Monday, 21 August 2017



This coming Friday and Saturday sees Boston Borough Council’s first attempt at staging outdoor cinema in the town – with a screening of Mary Poppins on Friday night and Despicable Me the following evening.
We’ve already commented on the maladroit decision to run a licensed bar – especially in light of the fact that these are children’s films being shown, and would have hoped that mum and dad could have been asked to manage without booze for a couple of hours.
But this is Boston, isn’t it – and presumably Worst Street recognises the difficulties involved.

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More light has been shed on the event thanks to a Freedom of Information request by a reader who asked for a breakdown of the costs involved.
A company called Popcorn Media is supplying and operating the equipment – and is  no stranger to us locally.
The same company played a big part in the less than highly praised 2016 Christmas illuminations fiasco when it “facilitated” the purchase of Christmas lighting using the Boston Town Team’s £35,000 gift from the legendarily hopeless Boston Town Area Committee  … the equally legendarily spendthrift BTAC-ky.
Incidentally, whatever happened to that £35k spend?
Popcorn Media is charging £600 plus 20% of the takings and got the job without any of the rigorous tendering one might expect.
Worst Street explained: “A Google search was completed for companies to provide a screen. The prices varied, (and the) cheapest found was £1,200 per day.”
And what luck that an old friend of Worst Street’s was on hand with an offer that couldn’t be refused.
In the unlikely event of a full house for both showings – the maximum capacity for the event is 500 people per night – and using mum and dad plus one child as a benchmark, the two days would generate just under £5,500.
Deduct around £1,100 for the Popcorn share, plus the £600 basic fee and the profit would be around £3,900.
However, there are then the ever-present administration charges – which come to almost £1,850 … leaving £2,000-ish
Those charges?

Security – £770
Officers’ time at event – £540
First Aid – £276.00
Wristbands – £140
Toilets – £ 67.24
And finally …
Characters – £50.00 We imagine this means some poor devil dressed up in a hired costume … for which no cost is quoted.

***

Whilst our estimates are ballpark, they are based on a full house over two days with 1,000 in the audience.
When the response to the FoI request – dated 4th August –  arrived, it reported that just 14 tickets had been sold.
That’s something like £80 in income from an event which at the very least will cost £2,500 to stage   and with the best will in the world we cannot imagine ticket sales running into the hundreds.
What we find hard to follow is the list of Worst Street’s “expenses” when the event is said to be “Sponsored by Chattertons Solicitors and Wealth Management.”
The dictionary defines sponsorship as “the act of providing money for an activity in exchange for advertising.”
The advertising of this open air cinema is conspicuous by its absence – and are we really to believe that Chattertons is handing Boston Borough Council a cheque for the thick end of £2,000 for so little?
It’s the oddest definition of “wealth management” that we have encountered to date.

***

It seems that our so-called “newspapers” pitched up at the last meeting of the Boston Town Area Committee – BTAC-ky for short – which means that at least the wider taxpaying public managed to get a hint of what went on.
If you recall, we criticised the fact that every item on the agenda for 26th July was presented as a verbal report – so unless taxpayers attended in person they would have no idea of what the committee was up to.

***

Several items went unreported, but what we did learn made interesting reading.
For instance, the town’s community police inspector “reassured” councillors that street drinking was not being reported as often, saying it had been pushed away from the town centre … but acknowledging that  it still existed.

***

This is precisely what many had predicted.
Making life uncomfortable for people drinking in the town centre – and nothing more than this has been achieved – has driven the district’s dipsos to where they won’t be bothered.
In the present circumstances, this means the town centre's satellite wards – where most of the BTAC-ky taxpayers live.
Boston Eye’s headquarters are in one of these areas – Skirbeck Ward.
Here we find littered streets, benches crammed with drinkers at all hours, and run down cars being sold from the roadside or drives with professionally produced marketing materials but clearly neither official nor oficially monitored.
The ward has three councillors, two of the Labour (that’s the entire party, by the way) and one unaligned former Ukipper, Stephen Ball  – and as far as we can tell they are all quite content with the way things are … as we haven’t heard them say otherwise.
Whilst the Labour contingent manages reasonable attendance levels, Councillor Ball is listed as having missed nine out of the ten meetings where his attendance was anticipated since February – including every one of the eight BTAC-ky meetings so far this year, and going back still further, to November 2015.


