Tuesday, 31 July 2012



Yesterday, we promised an insight into the thinking and attitudes of our so-called “leadership,” and the first of these has been kindly provided by Councillor Brian Rush – the Independent representative for Frampton and Holme  - who clashed with Council Leader Peter Bedford at last week’s full council meeting.
The issue concerned the Into Town bus service – popular with passengers – but hated in no small measure by pedestrians in Strait Bargate for its noise, pollution and the damage it is causing to the paved surface.
Councillor Rush asks: “Is the Bedford, any better than the Austin, for Boston!
 “Not when it comes to buses in Strait Bargate, he’s not!
“I put this question to him at the full council on Wednesday 25th July:
“Councillor Bedford, over the years, since the advent of the Into Town bus service, in my opinion, the people of Boston have been led to believe, by Lincolnshire County Council Highways, that the Strait Bargate precinct was covered by the implementation of a permanent road traffic regulation order.
“I suggest to you that this gave us all the impression that the consultation that took place had confirmed an acceptance of buses going through the precinct. 
“Will you confirm to me, that in fact Strait Bargate is only subject to a prohibition of driving and waiting order since 1981, and this has never been changed?”
“All that was required was a simple Yes- so that I could then ask if this was an easier order to lift than a permanent traffic order!
“But his answer was somewhat baffling.
“See what you think …
“If Councillor Rush casts his mind back, he might recall a reply he received from Lincolnshire County Council dated 28th March 2012 which confirmed to him that Strait Bargate is covered by a prohibition of driving and waiting order dated 2nd March 1981.  
“The response to you at that time also made it clear that the order allows for vehicles to enter for certain operations, such as building, maintenance, utility works, emergency services, etc.
“It also allows Lincolnshire County Council, as traffic authority, to issue exemptions, (in this case for the buses) and the response you received from the County Council in March of this year provided you with a copy of that. 
“So the legal position has already been communicated to you, Councillor Rush”
“Hmm..
“Yes Mr Leader, I know that, but that’s not the answer to the question. This is about you, not me!
“The question was really alleging some ‘secret’ knowledge, or conspiracy theory.
“Anyway, would my supplementary question assist him?
“It serves no purpose to reproduce it here, nor indeed his equally rambling response.
“Suffice to say he chose …
 -  Not to address the suggestion that the people of Boston had been misled!
-   Refused to confirm that both he, and Councillor Brookes were serving members of the regulatory Highways Committee - yet said nothing on how unpopular and unwelcome the buses would be in the precinct.
-  Allowed themselves to be bullied, whilst the hated Strait Bargate route was being discussed.
-  Were clearly asleep when this ‘never before’ mentioned ‘certificate of exemption’ was granted by their best buddies; it seems they simply sat quietly on their comfortable county chairs, like two good little boys and refused to uphold their own electorate -  because this meeting was in June 2009, right in the middle of the disastrous BBI term!
“Now what does that say of the man who would be Tory Leader, at a time when he was supposed to be in opposition to that other County Council crawler, Richard Austin.
“Bedford's deceit is even further exposed by the fact that only a few months ago, at a Group Leaders’ meeting, he admitted, when questioned by me - and in front of all present - that he had no previous knowledge of this exemption certificate.
“At the time (and) only when I showed him a copy of the document, he actually asked if he could have a copy of it, so that he could look into it …
“It is worrying that a man in such a position of responsibility and trust barefacedly fails to tell the truth in the council chamber.
“I suggest we all remind Councillor Bedford, that his first duty lies with Boston, and demand he stops crawling on his hands and knees to the ‘Hill’ in Lincoln.”
 
