Monday, 9 July 2018


The mess which caused the cancellation of Boston Borough Council’s Corporate and Community scrutiny committee on 21st June because not enough councillors could be bothered to attend has been revealed on the Worst Street website.


As you can see, it shows that only one committee member took to trouble to send a substitute in his stead – Councillor Richard Austin, whose old adversary and former leader Peter Bedford stepped into the breach.
Cry, God for the Boston Corporate and Community scrutiny committee, Dicky and Saint Pete.
Of the rump, seven of the eleven members sent apologies – and their failure to attend not only caused the cancellation of the meeting, but presumably generated costs for the attendance of three officers … two of them earning more than £50,000 a year.

***

What we would like to know is how soon it is before a meeting that apologies have to be submitted
If a reasonable time is allowed – and so long as a shoal of members avoid simultaneously succumbing to an attack of the trots  on the night – there should still enough time to call off a meeting and spare participants and lot of inconvenience.
What we suspect is that until the meeting starts and apologies are called for no-one has a clue about who is – or isn’t attending.
If so, this is a sloppy piece of administration – but something that would not be surprising given the chaotic spaghetti that calls itself Boston Borough Council.

***

Mind you, sloppiness appears to be endemic in the borough – as a regular reader wrote to tell us.
“In studying the latest BBC Parish Council Newsletter I was struck by the fact that two of the meetings advertised therein did not have the correct day to match the date printed,” he told us.
The meetings concerned were for the Full Council and a Planning Committee meeting.
“One has to ask, given the recent record of councillor attendance at other Borough meetings, whether similar mistakes have been prevalent in the past.
“If this is so, then it would seem training for officers is needed;  if not the case, then a course for councillors to remind them of their duties, in line with their election promises, would probably be a good idea even if we are in the last year of the present elected term.
“Some quick attention to this problem is needed if we are to remove all confusion in councillors' minds as to the date of Christmas this year.”

***

A local Facebook page – Boston the people – is going to war on the shabby state of the town and its some of its historic buildings … and appears to have won the support of one whom taxpayers might expect not to be able to spare the time.

***

A photo album called Stop the Rot on Boston’s Historical Buildings was accompanied by the message: “I took the bull by the horns armed with my camera and have wrote (sic) to the council over the weekend sending them my albums, along with my concerns and suggestions.
“I have made three albums of our town, which I will post to this site separately. For for (sic) some reason the links to them don't work.
“The first one is focused on the state of the Assembly Rooms.
“The second is a visual survey of weeds and state of some buildings.
“The third is The best of Boston.
“I've received a rapid and positive response from them (the council - Ed) first thing this morning as follows …”

***

The reply – addressed in first name terms and purportedly from the borough’s Chief Executive – read:
“Thank you for your email, thoughts, comments, enforcement suggestions and attachments.
“You have raised a number of issues and suggestions and I hope that you will allow me some time to properly consider before proving (sic) a more substantive response.
“In the meantime I have passed a copy to colleagues to see if there is something we can do in the short-term using our street cleansing, staff, the BTAC operatives and/or the Fly-Swat team.
“Regards, Phil
“Phil Drury
“Chief Executive”

***

Our past experience shows that Mr Drury is no slouch when it comes to replying to e-mails – although we have not previously noted such a rapid response.
Perhaps now that he has a deputy instead of being a one-man band he has more time on his hands.
However, the idea of a £95,000 a year panjandrum showing an interest in the minutiae  of weeding the gutters brings with it a concern that there is nothing much more important to do.
It is also something of a worry that it has taken all these years for the message to get across – that once you leave the town centre or the Boston in Bloom judging route, the town is a weed and litter strewn tip.

***

And neatly combining the shabby state of the town and the Bloomers’ judging route, we must ask why the town bridge is in such a state.
As we crossed it the other day, we noted the disgraceful condition of the pavement and the urgent need for some serious re-painting. The bridge has been a foreground to the view of Boston Stump taken by thousands of photographers over the years – and its condition suggests that it will definitely not be seen by the judging panel this time around … or it would glisten blindingly in the sun.