No-one seems to bat an eyelid at this – the rule is that if a councillor fails to attend meetings for six months he or she gets the old heave-ho and a by-election is called.
But attending just enough meetings to keep the allowances rolling in is apparently not considered in reprehensible   but is certainly an insult to the electorate who were promised better.
More on BTAC-ky attendances in our next blog.

***

These days of course, BTA-ky has bigger fish to fry.
Its once humble role as a “parish” council for the in-town wards became history when it took over responsibility for areas such as Central Park and the town’s toilets – thus enabling the borough bigwigs to present a squeaky clean balance sheet by shifting their responsibilities away from the central accounting.
To fund all this, in 2016 BTAC-ky approved a council tax rise of 94.6%, followed by a rise for the current year of 185%.
This equates to an increased charge for a Band A taxpayer, who last year paid £8.48 to BTAC-ky, to £46.63 – a greedy and excessive sum.
To celebrate its self-aggrandisement the committee even splashed out the thick end of £500 to create its own logo – after all, when you become big league, you flaunt the fact.
At the time the 2016 rip-off was proposed we wrote to every member of the 14 strong committee to protest.
Only two had the politeness to reply – which again speaks volumes.
One of them was the mayor at the time, Stephen Woodliffe, who told us: “BTAC may have its powers and responsibilities extended and enhanced … personally, I hope it does, as the rural parishes have greater independence of decision-making than BTAC currently enjoys.”
One point that we raised was the inability of many residents to find the extra money needed, as several town centre wards are listed as among the most deprived in the borough.
Indeed, until Boston Big Local started throwing money here, there and everywhere as well, its remit was also to improve the quality of life for many of the self-same people dis-served so enthusiastically by BTAC-ky.
But this failed to strike a sympathetic chord with Councillor Woodliffe,
“I take issue with your assertion that the extra precept charges will be imposed upon residents of the poorest wards in the town.  The precept depends upon the valuation of the property and not upon its location. Thus, the greatest charge falls on those living in the highest rated band H properties, who pay much more than that of a band A property …
“…  it is my view that a charge of £1 a week on a band D property, and much less for a band A property for BTAC would be a very reasonable charge to make to ensure that Boston remains an attractive, pleasant place to live”

***

The definition of attractive and pleasant is one that requires serious consideration. As we said earlier, our home ward is home to litter, dirty streets, bins overflowing with empty drink cans and bottles – and that sinking feeling of being not quite safe as groups of boisterous drinkers bestride the footpaths … or as we saw the other day, a solo drunkard almost clawing his way along the street by clinging to gates, walls or anything else to make progress.
The failure to recognise what should be its real duty was well illustrated in another episode at the last BTAC-ky meeting
The same police inspector who delivered the mixed message about drinking told councillors that he plans to arrange a food market for locally-based restaurants following police participation in a stunt early last month when Eastern European shops and supermarkets helped “educate  people from other nationalities” about the range of food that is available in Boston.
Immediately, Councillor Woodliffe whipped out the taxpayers’ wallet.
“Obviously you are trying to change culture and attitudes,” he is quoted as saying.
“My thing is that we as BTAC can help financially, what are the things we can do to support you and your wonderful work?”
Your guess as to quite what it is about this work that is “wonderful”  rather than tokenistic is as good as ours – and we are not happy that Councillor Woodliffe feels that he has the right to offer money in this way for something that is little more than a back of a fag packet calculation at the moment.
It also assumes that local people want their “culture and attitudes” compulsorily changed.
The police and the Worst Street Wanderers should keep their sticky fingers off our attitudes.
George Orwell’s prescient novel 1984 highlighted the role of the Thought Police – which existed who discover and punish thoughtcrime – unapproved personal and political thoughts … which could be taken to mean unapproved  “culture and attitudes” as seen from the Worst Street and Lincoln Lane viewpoints.

