have taken place anyway.
“’In the past they have climbed the walls to get into the park,’ she said.
“’People have gone in there and because the gates were locked they have probably done more damage than when the gates were opened because people could see them.
“’This was a mindless, deliberate and determined act and closing the gates I don’t think would have stopped it.’”
“She said vandalism happened everywhere … not just in the park … and pointed to recent reports of residents’ decorative pumpkins being smashed over Halloween.
“Councillor Rylott pointed to a national rise in crime, and said parks in other towns and cities, such as Lincoln, or Hyde Park, in London, weren’t locked.”
That’s all right then.

***

The report continued: “She also called on residents to do their part and be more vigilant, including coming forward to report any incidents they witnessed.
“She urged people to be more positive and pro-active in promoting the town, pointing to recent good news such as the five recent In-Bloom awards which had been won.
“She said a negative image put professionals off coming to the town and spoilt the hard work of those aiming to improve it.”
Quite how many times Worst Street can dine out on creating a carefully structured entry into a competition so as to ensure a win regardless, we can’t imagine.
However, it is wearing a little thin when we are told at the same time that there is vandalism everywhere and that we mustn’t talk about it.
Unlike Councillor Rylott, we believe that birds would not have been stolen had the gates been locked – because trying to clamber over railings or walls would be made extra difficult whilst clutching an armful of mezze-to-be.

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Despite the continuing praise heaped on the increasingly overworked CCTV service, Worst Street confirmed that camera footage came back as inconclusive and therefore of no use to help catch the culprits.
Hands up if you’ve heard that one before.

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But the drama turned to farce with the claim by Councillor Rylott that closing the park at night would be letting the minority who want to ruin the town “win”.

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Regular readers of Boston Eye will have noted the number of times we made the accusation that the bad guys win because Worst Street not only looks the other way – but paves the path for wrongdoing to continue.
Over the years, Central Park has been butchered on the orders of councillors seeking to curb anti-social behaviour – such as using well-established foliage as al fresco accommodation … and subsequently employing the leaves as a natural toilet paper.
This may well explain why holly bushes have long enjoyed immunity.
Similar defoliation was imposed on Pilgrim’s Patch – again, to stop the bad guys winning.

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In 2012, BTAC-ky launched a vigorous campaign of ripping up amenity seating around the town based on often unsupported complaints that they had become a focus for open air drinking.
At a rough count, at least 30 benches were removed in the fruitless ‘battle’ on anti-social activity in Boston – and the upshot was that anyone needing a brief respite on a long walk can simply forget about it.
This is what we complained was a case of letting the bad guys win.

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A glittering example of this Jobsworth mentality at the time emerged when it was suggested that benches on London Road should be circumvolved to face the roadside. They then faced the river and people were throwing cans into it so the whirligig was agreed to see if it would reduce littering. 

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This latest episode reminded us of the Central Park centenary plan to mark the land which was once a private deer park being given to the public 100 years ago next year.



Whilst Worst Street broke the news back in July – reporting at the time that a bid for lottery funding to support further improvements has been made – things have since fallen strangely silent. 
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The instant demise of Fogarty’s after 150 years in the town with the loss of around 200 jobs has seen a heartening rallying round by other local employers.
Bakkavor, Freshtime, Pilgrim Foods and Workforce Unlimited were among those which offered varying degrees of assistance to those made jobless.
Response from Worst Street was more muted.
The news failed to rate a mention on WorstWeb and was instead confined to the borough’s Twitter feed.

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One of these messages read – “Great to see local businesses pulling together to support the work ourselves and DWP are delivering this week …”
The nature of the work was to mention that the Department of Work and Pensions was holding support sessions for up to 12 people in each of five one-hourly slots.
Some basic maths showed that this would only extend help to 60 people – around a third of those affected. So it came as no surprise that they had to be arranged for a second day – and most likely fell short even then.
Another piece of Worst Street work was to draw attention to their own vacancies – a less than glittering eight-long list that included three causal vacancies and apprenticeships.

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Conspicuous by its absence was any official comment from senior councillors and officers with responsibility for the town’s economy.
Compare that with the way Worst Street has piggybacked on the few occasions when good news emerges – most commonly when the council has had little or nothing to do with these successes.

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Even Lincolnshire County Council was forced to admit that it was caught with its trousers down over the Fogarty collapse.
Councillor Colin Davie the executive member for economy at Clownty Hall expressed shock but admitted that Fogarty’s “wasn’t on the authority’s radar”.
He was reported as saying: “We have intelligence on a lot of businesses, how they are performing. Fogarty was not on our list as a business that was in trouble or was in danger of collapse so it was a shock to us and a total shock obviously for the workforce.”
Unhelpfully, he added: “Looking back on the announcement, as a big supplier of products to a lot of the big High Street chain stores maybe there was something about that, or that they found it increasingly difficult to compete in what is now a global marketplace for those products, I don’t know
How comforting to have such people at the helm.