***

Talking of Chief Executives – a couple of Mr Drury’s predecessors continue to find their way into the headlines … but not for the best of reasons.
Mark James, Boston’s Chief Executive between 1995 and 2002 has been a regular in Private Eye’s Rotten Boroughs feature – but is closely followed by his successor Nicola Bulbeck who followed Mr James into office in 2002, and subsequently swapped Boston for the delights of the Devonshire countryside.
Her tenure proved controversial – even after she left Teignbridge Council … having previously been given a 12% pay rise which took her total pay package to just under £142,000.


Nice work if you can get it.


***

Old news is better than no news at all, we suppose, and some praise for policing in Boston took a couple of weeks to reach the locals – and then via a highly circuitous route.
The story – listing the top five local authorities for crime detection – first appeared in the Sunday Times on 17th June.


It was picked up by the intrepid news hounds at – of all unlikely places – Boston Borough Council, almost a fortnight later, then by BBC Radio Lincolnshire … finally becoming the lead story on the Boston sub-Standard three and a half weeks after it first appeared.
Ironically, as far as we can tell, Lincolnshire Police have made no mention of the report.

***

Whilst the figures are good news, they ought not to – as they inevitably were – be used to support an argument that the perception of crime is much higher than the reality.
Perception is important – and having lived in Boston for many years we, and others we know, feel less comfortable on the streets that we did ten or twenty years ago.
And whilst it is true that a 4% detection rate in bottom-of-the-list Rushcliffe is truly shameful, Boston’s 20.1% rate means that the odds are comfortably in favour of criminals getting off scot free.

***

As we are sure you know last week was National Democracy Week.
And if you didn’t, we are not surprised – because although local authorities and many 
other organisations up and down the country staged events, talks and fun activities to mark the 90th anniversary of the 1928 Equal Franchise Act which gave women the same voting rights as men – Worst Street did not appear to be among them.

I

Our next door neighbours in South Holland were far less indifferent … running a market day stall manned by councillors and members of the SHDC democratic services team.
There were also exhibitions and other initiatives across the week.
Councillor Malcolm Chandler, Deputy Leader of South Holland District Council, said: "National Democracy Week is a fantastic new initiative and it is great to see South Holland District Council taking a major part in helping share the powerful and positive messages attached to it.
"Democracy and all that is attached to it is so imperative to our way of life in this country and it is so important that the right to vote is exercised.
“Just one vote can make all the difference, and that is why encouraging participation and engagement is such a key objective for myself, other councillors and council staff.”
What a shame it’s not the case on Boston.

***

Meanwhile South Kesteven District Council was busy supporting a Teenage Market which was held at the weekend.

  
Regular readers will remember that a similar idea was floated for Boston – and after two years of fannying around it was declared that the idea had no support here. Why is it that Grantham can manage it and other places such as Lincoln, Sleaford and Stamford have all held similar markets in the past?
There are no prizes for guessing the answer.

***

Talking of events, the weekend saw something called Lost … and found Vikings – which apart from suffering on the first day due to the England World Cup quarter final game against Sweden … a country with strong historical associations with the Vikings … was also peculiarly presented on the borough  website.
Whist entry to the Central Park event was free but with some small charges, there was also a warning that “some scenes may not be suitable for young children unaccompanied.”
As ever, nothing is simple and straightforward when Boston Borough Council has a finger in the pie.