***

Meanwhile, BTAC-ky is adverting for ideas for more community events – especially ones that could develop into annual affairs.
Committee Chairman Councillor Nigel Welton said: … we really want the public to take the lead on this. I'm hoping they will put forward ideas that we can then help turn into realities.
We regard this as BTAC-ky’s final abdication of its “proper” role – and instead to turn itself into an entertainment committee.
Doubtless committee members will soon get a cap and bells allowance to replace the more traditional allowance that they have received to date.

***

It seems as though Worst Street has again taken the bait and helped one of our local newspapers make bricks without straw during the Silly Season.
Beneath the headline 'Stop slagging off Boston, it's a great place to live! followed by a tag which reads Officials have hit back against scathing online reviews of the town the Boston off-Target – aka Lincolnshire Live – tells us…
“Politicians have poured scorn on scathing and ‘unfair’ reviews of Boston which label the town a ‘hot bed of degenerates’.
“Described as a ‘chav stronghold’ where ‘petty crime is rife’ and local people have ‘failed to evolve’, the town has been subjected to a glut of highly negative online reviews.
“Disgruntled homeowners and visitors have attacked Boston on the notorious ‘iLiveHere' UK website which gives people the chance to sound off about the state of places they live and travel to.”
The story goes on to quote some of the more colourful comments before reporting a response from council leader Michael Cooper, who “has told the haters to buck up their ideas and stop running down the town.
 “Stuff like this is no help at all – it is not fair – we have got such a bad deal.
“A lot of the reviews are very inaccurate and should be taken down.
“Some of these people need to go out and look at some other towns if they think Boston is a bad, I travel to places all the time where half the high street is boarded up.
“There are more and more employment opportunities coming up, businesses being built and houses on the way.
“Boston is a great place to live.”

***

If only Councillor Cooper had taken a closer look at the offending website he could have told the Target to stick its head up a bear’s bum and possibly killed the story at birth rather than fighting a rearguard action.
The latest undated piece in question is just one of 10  posted anonymously over a very, very long time – and by its very nature, comments made on the site are bigoted and uncomplimentary.
Whilst the subject of the report may have been posted fairly recently, most of them go back over years – in one case the oldest dates from 2004 – thirteen years ago
That’s not a story.
That’s history.
Why on earth the Target dredged this up is anyone’s guess – and  it really should be ashamed.
But it has already achieved what we assume was the general idea.rubbish that was written almost at the end of the last century.

***

Unfortunately, Councillor Cooper’s comments that: “There are more and more employment opportunities coming up, businesses being built and houses on the way” come at an inauspicious time.
Local reports say that Asda has confirmed that 175 of its 381 Boston staff are being talked to about their future – and that 10% of the staff in the process could lose their jobs...
Meanwhile, we read that almost 4,000 staff at Wilko nationwide are at risk as part of a major overhaul to boost profits.

***

And to rub salt into the wound, Oldrids – established in Boston more than 200 years ago and a lynchpin of the town – is reported to have announced a £125 million superstore proposal including 107 outlets, a leisure complex and business hub … IN GRANTHAM.
Downtown Grantham is taking on another company in a fight to be the chosen location for the town’s designer outlet village to open in 2019 and which would create 1,700 jobs
Managing director Richard Broadhead is reported as saying: “We’re confident that this is great news for Grantham. We believe in this – we are serious and we’re going to deliver it.
“We are part of Grantham, we are important to Grantham and Grantham is important to us ..
 “ … this is an opportunity to create something special. This is a vote of confidence in Grantham.”
Reports say that the Downtown board believes there is scope for a railway station to be built on the nearby Nottingham-Skegness line and that Network Rail, supports the idea.
Current bus links between the town and store could be increased to promote travel into the town centre, while a ‘park and ride’ scheme is also a possibility.

***

As the boss says – it’s great news for Grantham.
Can we ever hope for some for Boston?

***


Here, meanwhile, Worst Street continues its policy of staying behind the times with the announcement of a “New website to open Borough up to the world” – a visitor website to you and me.
Predictably, our councillors are slapping each other on the back for what is – whilst a quite presentable piece of work – a pretty bog standard website.
Top of the quotes comes from Councillor Claire Rylott – hailed as the “champion” of the site – for the line: “Marketing is paramount to success.”
Worryingly whilst Worst Street will host the site and update some parts of it, we are told that it will be community owned.
This sounds as though Worst Street, having started the ball rolling now wants as little to do with it as possible – and we fear that it will go the way of the borough’s Roll of Achievement  … never very interesting and dead in the water for donkey’s years.