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Even Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond was roped into the discussion during a visit to the county.
And he spouted the usual pabulum.
… “obviously it's traumatic, but the good news is that there are jobs being created in the economy … help available to get training to get new skills to take on a new job … hard workers who are reliable and prepared to put in a good day’s work are highly sought after … people affected will find that there are new opportunities for them with stable and reliable employers in the future … very sad when a business closes … it sounds like something quite drastic happened for it to close so suddenly.”
Clearly the man knows nothing about the local job economy here in Boston.

***



The cameras were out and about in Boston last week for the filming of Wild Bill – starring Rob Lowe as “top US cop Bill Hixon, who is appointed Chief Constable of the East Lincolnshire Police Force.”
The blurb for the movie declares: “When high-flying US police chief Bill Hixon lands in Boston, Lincolnshire, with his 14 year-old daughter Kelsey in tow, he’s hoping they can flee their painful recent past.
“But this unfamiliar, unimpressed community will force Bill to question everything about himself and leave him asking whether it’s Boston that needs Bill, or Bill that needs Boston?”
We have an uneasy feeling that we can guess what to expect – and that  the drama will do little for Boston’s image.

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The scene was pretty well set on the first day as a photo from one of the many social media offerings showed  Boston’s new Sherf encountering a couple of extras boozing on a bench in full public gaze …


… and looking the other way.

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Check out the entire scene as posted by BBC Radio Lincolnshire broadcaster and ‘lover of windmills’ Harry Parkhill ...


As an aside, we hear that Boston was not first choice for the location.
That distinction had gone to Liverpool – but a visit deemed the city too neat and tidy for the needs of the script.
And we also understand that whilst Lincolnshire County Council was happy to help the film company, Worst Street was much less welcoming.
Another missed opportunity.

***

One good thing was that the filming banished the Into Town buses from Strait Bargate and the Market Place – leaving them to U-turn at near Boots and W H Smith for a blessedly peaceful day.
This is nothing new, and has been done before – so if it is that simple, could the arrangement just as easily become permanent?

***

Why is it that we think Worst Street is gearing itself up to try to win yet another badge?
The council is exhorting us to vote for Boston Market in the National Association of British Market Authorities awards – although whether it has entered officially is anyone’s guess.
We have mentioned this event and the absence of any Worst Street involvement several times in the past – but this is the first time that it has surfaced officially.
Voting closes on 30th November – but the really good news is that you can vote more than once.
Listen hard ... the noise you can hear is the clacking of the Worst Street keyboards!

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But awards now seem to be the name of the game in the wacky world of Worst Street, with the trumpeting of a shortlisting in the LGC Awards 2019 environmental services category.
LGC?
That’s the Local Government Chronicle – a house magazine for councils.
Worst Street called the shortlisting “a fantastic achievement."
The entry detailed the efforts to combat the “scourges” of litter and fly tipping under the umbrella of the Boston Big Clean-up, and a team of three from the council will appear before the panel of judges choosing the overall winner from the eight finalists in March to make their case for a badge.
Doubtless such awards are nice to have on the trophy shelf, although they mean next to nothing to the taxpayer in the street.
We seem to recall that Worst Street won a gong for the clean-up once before – and like Boston in Bloom it represents something of an easy target.

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And it’s as well to remember that a few years ago, Worst Street  of all places  won an award for being the country's top council for transparency, inclusiveness and accountability from the Centre for Public Scrutiny.
‘Nuff said.
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Finally – and as expected – there was no reaction to last week’s rant about the Remembrance Day traffic information sign.
It was still in place on Friday – and exacerbated matters by being within yards of the War Memorial where yesterday’s ceremonies were held.
In the end, we e-mailed Boston borough Council and Lincolnshire County Council and asked them who was responsible.


Boston Borough Council was first out of the trap with a not me, guv’ response and pointed the finger firmly at Clownty Hall. 
From Lincoln came first an admission followed by disclaimer that placed the blame on whoever was organising the event … although we didn’t think that any Tom, Dick or Harry could post warnings of traffic restrictions without consent from the powers that be.

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On Saturday we walked into town to be greeted by a brand new sign that put the old one to shame. 


On the back of the sign was a declaration of ownership – “Property of Lincolnshire County Council.”


So whilst the original was posted by a third party, it could be removed and replaced by the county council without any apparent problem.
Which begs the question – why couldn’t all this have been sorted our days ago?

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We're back next week – join us on Monday 19th November.