***

Our remarks last week about the Worst Street sausage and beer festival which is being held in Central Park on Saturday drew a rebuke from one of our readers, who e-mailed to say: “I usually agree with you on your slant on West Street, but I feel I must criticise your comments on the beer and sausage in the park event. 
“I personally have been involved with helping to provide an expert judge, in fact two. “They are husband and wife, both retired, and have a great knowledge of what they are looking for in a good sausage.
“They are Lincolnshire ex-butchers, so should be most suitable.
“They will be looking for a variety of factors, not just the finished product and taste, but how it is prepared, uncooked state , presented and cooked etc. (I only go on taste, I add). So please, don’t hit them on this!
“After all we should be proud of our Boston, Lincolnshire Sausage. 
“What you should be hitting, is the fact that so few of our local butchers did not feel they were worthy of entering!”

***

In our own defence, we have to say that last week’s piece did not have a go at the judging for the best sausage competition – but at the poor way that ticket sales were organised and the rigid rules and regulations being imposed.
And we also know of at least one big award-winning farm shop that was contacted after the council was told it had not been approached and received the message: “Hello, we are holding a sausage and beer festival on Saturday 14th July in Central Park, Boston. If this is something you would like to get involved with, please contact me.”
No mention of a competition of any kind.

***

Although we have criticised Worst Street many times for  using its website as  a sole means of passing on information, we now think that this might be because the powers that be don’t know what they’re doing.
A recent website feature on garden waste collection concluded


Apparently it hasn’t occurred to anyone that if you’re not online, you won’t be able to read about alternative ways to get in touch.

***

Finally, as things wind down for the summer and the silly season and holiday period take hold, Boston Eye will be reducing the frequency of publication from weekly to fortnightly for the next couple of months.
Our next edition will appear on Monday 23rd July.


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, 2 July 2018

Stay-away councillors force
meeting cancellation …
NO QUORUM
NO FORUM
By now, there is surely no-one who doubts the potential perils facing Boston’s local NHS services – which is why it is so disappointing that a meeting of Boston Borough Council’s Corporate and Community scrutiny committee had to be cancelled on 21st June because not enough councillors could be bothered to attend.
No, not disappointing.
Pathetic.
***

The meeting was due to discuss an “update” on a Worst Street task and finish group looking at the Lincolnshire sustainability and transformation plan –  STP – which the Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust claims will help ensure health and care services in Lincolnshire are developed around the needs of the local population so they are fit for the future.
Also on the agenda was a review of the council’s private sector housing policy framework – another important local issue given the numbers of houses in multiple occupation in the borough.

***

The task and finish group was set up in spring last year to consider how to develop a consultation response to the STP taking into account the views of local people and organisations – and the agenda item of 21st June was so that members could “note the update and consider the future direction to be taken by the STP Task and Finish Group in the light of the delays in publishing proposals for public consultation, particularly those relating to acute hospital services.”

***

As we said at the outset, the precarious nature of health services in Boston makes the need for the maximum discussion and debate inestimable.
The committee has eleven members – Chairman Councillor Paul Gleeson, Vice Chairman Councillor Colin Brotherton and Councillors Michael Brookes, Tom Ashton, Richard Austin, Anton Dani, Jonathan Noble, Elizabeth Ransome, Sue Ransome, Judith Skinner and Stephen Woodliffe.
The quorum for the meeting is five members in attendance – which means that at least seven failed to turn up.

***

The lack of discussion prompted an angry reaction from local protesters fighting to retain services at Pilgrim Hospital.  
A member of the SoS Pilgrim - Call To Action group on Facebook  said…
“Thanks to those that bothered to turn up for their own Boston Borough Council Community Scrutiny Meeting last night!” wrote one angry member.
“To those elected councillors that didn't, you should be ashamed!
“Good job we are fighting for the people of our county!”


Committee chairman Councillor Paul Gleeson told Boston Eye: “It was disappointing that not enough members attended last week's Corporate and Community committee meeting.
“It’s the first time I know of a meeting being inquorate since I have been on the council.”
That’s seven years.
“Contrary to some reports we were not due to directly discuss health issues, we were looking at the future direction of the Task and Finish group set up last year to investigate the wider impact of the Lincolnshire NHS STP on Boston.
“After some good initial meetings, with the continual delays in the public consultation on the STP, our enquiry had stalled. 
“We now appear to have an STP by stealth and I had hoped we could look at widening our enquiry and getting more public involvement in our meetings.  We will discuss this at our next meeting.
“It was also a pity there was no scrutiny of the other item on the agenda – the introduction of licensing for HMOs.”