***

With websites like this the matter of detail is very important.


Visitors drawn to the town might look up at Boston Stump and speculate whether some architectural disaster has overtaken it.
Why?
The Stump has a tower.
Not a spire. 
***

Finally, another of those headlines that make us smile – this time courtesy of the Boston sub-Standard.

.

Thanks for the warning – we’ll just have some birthday cake if it’s ok with you and skip the toast!


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, 31 July 2017


Last week’s Boston Eye made much mention of Central Park – soon to be a dumping ground for tons of sand as one of the many beach days now staged in almost every large town in the county.
Central Park is now the domain of the lamentable Boston Town Centre Area Committee – BTAC-ky as it is unpopularly nicknamed.
According to Boston Borough Council – and who could not believe every word it says – “Boston Big Local will again fund this year's event and it will be supported by partner agencies … Mayflower Housing, Boston Children's Centre, Transported Arts and Boston United in the Community.”
This is exactly what we were told last year except for a line to say that the event was “delivered” by Boston Borough Council.
We hope that this will not see a repeat of last year, when well after the event, the council’s accounts showed that it splashed out £5,150 from the revenue budget for the “construction of beach in park” plus £700 to hire four donkeys for two days and £500 for bouncy castle hire – with the last two appearing under the unlikely heading “sports development.”

***

We still aren’t entirely clear about the affiliations of Boston Big Local – which has £1 million of lottery money to blow over ten years allegedly to benefit  the town’s poorest wards …  most of which are in the town centre – although the  money is being spread over a much broader area and often for the benefit of visitors rather than residents.
Then there is the matter of the ground rules under which the Big Local is supposed to operate.
We were told at the organisation’s inception: “It’s not about your local authority, the government or a national organisation telling you what to do.
“It’s not about individual groups fixing their favourite problem without talking to a wide range of different people who live and work in the community.”
This was underlined by a member of the South Lincolnshire Community Voluntary Service at the time as well.
 “There’s no government arm in Boston involved in any of this. It is totally community led ...”
“This money will not be dictated by Boston Borough Council; it will not be dictated by the CVS.  It will be totally dictated by the local community. We are absolutely there to galvanise this community into action. It is their say where this money is spent”

***

So far, so unambiguous – yet the group admits quite openly “Boston Big Local has developed a fruitful partnership with Boston Borough Council. The council has been very positive and supportive of resident priorities and bringing added value to Boston Big Local’s investment.”
Big Local in return tells us that it “supports projects in Central Park as part of our commitment to improving local amenities and open spaces in the Boston Big Local area.
“To help improve and increase play opportunities, we sponsored a basketball hoop in the park which was funded in Year 1 of the Boston Big Local plan.
“More recently, the Croquet Club was awarded £500 of funding from Boston Big Local to repair the perimeter fencing at the club.”
This is all very well, but it does seem that the “fruitful” partnership is one of golden apples for the benefit of Boston Borough Council and BTAC-ky  – who are the unquestionable owners and managers of Central Park.
Big Local also sponsors much of Boston in Bloom including provision of planters which were once the responsibility of Worst Street – although we understand that the council allows Boston in Bloom the use of its bank account for the organisation’s accounting and payment purposes.

***

 