You can write to us at boston.eye@googlemail.com  Your e-mails will be treated in confidence and published anonymously if requested.
Our former blog is archived at: http://bostoneyelincolnshire.blogspot.com


Monday, 30 July 2012


 In another breathtaking piece of disregard for public opinion, Boston Assembly Rooms have been sold – with councillors being denied the chance to debate the issue.
The decision was taken in secret at last week’s Cabinet meeting – and we hear that the Mayor has agreed that it should be exempt from the Call In procedure.
This means that the decision cannot be referred to the council for discussion, and cannot therefore be reversed.
As you know, the Cabinet comprises a less-than-magnificent seven members – some of whom seriously believe that they capable of taking decisions such as these without any recourse to openness and wider discussion.
We hear that despite what looked like a full agenda - with five major items for discussion – including the member learning and development strategy, the council’s improvement plan, and discussion on the town’s designated public place order – the cabinet stormed through the business, then ejected the public and press and clinched the Assembly Rooms deal just half an hour or so after the meeting opened at 10am.
The role of the Mayor in the decision is causing much concern in some areas.
The Mayor is theoretically above party politics during his year of office – which has prompted speculation as to what choice he was given in granting this exemption from challenge and debate.
Apparently, the description of the way in which the building might be used suggests a slightly more up market development that a mere conversion to a night club.
But  a rose by any other name would smell as much, and it still seems the most likely use – especially as the last time the building was considered for disposal, use as night club was ruled out ... with the result that no interest was shown. 
That said, the building has been a function room for almost two centuries – i.e. a place where people eat, drink and be merry.
What does concern us, though, is that if the building is to be used as a night club, it extends the boundary for premises of this kind from behind the public frontage to the heart of the town – which unless properly controlled and managed, may not be a good thing.
But then what do we know, compared with the Cabinet, which doesn’t even think that their other colleagues on the council should be allowed a vote.
Ironically, the Mayor is reported to have commented that he wouldn’t vote in favour of this deal if he had a vote. 
It seems to have escaped his notice that apart from the political brigands in the cabinet, no-one will be given a vote on the matter.
Although the issue of whether it is appropriate for a night club to be allowed in the heart of the town, we expect that another issue will be the one that will make the headlines.
There is a rumour that if the sale goes through, the public conveniences – which form part of the building - may not stay open.
Cue howls of protest and letters galore to the editors of the town’s local newspapers - as there is nothing Bostonians seem to hate more than a disruption to their bodily functions.
The great sadness in all of this is that the Assembly Rooms might have remained in public ownership had successive councils been more prudent, and allocated reasonable sums towards maintenance and upkeep on an annual basis.
Instead, they have let the Assembly Rooms decay until they now require an unaffordable amount to decorate and restore to an acceptable internal standard.
Imagine the uproar if similar neglect had threatened monuments in places more important than Boston.
The fact is that  - not for the first time - Boston Borough Council has connived in the denigration of its heritage whilst remaining  ignorant of the cost.
The Assembly Rooms were on the market for £445,000.
Next on the agenda is the disposal of the Haven Gallery – which cost a couple of million or so to build, and has been a white elephant since its inception.
Which reminds us -  we are still pumping money into the Princess Royal Sports Arena.
And if you think we are treating the Cabinet harshly, then stick around.
We have some interesting insights for you over the coming days which will show the level of contempt the members  have for us - the public - and the high regard in which some of them hold themselves.
  
You can write to us at boston.eye@googlemail.com  Your e-mails will be treated in confidence and published anonymously if requested.
Our former blog is archived at: http://bostoneyelincolnshire.blogspot.com