You can write to us at boston.eye@googlemail.com   
E– mails will be treated in confidence and published anonymously if requested.
Our former blog is archived at: http://bostoneyelincolnshire.blogspot.com  

We are on Twitter – visit @eye_boston





Monday, 5 November 2018





Yes, we know … we said we weren’t blogging this week.
But our plan has been changed by the mind-boggling, skull-numbing indifference of the powers that be to the celebration of a major historic event in Boston.

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We’re talking about the Remembrance Day events to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War – the pinnacle of which is the Remembrance Day service in the war Memorial Gardens this coming Sunday.

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Last week we highlighted the slapdash advance road warning sign about traffic restrictions on this most important day in our history.

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The sign – dirty, misspelt and battered – warned of restictions on Sunday 1th November.


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It ought not to have required a master’s degree in cartography to have worked out from our photo where the wretched sign was – and to have done something about it.

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But the indifference that sadly now typifies the powers that be in charge of Boston was such that no-one could be bothered to put matters right.

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So when we tottered into town on Saturday we were presented with the mixture as before despite the problem being highlighted for a full week.

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Who is responsible for special event signs such as these?
Depending on whom you ask, the answer is either Lincolnshire County Council or Boston Borough Council.
If the former, we would have hoped that the latter might have communicated the error and got the sign changed.

***

But communication is not Worst Street’s strong suit – and we are sorry to say that after  the publicising of the disrespectful sign, there was probably a shrugging off of responsibility under the not my department, guv’ attitude that exemplifies our local authority.

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Incidentally, after last week’s item, a reader sent us a photo taken in York – a city which some at Worst Street foolishly liken to Boston – of how the job of signing should be done.


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As far as we are concerned the only thing that York and Boston have in common is the single word shambles – in that fine northern city it means an historic shopping area that attracts thousands of  visitors every year – whilst in the case of Boston, it means what the dictionary says … a state of total disorder.



You can write to us at boston.eye@googlemail.com   
E– mails will be treated in confidence and published anonymously if requested.
Our former blog is archived at: http://bostoneyelincolnshire.blogspot.com  

We are on Twitter – visit @eye_boston


Monday, 29 October 2018

Last week’s mention of street drinking in Boston sparked yet another wave of comment.
Opinions popped up on several Facebook sites where issues affecting Boston are discussed, as well as in a number of e-mails.
Even Boston Borough Council joined in the debate by listing a week’s work for its 3GS Enforcement ‘team.’

***

According to Worst Street, 3GS provides enforcement officers who patrol the streets issuing fixed penalty notices for ‘a variety’ of different environmental crimes including littering, fly-tipping, graffiti, dog fouling, ‘etc.’
Amazingly, this costs the council taxpayers nothing, as 3GS keeps all the money from the fines – usually £70 quid a throw.
Yet it is claimed “their officers are not financially incentivised” – step back in amazement – and their work also helps the council “carry out awareness raising and educational initiatives.”

***

When 3GS was first given the contract, the Worst Street spinster hit an hysterical high.
“The service level agreement with 3GS has been widely (do they mean wildly? – Ed) successful during its pilot.
“The council issued only seven fixed penalty notices for environmental crime offences in 2016/17.
“This rose to 514 between April and December 2017 as a result of our use of 3GS.”

***

Sidestepping the fact that this either showed up the council’s own efforts as less than half-hearted – or contradicted the idea that issuing shedloads of tickets was not an incentive because the company kept the money, the figures were nonetheless substantial.
Unhappily for Worst Street they also confirmed what many had been saying – that the council was merely paying lip service to the problem … let’s not forget that this was back in the heyday of the council/local ‘newspaper’ name and shame ‘partnerships’ which neither named nor shamed anyone at all.

***

However, what the figures showed was a vigorous attack on some environmental crimes – enough to get the 3GS contract extended until April next year.
Some simple division shows that the tickets averaged around 60 a month, or 16 a week.
Sixteen a week is two or three a day by a ‘team’ the size of which is not specified.

***

Fast forward a few months from the meeting which extended the contract and look at Worst Street’s recent weekly figures
In the week commencing 8th October, the ‘team’ issued six tickets for fly-tipping, four for cigarette littering and one for urinating – that’s eleven in all.
The following week beginning 15th October, four tickets were handed out for cigarette littering, three for fly-tipping and one Number One – a total of eight.