Another future event in Central Park is an open-air cinema.
Friday 25th August will see the screening of Mary Poppins with Despicable Me being shown the following night. 
Ironically, given the Worst Street attitude to drinking in the park, the event will include a licensed bar – which is made even more fickle as the films being shown are both aimed at children.
We’ve mentioned before the agility with which Worst Street bends the rules for its own benefit – note the impending German beer festival in October … an event practically dedicated to getting paralytic.
Not so in Woodhall Spa – where the rules are there to be obeyed.
A couple of weeks before the Boston event, the Kinema in the Woods is showing Dirty Dancing in the grounds of Jubilee Park Swimming Pool, but makes it clear that whilst visitors are welcome to bring their own picnic, “alcohol is not permitted due to the Jubilee Park's licence.”
How much more sensible would it have been had Boston Borough Council followed that example, which would have underlined the rules that apply in Central Park.
One other thing …
As we are well aware, Worst Street is not top of the list when it comes to forward planning …
Information from the Kinema screening for 12th August tells us “the doors will open at 8.45pm. The film will start at approximately 9.15pm depending on light levels...”
No such foresight here in Boston … where the publicity blurb tells us “gates open 6.30pm. Film from 7.30pm.”
Sunset in Boston on Friday 25th August is 8.05pm – thirty five minutes after the show begins.
If it’s a bright summer evening, then the film may be a little difficult to see – and we just hope that the layout will not finds the audience facing west into the setting sun …

***

One event that appears to be progressing swimmingly is the citizen-driven plan to provide something memorable for Christmas lighting in Boston this year.
The group has met its target of raising £10,000 which means that matched funding will be forthcoming from BTAC-ky – despite what we heard about vague attempts to wriggle out of the promise.
But it seems that the jobsworths are still determined to have their day.
Part of the planning includes attaching lights and motifs on the street lamps around the Market Place – which happened almost every year until winter 2015.
But Lincolnshire County Council has now told the organisers that they cannot use the lamp standards because of concerns over their structural safety.
Now, the organisers have asked  why in previous years were the installations allowed but not this year; were permissions not sought in previous years – and if not why not?
And the big question being asked is: “Have the conditions of the lamp standards deteriorated so quickly since 2015?
“If so should the council consider closing the Market Place until safety checks can be carried out?”

***


We can’t remember how many times we have mentioned the re-writing of history as far as the Pilgrim Fathers’ story is concerned.
Boston seems to genuinely believe that the town played an important role in all of this – something that the historical record shows clearly to be untrue.
Nevertheless by the time of the 400th anniversary of the Fathers’ arrival in the New World millions of pounds will have been poured into marking the occasion – and still it doesn't seem to be enough.
A recent application by Plymouth's Mayflower team asked for a £4.7 million grant from the lottery fund, which would have contributed towards the cost of a network connecting Plymouth with Dartmouth, Southampton, Southwark, Southend, Harwich, Lincoln, Scrooby, Babworth, Gainsborough, Boston, Austerfield and Doncaster.
Despite a reputation for wasting money by the cartload, the lottery people turned the idea down – although the bidders say that they are still committed to making the trail a reality.
We ran the proposed marathon through a route planned which outline a 1,000 mile jaunt between nowhere much and nowhere in particular – and quite who would want to undertake it is anyone’s guess.
But given the planners’ determination to make this pointless marathon a reality, we wonder how long before it will be before some wiseguy on BTAC-ky suggests that Worst Street chips in a few thousand or so.
Not that there appears to be any shortage of cash. Last month the Arts Council for England committed £16 million – £4 million a year – to arts organisations in Plymouth between 2018 to 2022 to deliver “stunning” heritage, cultural programming and arts projects that will form a key part of the city’s Mayflower 400 calendar.
And last year, the partnership received £500,000 from the chancellor, which has been used to develop the international marketing, a new website, itineraries and "new visitor product" nationally.

***

We note with interest that a crowdfunding appeal is to be launched to try to raise £1,000 to hold a teenage market in Boston next year.
The Worst Street website informs us: “The idea was originally suggested by the council's Prosperous Boston Task and Finish Group which has been looking at ways to make Boston better for residents and visitors.”
Yes, we remember the Preposterous Boston group – a self-appointed band that mouthed off for a while and then fell strangely silent.
But to put the record straight … Preposterous Boston did not originally suggest the idea.
It was first mentioned in March last year in none other than Boston Eye, when we reported: “Not that long ago a teenage market was started in Kettering with support from the borough council and was so successful that it is now being copied in other areas – Sleaford will be hosting its second such market in May with 16 traders and the same number of performers.”
At that time Prosperous Boston was discussing plans to combine the Wednesday markets in Wide Bargate – and free up the great stone desert as an “events space” with one or two events a week during the summer to attract visitors.