Friday, 27 July 2012


A sorry sign of the times is reflected in a letter to Boston Eye from Mike Borrill – who is well remembered as a campaigner for a by-pass for Boston. “A few days ago we visited Nuneaton and … after enjoying some refreshments at the museum’s cafe and browsing the tourist information, we walked through the park to get to our next destination. The park gardens were an abundance of colourful displays with plenty of pathways radiating in all ways with ample seats for the weary to rest and enjoy the setting. There were no intimidating groups of men drinking from cans and bottles, and it was evident that families were enjoying themselves in a friendly atmosphere.
We walked back through the park and into the town centre (pictured left) which was mainly pedestrianised. What a joy to walk through the streets without having to dodge or look out for cars or buses. The town had it right. Create a safe environment for shoppers and pedestrians and visitors will come back time and again. There did not appear to be many empty shops. It does dismay me now to read in the local papers that drinking away from the town centre is not a problem.  Why is it that seats are removed to stop drinking at certain places if there is no problem? These seats were a boon to the elderly who needed a rest on their weary travels and the root of the problem should be tackled rather than the majority having to suffer for a minority who are bringing the town into disrepute. The officials of this town need to “grasp the nettle.” The town has a wonderful history and we should now try to stop the rot before the damage gets beyond repair. If the town was a school it would have had inspectors brought in before now to put it back onto the correct path. It is only when you visit other places that the sad decline of the town is brought home to you.”
One point that seems to have been missed with the news that Boston is to lose its ambulance station is the location of where the 13 “hubs” that are to replace the old stations. According to East Midlands Ambulance Service, those in Lincolnshire will be sited at Lincoln, Skegness and Sleaford. Although the traffic flow through Boston has eased a little in recent times, it is still hard to imagine how well the town will be served by one hub at Sleaford and another at Skegness … particularly during the summer months. We understand that there will be “tactical deployment points" around the place where ambulances are stationed to improve response times. But the bottom line – once again – is that Boston is being relegated to the lower divisions among the county’s towns.
We note from the most recent spending figures published by Boston Borough Council that the lavishing of taxpayers’ money on the Geoff Moulder Leisure Centre is continuing unabated.  The latest list of spending by the council of sums over £500 in April shows two separate sums of £8,763 and £5,283 on “work” at the pool, and another £2,900 on “uniforms.” – a total of around £17,000. By our reckoning the spend between September last year and the end of March was £241,600, so this latest splurge brings it to £258,000. Not bad for an original plan which envisaged the project costing £195,000 from the reserves, it it?  And has the extra £60,000 come from the reserves as well. Who knows? Perhaps someone will ask.
Other little snippets from the April spending figures include almost £2,500 for the now nearly forgotten and virtually redundant Master Gardener programme. Then there is a £565 levy payment to Boston BID for the Market Place. For what? It’s a vast open space. They’ll be charging for the pavements next. The Mayor’s Civic Dinner set ratepayers back to the tune of almost £1,700; there was £550 for a finger buffet – that’s a lot of fingers -  and £625 for hospitality at the Service to the Community Awards. Finally, there is the handsome sum of £6,628 for a music machine at Boston Crematorium paid to the Yaboo Company Limited – that’s almost £127 a week.  Yaboo is the mother company of Wesley Music, and provides “a unique library of recordings specifically for use in crematoria.” We wonder how great the need for this is at such a relatively high cost.
Whilst the Boston BID website still believes it has “as good a chance as any in being successful” in the first round of applications to be a Portas Pilot town, the results of the second round have just been announced. Apparently Boston did not bother to rejig it’s application for resubmission after its lamentable first effort was rightly ignored, so it is no surprise that it has been left out of the 15 new towns awarded pilot status. Now, Local Government Minister Grant Shapps has urged MPs from the 392 Town Teams not chosen, to come forward and sign a national pledge to become a Town Team Partner - enabling access to a package of support worth £5.5million nationwide. Let’s hope that Boston will get around to it sometime soon.
A reader tells us that he got to thinking about all the fuss that was made about a new chewing gum removal machine that was bought a while ago. “I remember it being in the papers and seeing it around town an odd time or two -  but that was ages ago. I wonder what happened to it. I also understand that the machine that preceded it - which if I remember correctly froze the gum - sits unloved in a corner of the municipal yard on Fen Road.”
But on a brighter note, he adds: “It is interesting to see the hard work that has been done by those on Community Payback clearing the areas in the back of the cinema car park and on the side of Johns Adams Way, opposite the old Five Lamps near St Johns Ambulance.  It is looking really tidy, and they have cleared away all those nasty blue cider bottles.”
We note plans by Boston’s joint deputy leader, Councillor Raymond Singleton-McGuire,  to turn the former HSBC bank building 
(left) into a cafĂ© or restaurant - possibly in time for Christmas. The building has been advertised for rent at £27,500 a year for some while. Councillor Singleton McGuire is quoted as saying that he regards it as “very prestigious” and “almost a landmark.”  We’re not so sure about that, given the building’s proximity to Boston’s pawn shop and Boston’s porn shop. Initially, we wondered why he didn’t consider it as a replacement venue for the wedding business he planned to run from his home –  it looks a bit like a wedding cake after all - but that might be a good reason!
We’re somewhat baffled by the latest big idea on the Boston Borough Council’s website, which appeared on Wednesday. “The new self service functionality is available.” It witters. “Simply click on the link below "View your Council Tax, Benefits and Business Rates account online" and follow the onscreen instructions.” Just one problem, though – there is no link.
We were surprised to note the appearance of the Olympic logo on a letterhead e-mailed by Boston Borough Council. We wonder whether it is on electronic postings only, or whether a batch of paperwork has been overprinted especially for the occasion. If so, we hope that the council has heeded its own copyright warnings issued to others who considered using the logo as the torch procession traversed Boston recently.  