***

It could be argued that for a meeting to be called off for lack of a quorum for the first time in at least seven years was an example of a fierce historic dedication by councillors.
But it is also something that need not have happened if those involved had been better organised.
In just over 300 days – around 42 weeks – all 30 council seats in Worst Street will be up for election, and many of the councillors currently in office will be making all sorts of promises to get re-elected.
It’s something worth remembering in light of  the above debacle.

***

Still with diary dates – it’s less than six months to the New Year, which means that whatever is going to happen vis-à-vis Christmas lights in Boston will have been done and dusted.
It was two months ago that we last mentioned Christmas lights – when Worst Street was looking for “expressions of interest” from individuals, community groups and businesses and set a deadline of 14th  May.
It’s a long-dead deadline by now – and regular readers will recall that this year, Worst Street didn’t want to put all its eggs in one basket … and defined six areas to be lit by individual and different groups.

***

Since then there has been uproar from the electricians involved in last year’s project, demanding that they should have exclusive ownership of the project.
They claim to “hold” more than £15,000 worth of lights, and questioned why other bidders for the task should have to start from scratch and buy lights for a second time.
This has begged the question of who owns the lights – rather than who “holds” them.
Last year’s venture was funded principally by a BTAC-ky grant of £10,000 in match funding if the volunteer groups raised a similar amount in donations and sponsorship – and that any remaining assets reverted to Boston Borough Council once the project ended.

***

It was thought that this issue would have been resolved by now – at the BTAC-ky meeting scheduled for Wednesday 27th June.
But the meeting was brought forward at the last minute and held on the 20th – with no mention of Christmas.
We assume that everything now waits for another month and the 25th July meeting.

***

But this has not deterred “The Electricians” as they now appear to style themselves pressing ahead with fund raising …


We just wish Worst Street would sort this mess out as soon as possible – otherwise Boston will become the lighting laughing stock is was  just a couple of years ago.

***

Over the years – and with complete justification – we have accused the powers that be in Worst Street of lacking the nous to organise a booze-up in a brewery.
Now they seem to be sowing the seeds for potential fiasco with a Sausage and Beer Festival in Central Park on 14th July.
The council website urges us to: “Sit back and listen to music whilst enjoying a pint from Lincolnshire Brewing Company and locally sourced sausages from Boston.
“There will also be the judging of the best sausage from Boston, 1pm - 6pm (that’s a long time to judge a sausage - Ed) sponsored by Duncan and Toplis.
“You will be able to sample a selection of cooked sausages from local butchers.”

***

So far, so good – although we understand that the invitation to have your sausage judged by a firm of accountants and tax advisers has not been extended beyond the town centre … angering sausage makers from local towns and villages.
Then there is the quirky – to say the least – arrangement for selling tickets.
A stash of 500 was on sale for the “early bird” price of £3.50 – after which they went up to £5 … a hike of more than 40%.
But if – like many people, you prefer to see what the weather is like on the day, then  – if there is the space available – admission will cost you a stonking £10 – more than 280% of the early bird offer.
Who thought that one up, we wonder?
To make matters worse, Worst Street tweeted last week that tickets were still available – a month after the event first appeared on the council website – “for just £3.50.
Which means that the first 500 ticktes have yet to be sold.

***

Because Worst Street looks the other way at drinking in the park when there’s money to be made, there is also an avalanche of rules and regulation tacked on to mar what might otherwise be a pleasant afternoon out.
“Families - Under 18yrs are free but must be accompanied by an adult to gain access into the event, they must not drink and will not be served.
All under 18yrs must leave by 6pm. There will be a kid’s corner to keep little ones entertained.
Your bags will be searched on entry to the event; no alcohol will be permitted into this event. No pets allowed; no weapons.
You may be refused service at the bartender’s discretion.
You will need to bring a valid ID as proof of age to gain access to this event.”
Apart from that, have fun!