***

Since we started our mini campaign for better local news coverage of Boston, we have lost count of the number of times we have pasted the hashtag #notabostonstory on links posted under the Boston Target Twitter banner.
Apparently the term for this is clickbait.
A link is offered purporting to be to a local story and it is only once the site is visited that it is found to have nothing to do with the area at all.



But by then the site owners have the benefit of the traffic generated by the visit which helps boost the popularity statistics which in turn are used to govern advertising charges.
It’s certainly profitable for the publisher involved – but not for the cheated reader.
We have followed links to stories in Grimsby, and even out of the county in Nottinghamshire or Norfolk – and often under coy headline such as “We bet that hurt …” or “Heartbreaking…”
The Target feed is linked to that of Lincolnshire Live – which is part of the Lincolnshire Echo group.
It also offers a site called In Your Area which claims to offer local news related to your postcode. But when we entered ours, the “local” content on offer soon petered out.
The site promotion material tells us: “Lincolnshire Live is powered by the reporting team behind the Lincolnshire Echo, Target Series and Retford Times.
“We’ve been at the heart of our communities since 1893 and our mission is the same now as it’s always been – to be a fresh voice covering all the stories that matter to you from across our great county.
“From in-depth news to what’s on information and exclusive sports stories, our website is brought to you by people who are passionate about Lincolnshire and what this area has to offer.”
It sounds good, and it would be all right if it made clear that the stories were countywide – and not fobbing us off with the suggestion that they are local to us.
To its credit, the Boston Sub-Standard declines to mislead its readers in this shoddy way and offers mainly Boston stories on its Twitter feed.
Our only other source of so-called news is the Boston Borough Council Bulletin which collates items from its website once a week into good news pabulum almost entirely irrelevant to Boston Borough Council which is therefore neither use nor ornament.

***


Finally that sign that the silly season has arrived again has come with an item in the Boston Sub-Standard promoting CCTV pictures released by Worst Street to try to identify people caught littering, spitting, urinating and fly-tipping in the town.
The Standard tells us that men were all captured on the council’s CCTV system and the authority would like to know who they are and where they live so it can speak to them.
“It forms part of the council’s Name and Shame campaign.”
We encounter this every year when news is hard to find – and of course, one thing it is not is a “name and shame” campaign, since no-one is ever named, and as far as we know has never been shamed either.
Attempts at catching these people might also have had more chance of success had Worst Street not been so backward in coming forward.   The offenders pictured were snapped on April 17th   May 24th and 28th and June 12th.


***

And talking of silly seasons, Worst Street goes a bit quiet at this time of year – more so than usual – so we'll take a break as well, and be back in mid-August.


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, 24 July 2017


In recent days the papers have been full of Prime Minister “Daisy” May’s first year in office – a milestone marked by a smaller Commons majority and diminished authority twelve months on...
Meanwhile, in Boston, 16th July marked around 100 days since Councillor Michael Cooper was declared the new leader of Boston Borough Council – another of those terms in power that is often reviewed.
In much the same way that Daisy has invented the reverse Pavane – taking one step forward and two back – so Boston’s new leader appears to have overseen a tsunami of inactivity.
Only once has he raised his head above the parapet to launch a waffle attack about the gravity of the position and the challenge it presents and pledging “a gritty determination to make life here better for everyone.”
That was on 1st June – and the same stirring stuff was appeared as “Michael’s Notes” in the give-away magazine Simply Boston July issue with the promise of future monthly columns on the “important topics” in and around Boston.
A similar column “written” by former leader Peter Bedford also appeared in the magazine until his departure – but was nothing more than a repeat of his monthly column from one of our local “newspapers” …  and often well out of date.
Aside from that rather predictable entrée, we are still awaiting a main course of some sort.
Nothing appears to have changed in Worst Street.
The same old tired names and faces are running the show with the same lack of imagination and flair, and we have to say that we are starting to doubt that a new leader will be any sort of new broom – despite a specific promise not to sweep any “challenges” under the carpet.