***

What we’re looking at here is a definite decline in tickets issued – and whilst fly-tipping sounds serious it doesn’t necessarily involve huge amounts of waste.
But when it does, you can bet your boots that Worst Street will look the other way if it can.
Witness this recent dialogue a taxpayer and Worst Street after an attempt to report some fly-tipping.
 To Worst Street: “Another fly tip load on Norfolk street for your attention…”
From Worst Street: “We are grateful when people report fly-tips but as previously stated we do not collect from peoples’ properties unless they book bulky collections. Which they may have done.”
To Worst Street: “More obstruction of footpath, and looks an eyesore.  Further info was (that it was) dumped by rough sleeper in derelict building close by.
“Why don't you get your CCTV right next to incident to actually trace what actually happened?
Are you not going to tackle this then?”
From Worst Street: “This looks like it is on a driveway?
“It is only classed as a fly-tip if it is on the highway. Please advise?
To Worst Street: “Looks like (it has) been dumped, would think someone moved to edge to not obstruct path?
“Are you not willing to tackle then?
“Thought you'd be grateful of public reporting such blight on our streets…
At this point, the dialogue ended.

***

Given that the 3GS contract is up for renewal next April – and that the elections for the full council will be held on 2nd May ... we think that if nothing else, any decision to renew should be pushed back for a few weeks so that the decision can be taken by whomever is elected to the new council.

***

A more serious episode concerned a reader who encountered a threatening attitude from two men he encountered in a park with a children’s play area.



He saw evidence of drug taking, cannabis smoking and drinking within a few feet of a CCTV camera at a time when two council staff were present and asked whether – whilst they may not have been allowed to issue a challenge, whether they should at least have made a phone call?
He added: “The two youths became threatening when challenged, so I rang 999, only to be told to report it on 101.”

***

What’s emerging here is a clear case of too many cooks spoiling the broth.
The streets are now watched – physically or otherwise – by the police, the 3GS team, Worst Street’s own anti-social behaviour squad and CCTV.
The police appear to be under the impression that the problem of street drinking has largely been solved – although the reality seems more likely that it has simply moved elsewhere … away from the town centre.
Recently observers say they have been seeing less of 3GS on the street – which seems borne out by the fall in the issue of tickets, as we are sure that the problems are not solving themselves..
Worst Street’s merry band – who knows?
CCTV, meanwhile, is now operated by Boston Borough Council not only covering the borough but also South Holland, East Lindsey and parts of North Kesteven.
Whilst this makes money for Worst Street – always a top priority – and has involved some extra staff input from outside districts, at the end of the day the more thinly you spread the jam on you bread the less palatable the sandwich becomes.

***

Between April last year and the end of March this year, CCTV operators recorded 18,405 daily log entries, and completed 1,855 incident records – which included 985 Boston incidents … plus 609 for East Lindsey, 198 in South Holland and 63 in North Kesteven.
If that wasn’t enough to keep them busy, they also dealt with 556 out of hours telephone calls for Boston Borough Council and 1,014 for East Lindsey.

***

The ‘daily log entries’ – running at more than fifty a day – sound like paperwork for its own sake, as ‘proper’ incident records represent only about 10% of the top line.
Over the year, there were 346 arrests where CCTV provided a direct contribution in Boston – fewer than one a day.

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 Interestingly, the proximity of incidents in relation to town’s police station continue to suggest that a couple of patrolling Bobbies/Robertas would do more to dissuade people from misbehaving and therefore reduce the number of incidents to be dealt with and remove many other attendant pressures.


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What becomes increasingly obvious is that between the various groups focussing on the town’s issues there are a number of omissions within each that collectively create a black hole through which much of what exercises the taxpaying residents is allowed to slip.
What’s needed is a wheels-up restoration of the system, where all the parties involved get together to analyse the causes and sources of the trouble and look at where their systems are failing.
This should also include the much-derided 101 phone system – which so many people complain costs them 15p to make a call which  takes an eternity to get a response … unless they give up in despair first.

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End of rant. For now

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Last week we highlighted some interesting items from the Worst Street spending list – and there will be more to come.
In the meantime here’s a riddle for you … we all know that Ryanair is a low cost budget airline whose tickets are sold for give away prices.
The question?



How many of the Great and the Good can you fly to Boston’s twin town Laval for £1,215.18?

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Another highlight from last week demonstrated the convenience of a parked-up Worst Street trailer as a repository for used booze bottles.



Whilst this mess was selflessly cleared up by none other than the town centre portfolio holder, it seems that where there’s another trailer, there’s another unofficial bottle bank!



Poor old Worst Street.
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Finally, our Forward Planning Smile of the Week award goes to whomever spent hours with his Letraset kit  painstakingly to put together the sign below.


Thankth to thith thign, oneth the oneth cometh, no-one will have an excuseth if they parkth where they shouldnth.
That's why we have restictions!

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We clock up yet another undeserved birthday this week, so  we're taking a few days off . 
Our next blog will appear on Monday 12th November.



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