***

Earlier, we mentioned the disinterest among councillors that caused a meeting to be cancelled.
At the recent Lincolnshire Show an annual tradition for years has been a chance to meet your local county councillor.
Well, bad luck if you were visiting in the hope of finding the Boston Brigade all present and correct over the two day event
 

Boston has six county councillors – five of whom are “double-hatted” in that they “serve” at West Street as well.
Of these six – only three made it to the Lincolnshire Showground … the same percentage that caused the Corporate and Community scrutiny committee to fall flat on its face.

***

Worst Street’s planning committee has been flinging developments  around willy-nilly recently – approving up to 200 new homes on a site south of Wainfleet Road   hard on the heels of approval for 61 new riverside homes at the old Haven Wharf Warehouse site.
There is also to be a new shopping development that will involve demolition of 36 Strait Bargate and 2 Wide Bargate, the refurbishment and extension of 4 Wide Bargate and building 16 shops, including a cafe and restaurants, and 15 apartments with car parking.
The site is currently the NCP car park on Red Lion Street.
Permission was given subject to an agreement to deliver affordable housing and a minimum of 12 units to be shops
  

There was the usual gung-ho response about revitalising the area and welcoming small shops to the town, and only Councillor Stephen Woodliffe sounded a voice of dissent urging councillors to err on the side of caution.
He cited the state of high streets across the nation, and added concerns that gambling businesses might move in – adding that the council was not thinking about the current decline in high streets nationally.
“Shopping itself is changing rapidly and I don’t think new shops small or large are the way forward,” he said.
Needless to say, his message was pooh-poohed.

***

It makes a change for us not to have to disagree with the decision – because one of our regular readers was quicker off the mark.
“The fact that majority of our councillors seem to think this to be a wonderful idea, only serves to show just how out of touch with reality they really are,” he wrote.
“Have they not visited the town centre of late and seen for themselves the number of empty shops, many of which have blighted the central business district landscape for some time now?
“This proposed project, should it ever go ahead, is destined to become yet another white elephant and another testimony to the inadequacy, incompetence and 'Walter Mitty like' personae of the majority of Boston's serving councillors.
“I can only think that they view any kind of new development – no matter how foolhardy and destined to failure the venture is likely to prove – as implying progress and proof of their ‘unceasing efforts’ to promote the town.
“A struggling new shopping complex will only serve as a further indication of Boston's now obvious descent to 'backwater status'.
“Not to mention the fact that this proposed 'shopping village' will be positioned right opposite the much lauded Waterfall Mall, which I would hardly describe as being the memorable shopping experience that was promised.
“Councillor Stephen Woodliffe is absolutely correct (somewhat uncharacteristically it has to be said) in his assessment, and was right to express his reservations about this mind numbing folly.”