***

The leadership issue is also one to have exercised our new contributor  The Sorcerer – who writes: “I wonder just how switched on the new Leader of the Conservative group really is now that he has at last winkled Pete (the Pill) Bedford, out of the True Blue Corner that he had occupied for longer than he deserved?
“The question ‘he’ needs to engage, is whether this was all his own idea, or whether someone, or something, instigated this long-awaited political tremor?
“I wouldn't mind wagering that a couple of long-serving ‘Pete’s Patsies’ will very soon conveniently ‘choose’ to ‘call it a day’ as well.
“Neither should the origins of the ‘Pill's'’ tenure ever be ignored.
“Surely no one could fail to recal, how much cajoling was done by ‘Mr Moneybags’ Richard Harbord, as he strived to convince Pete the Pill to take the reins of leadership!
“I think I am right in suggesting that a major part of this man's engagement brief was to dig back into his vast ‘professional experience’ with a view to introducing some suitable candidates, whom he might consider capable of taking over his Interim Chief Executive role.
“Some suggested that if Boston as a council moved with urgency given Mr Harbord’s contractual arrangements, we might even have been blessed for a short while with two –  yes two – Chief Executives … one very experienced and one very promising!
“But then the sceptic in me began to stir, and I began to wonder if this ‘interim chief’ had already begun to engage in a bit of kingmaking, himself.
“Because I have for a very long time been uncomfortable with the narrowness of the applicant scope which was being used to fill the position.
“It again, is only an opinion, but one cannot help but wonder if the financial qualification, and specification had not been sensitively ‘redesigned’ to satisfy single candidacy! 
“Or am I being too suspicious?”

***

Sweeping things under the carpet – as mentioned earlier – is a long standing accusation of ours where Worst Street is concerned.
And just as bad is the withholding of information to which the taxpaying public is entitled.
Agreed, the punters are allowed to attend most council committee meetings – unless there’s something that the powers that b’aint really want kept secret – but very few do.
It doesn’t mean that they aren’t interested – more likely it’s none too easy to get to a meeting in time after a hard day’s work … or to take time off for a daytime committees, which pose no problems for our largely retired councillors, or those whose only job it is.
But Wednesday’s meeting of the free-spending, money wasting BTAC-ky is breaking new ground by dealing with the agenda entirely through verbal reports.
The business includes policing issues, an update on Christmas in Boston, a report on the use of the Market Place by the Chief Executive and another from the BTAC-ky open spaces sub group.
However, if you want to know what they have to say, you have to be there … or remain in the dark for a month until the minutes are published – unless our local “newspapers” cover the meeting, which is unlikely.

***

Mention of Central Park reminds us of the new art deco garden created to mark the centenary of the land being acquired from its owner in 1919 – another jam tomorrow anniversary.


These arches cost £11,500, with £10,000 coming from Boston Big Local and Boston Borough Council paying the rest – and whilst it’s a lot of money, the outcome is an attractive addition to the park.
But if the location looks familiar to you, then it should. 
Only five years ago it was opened as a lasting legacy to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and was set in a Victorian themed garden built by BTAC-ky at a cost of at least £10,000.
However, BTAC-ky – motto Quod cito acquiritur cito perit (Easy come, Easy go) –  failed to take some important things into account.
Shortly after its original opening in June, 2012, it was damaged by two youngsters climbing on the upper tiers of the fountain and had to be taken away to be repaired.
In November, 2012, it was damaged again, only hours after being reinstalled with a new steel structure and concrete reinforcements to make it ‘strengthened and toughened’ –  with a total repair bill of £2,000.
Then last year after “continuing vandalism” the fountain was removed and the base used for a planter – and now it has vanished entirely.
Another glittering example of how Worst Street treats our money as if it were confetti.

***


Now that BTAC-ky has overcome its shyness at pouring our taxes down the nearest drain, it has really grasped the bit between its gums.
A number of events planned for Central Park involve private companies, which means that they are ticket only, and therefore unlikely to be cheap – perhaps even beyond the pockets of many local low wage earners in some cases.
Nonetheless, it was disappointing to read a suggested remedy by Labour group leader (the rest of his group comprises his deputy) – Paul Gleeson.
A local “newspaper” reported his reservations on the price of tickets.
He said: “You can see why it has to be a ticketed event but I would hope we would be able to ensure ticket prices weren’t prohibitive.”
He said he would like to see tickets within the price-range of the ‘average resident of Boston’ and called on BTAC to look towards helping off-set the costs of the event.
Bad call, Councillor Gleeson.
Where does a subsidy like this stop?
Before it was cancelled, the party attracted many thousands of visitors – but of course it was free.
As a for instance, say that someone estimates that 10,000 people would attend this year’s proposed party over two days and that tickets were being priced at £10 each. If councillors felt that a fiver was be nearer the mark, this would demand a BTAC-ky subsidy of £50,000 which aside from being outrageous would open the door to subsidy claims by any other private groups hired to stage events in the park in the future.
Not a good idea, however well-intentioned the proposal.