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, 11 June 2018


An official complaint has been made about a remark said to be homophobic and allegedly made by a Boston Borough Council cabinet member and committee chairman.
The comments were said to have taken the form of joke by Councillor David Brown at a training meeting on 20th April, attended by planning committee members and officers.
But it is said to have misfired with some of those present – prompting former Mayor Councillor Brian Rush to take the matter up with a senior officer attending the meeting.
Councillor Rush says that he was promised some sort of action on the matter, and that although an apology was offered, he felt that it was not enough.
In a 1,600 word letter of official complaint to the council’s Monitoring Officer Michelle Sacks, Councillor Rush says: “The very fact that he has been thought a suitable person to hold the office of Chair of Planning is worrying enough in itself, but now to have been presented with a Cabinet position” – Councillor Brown replaced Councillor Mike Brookes as portfolio holder for environment – “is a bridge too far in my estimation and … is extremely worrying.
“It is my belief that his promotion will certainly have undermined the confidence of future planning applicants, but will also surely have damaged the trust that the people of Boston Borough need to have in their elected members.
“You will … know just how angry and disappointed I was to be informed by you that in ‘your opinion’, this councillor’s apology, was ‘an acceptable and adequate response to what those who were in attendance had heard!’'
“Let me also say that I have good reason to believe that not to be true.
“Nor in fact do I believe that such an apology would have been thought acceptable, especially given the forum within which the ‘story’ was told.”
Later, he adds: “Given that this administration is reputed to pride itself on subscribing to a policy of fairness and open-mindedness, I believe that this man has undermined those policies with  his unsolicited, and degrading homophobic commentary, without the slightest regard for ‘any or all of those present’.
“It is a matter of record that all in attendance were experienced councillors, and senior officers, you being one, whom one would expect to behave to the highest possible standards of language and behaviour.
“Yet on this occasion Councillor Brown failed to act correctly, without the slightest regard for fellow attendees, nor those whose life preferences, or human persuasions, may have differed from others present.
Councillor Rush says that he is surprised that Councillor Brown is still in post as Planning Committee chairman  – adding “that once the genie is out of the bottle  we can never ever then be sure that such jaundiced opinions are nullified, except by his removal from councillorship.
“… can the action taken, and the apology made, completely erase the mental opinions he so clearly harbours, and how can we or the public, ever now have any confidence in the fairness of judgement he is expected to project?
He concludes: “Councillors in my opinion should never mock or criticise other members of society whose life differences are a matter of personal choice, some of which may indicate sexual preferences of their own, which may be very different from one’s own; that does not give anyone the right to scoff or criticise  such differences in a public arena.”
“ … Given the insensitive and offensive nature of the comments made by him, I believe this renders him completely unsuitable for membership of the planning committee but also and indeed, any level of public scrutiny.
“This embarrassingly offensive, so-called ‘funny’ story, begs us all to ask, what kind of  leader would ever have allowed any member to express such homophobic, and offensive opinions within an arena where the  ‘life standards’ of others, can and are, at times,  completely different.
“No amount of training could ever eradicate such a discriminatory opinion.”

***

We asked Councillor Brown for a reply – which was equally robust.
He told Boston Eye: “I will confirm a complaint about a remark I made in a private training session where no member of the public was present has been made by Brian Rush.
“Simon Rowberry – the former Interim Development Manager of planning – was talking about the Green Party and the attitude some Green councillors take to planning issues.
“He followed ‘There are a lot of Greens in Brighton.’
“I quipped ‘Mmm – there are a lot of Gays in Brighton.’ That's it – exactly what I said. Anyone who twists this in any way or exaggerates is telling you a lie and I will swear on Oath that's exactly what I said.
“During the lunch break Michelle Sacks asked for a quiet word and suggested I might have offended someone in the room – perhaps they had a gay son and were experiencing trauma.
“On my return to the meeting I addressed those present; I apologised and said I wished to withdraw the remark as I am no bigot and certainly wished no offence.
“Let me tell you something about myself. I'm one of six kids – my father died when I was nine. My loving mother raised us kids to accept people for who they are. We have always been a family that prides itself on acceptance to all people no matter what their colour, creed, religion or sexual persuasion …”
“ … I was especially offended when Brian Rush said on camera THEY (the councillors) WILL NOT MEET THESE PEOPLE (the Muslim community.*) That’s an offensive outrageous remark to make.
“From 1985 to 1993 I ran my own giftware manufacturing business and came in to contact with many Gays – either running a gift shop or being a sculptor/model making. They are very talented people; many of them have remained close, personal friends since.
“Recently I became aware of a remark at another meeting. I asked the gentleman – I'll call him Fred – ‘Is it true you asked the Mayor for the possibility of a Gay pride Carnival to take place in the Town’?  
“He replied ‘It was mentioned in the meeting within the events committee and his reply was something like ‘Such an event and the people it attracts would not be welcome’
“Who's the real bigot?
“The screenshot of the message was shown to Michelle Sacks together with the name of the correspondent. I shall further pursue my complaint if Brian wishes to play tit for tat.
“It seems to me Brian is out for revenge.
“Is that the behaviour of a councillor? Surely the council chamber is where one scores a victory.
“As for the Extraordinary Meeting calling for his resignation, my speech was deliberately kept neutral – after all it was me who "seconded" him in the first place. I started with the words ‘Damned if we do, damned if we don't.’
“You know full well that if we had brushed it under the carpet (and that would have been my choice) we would have been vilified just the same but then, I can't turn the clock back.”

*This comment was made in February after a motion was passed at an Extraordinary meeting of the council, calling for the resignation of Councillor Rush over certain remarks alleged to have been made on Facebook.

***

We e-mailed the borough’s Monitoring Officer to ask what the procedure was following a complaint, but the question apparently went unmonitored – as we are sure that it was not deliberately ignored.

***

Another interesting sidebar along the road to openness and transparency was that one of our e-mails to Councillor Brown was blocked by Boston Borough Council.


We’re sure that councillors of all political persuasions will be pleased that apparently Worst Street determines what they should or should not read, and manages their mail accordingly.

***

No sooner had the ink dried on last week’s blog in which we called into question Boston Borough Council’s reliance on the internet than – abracadabra! – up sprang another Worst Street website … to encourage economic growth in Boston borough.
click to enlarge photo 
According to WorstWeb  the site, which has the slogan THINK BOSTON think business “puts the borough on the economic map,” gives a host of great reasons for businesses and their workforce to want to settle here and is updated with social media posts about businesses and business opportunities
Frankly, we have to say that we have seen better.
A lot of what appear to be links turn out to be no such thing – and the Boston net has been cast wide to include embrace, Holbeach and, we think, Sleaford.
Newcomers to Boston, may well be lured by the promise of “readily available and reasonably priced housing” – but may find the promise of “good connectivity by road and rail” slightly more elusive.
The bottom line is that the website is little more than a collection of links to organisations that do things.
There is a section entitled “get in touch” which includes a “contact form”   asking for name, e-mail address, ‘phone number and a message.
Who receives that it anyone’s guess, and the provision of a name would be a good starting point –  a personal touch that might help things along in these competitive times.

***

The feeling that any content will do so long as the pages look busy is inescapable.
A section on “attractions” includes such entries as the Fenside Community Centre, Boston Aerodrome, Boston and County Club, the Len Medlock Voluntary Centre and the railway station.
And in some cases, there is scant attention to detail – witness the entry below … ironically for an attraction owned by borough council leader Michael Cooper.


Think Boston also has its own Twitter page – apparently created some months ago – which includes many entries which are completely irrelevant to Boston and to thinking about it.
Worse than that, the non-local links are mostly tales of industrial doom and gloom – such as “European fruit pickers shun Britain/ Poundworld future in the balance after buyer pulls out/Rate rise chances dim as inflation falls/M&S to close 100 stores by 2022/Tesco Direct closure puts 500 jobs at risk.”
But never mind – at least the feed has followers – all five of them when last we looked.
They comprised Clive Gibbon, the Economic Development Manager at Boston Borough Council, Boston Eye., BBC Radio Lincolnshire, a local food firm and a local PR firm.
Look on the bright side – things can only get better.
They can’t get any worse!

***

Just over two years ago, Worst Street published its “working document” for balancing the budget by 2020 to find spending reductions of £2.2 million including “a staggered downsizing of staff reflecting the changing size and shape of the council through other transformation projects.”
We were told: “The council has done its best to prepare itself for the difficult times ahead.
It already has the leanest senior management team of any council in the county, possibly the country - just two.
“The chief executive has taken on the duties of the deputy chief executive and the finance director shares his time with a neighbouring authority.
“Other staff work in part for Boston Borough Council and in part for neighbouring councils, such as East Lindsey District Council and South Holland District Council. Savings have also been made by sharing services, such as some refuse collecting duties.”