***


Still with Central Park life we raised an Eyebrow at a recent item on the Boston sub-Standard which appeared in untimely fashion ahead of next week’s two day the Beach Comes to Boston event.
Beneath the headline “Sandpits full of bugs that cause stomach upsets,” the report warned: “Sand play pits harbour the emerging superbug C. diff that causes stomach upsets and diarrhoea and in rare cases damages the gut, a new study found.
“More than half of all sandpits for children and pets tested were swarming with the bacteria Clostridium Difficile, also known as C. diff …
“… C. Diff causes watery diarrhoea, painful tummy cramps, nausea, dehydration, a fever and a loss of appetite and weight. Serious infections may require surgery to remove a damaged section of the bowel.
“The latest finding was over double the amount of found (sic) in soil in public parks, gardens, playgrounds and other locations around Cardiff in 1996 where it was found in a fifth of samples.”
Should we be worried, given that the Central Park event is really nothing more than a giant sand pit for use by all and sundry?
Well, the research was published in the journal “Zoonoses (yes, really!) and Public Health” by Professor José Blanco of the Complutense University of Madrid, and was based on tests of 20 pairs of recreational sandboxes for children and dogs in different playgrounds in that city.
Not only was it not what you might call exhaustive, it was completely irrelevant to Boston, and nothing more than a pointless piece to fill space on the Standard website.
But for the timing ahead of the Central Park event it was most unfortunate, although we are sure it was entirely co-incidental.

***

Most local authorities make use of the internet as a way to improve their services – but we wonder whether Worst Street has entirely got the knack.
We recently tried to buy a garden waste collection sticker for our spare brown bin – a facility offered online.
We wanted to buy a second sticker for a spare bin for the service we were promised would remain forever free and which would cost £15 – but after we went through the rigmarole of ordering one were told it would cost £30 – the “forever free” cost of the first bin licence.
We queried this and learned that: “The system that records your request is an external forms package and has no knowledge of your property record, we are able to take your payment for an additional service over the phone or in person at the Municipal Buildings only.”
OK then, the ‘phone it would be, and we rang the dedicated number to order our sticker.
At this point a mystifying answering system took over to inform us that we were second in the queue and could expect to wait 40 seconds to get through to a real person.
At least that amount of time elapsed before we got another message telling us exactly the same thing.
After an identical wait we were only 30 seconds away from an answer – but then slipped back to 40, at which point we decided to try later.
This time we got through straightaway, and placed our order, which was charged against our debit card the next day.
This took place on a Monday – well ahead of the our next collection day on the Thursday of the following week … nine working days later.
When the day dawned we still had no sticker, but a polite note put on the second bin explaining the problem received a positive responsive.
Earlier this year saw the farce when people received shedloads of stickers on top of the one that they ordered – which was brushed off as “purely human error, compounded by a complicated computerised process.”
It seems as if there is still some way to go with this aspect of the Worst Street “service.”

***

Finally, we hear that New Perspectives, a Nottingham-based touring theatre company, plans to mount a production called Boston Stories – to be told by residents, and then made into a short film and a large-scale theatre production.
Apparently the aim is to tell audiences what it is like to be a Bostonian – and the idea took off at a meal in a Boston restaurant where guests included a Lithuanian community leader, a police officer, a Portuguese shopkeeper, and an IT specialist.
People shared stories that had shaped their lives and the community in which they live and were recorded and to form the basis of the film, and drama.
This has the dead hand of do-gooderness about it from the outset – and we can be fairly sure what the message of the production is likely to be.
We are polishing our lorgnettes in anticipation.





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