***

So it came as something of a surprise to learn of changes to the structure which appear to be the opposite of those declared in 2016, and which have slipped under the radar without any kind of announcement.
click to enlarge photo
The most recent update – posted on WorstWeb less than a month ago – shows no fewer than seven members.
Not only that, but we have reacquired a Deputy Chief Executive role bolted on to the existing duties of  the borough’s Corporate Director and Monitoring Officer  – a promotion that surely must be accompanied by a decent pay rise.
So what about the shared duties between Boston and East Lindsey?
For some years, the role of Section 151 officer – a council’s finance chief – has been held by Robert Barlow and shared between the two authorities.
But there seem to have been changed here as well.
On the East Lindsey website, Mr Barlow repeatedly appears not only as the Section 151 officer – but on at least one list as a permanent employee at East Lindsey, working four days a week as the Deputy Chief Executive on a salary between £85 -£90,000 a year.
Confused?
So is at least one councillor, who told Boston Eye: “He definitely only recently told me, he was taking retirement for health reasons”
Whilst it always sounds a little pompous to say that we pay the bill for councillors and for officers it is nonetheless true – an a little more transparency on who gets our money and for what would be most welcome.

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We also note that Worst Street has clambered on to the bandwagon that aggrandises preciously easy-to-understand job descriptions.
Until now, Phil Perry, the officer in charge of the town centre, leisure, events and culture has uncomplicatedly been known as “Head of Town Centre, Leisure, Events and Culture” – a description that clearly does what it says on the packet.
Simples.
Now, the council appears to have adopted the practice known as jobbledygook – and Mr Perry has become the Head of Place and Space.
We don’t know who dreamt up that bunch of bollocks – but feel that they must have much in common with the creators of the jobs in the list below of  fancy pants job titles … drawn up by the Plain English Foundation …


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There are three weeks to go before yet another “pubic consultation” draws to a close – this one seeking our views on how Lincolnshire disposes of its rubbish. Our observations of these so-called soundings of taxpayer opinion in the past are that whichever council is asking the questions, the result is usually the one they wanted in the first place.

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Worryingly, the County Council consultation comes at a time when a policy paper by the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee has come up with a proposal that would see taxpayers charged for the weight of the general waste they put out.
It would mean installing electronic chips in tens of millions of bins so that collection lorries can recognise them.
Currently bin collection costs fall under council tax.
LARAC, which speaks for senior council waste officers, said the ‘pay as you throw’ charges could be kept down if manufacturers and supermarkets were forced to pay much more to fund council rubbish services.
LARAC argued the charging regime would boost recycling as people would make sure plastic, paper, glass and food are put in household recycling bins, which would not carry a charge, rather than general waste bins.
The government is consulting on reforms to how the UK pays for the collection, handling and recycling of waste, and the LARAC policy document says rubbish collection should be split away from council tax.
It says: “A fundamental shift in funding is needed.
“It is time to look at how we decouple provision of waste services from being considered ‘what council tax pays for’ and move it to something that producers and users are responsible for.’
We know from past experience that Worst Street loves the idea of decoupling services that were previously provided from the council tax and feel sure that Clownty Hall would be onside for that as well.
Just be aware … at the moment waste removal is a statutory requirement – but watch out for moves to change all that.
The main argument against the sort of thing is that if – like most households – taxpayers dispose of their waste correctly they will simply end up paying extra for a service that was previously included in their council tax; another  example of less for more that is becoming increasingly widespread.

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Finally we’re on a two week break from this edition for reasons of Ho-Ho … hospitals and holidays.
Look out for the next edition on Monday 2nd July.
But don’t forget – we’re still available on e-mail and via Twitter, and if anything urgent needs reporting we’ll make sure we cover it.


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