We are sure that they did, but wonder whether this has involved some sort of royalty payment to the Olympic obermeisters, who seem to have their hands out for money at every turn. What does elude us completely though, is why on earth the logo needs to be on the borough’s letterheads at all.
The uproar over the cancellation of the Boston Beat concert in Central Park prompted a complaint to Boston Borough Council concerning the conduct of officers. It has now been resolved in what could be record time – having been made on 2nd July, and done and dusted by the 25th. It’s a wordy response, but it appears that although people didn’t know things that they should have done, it didn’t really matter. So that’s all right  then.  We’ll have more to say about the Boston Beat debacle next week. Among the unclear issues are whether it has been cancelled or postponed - and we’ll be asking how a council cabinet member who is also a member of the board of Boston BID – to which the council pays a handsome levy, and is therefore a member organisation – can brashly reject a perfectly relevant question to him at a council meeting with the words: “Since BID is a Private Company Limited by Shares and quite independent of this Council, any such matter is entirely one for the BID Board and its Directors surely?”  If he had a cat, we are sure that he would name it Pom. Pom puss! Get it?
Yesterday, we wrote about transparency and its fitfulness where Boston Borough Council is concerned. One of the things we were promised by the new regime was more openness regarding council agenda documents – and indeed it has seemed to be the case that the notorious “pink papers” have been conspicuous by their absence recently. On an agenda formerly, a dividing line appeared between public items and the secret ones - with the explanation that the latter would require expulsion of the public and the press from the meeting. However, we now realise that at least one item was dealt with in secret session last week without any clue being given on the agenda. How many other things are being sneaked through in this way, we wonder?  Read Boston Eye on Monday to learn more …


You can write to us at boston.eye@googlemail.com  Your e-mails will be treated in confidence and published anonymously if requested.

Our former blog is archived at: http://bostoneyelincolnshire.blogspot.com


Thursday, 26 July 2012

It would appear that a momentous day in the search for greater transparency at Boston Borough Council has come and gone without anything apparently being done.
More than three months ago, Boston Labour Party proclaimed on its website: “Transparency arrives in Boston at last!”
It expressed delight that we were moving closer to a time when the people of Boston would be able to see their councillors’ register of interest on the Boston Borough Council website – rather than only  being accessible for inspection between  Monday and Friday by personal visit to the Municipal Buildings and asking to see them.
Repeated questions led to a definitive answer at a council meeting on March 1st, when leader Peter Bedford declared: “The current legislation requires the Register of Interests to be available for public inspection, which is the procedure followed by this council and many others. 
“However, with the impending changes to the Standards regime, all interests will have to be published on the Council’s website, including parish councillors, from 1st July 2012.”
The response was to say: “Boston Labour Councillors are delighted that you will have the opportunity to see this information online, but it is sad that they knew the Localism Act included this legislation but they couldn’t admit it. So we have now got attendance at meetings; recorded declaration of interest at meetings; and soon member’s registers of interest all available on the Boston Borough Council website – not bad progress from the Labour Group in ten months, but there are still many authorities that have got more information about their members on their websites than we currently have at West Street.”
We spent some time yesterday scanning the pages of Boston Borough Council’s website to try to find this new information – but it has eluded our efforts.
We can only conclude that the information – which we understand is a legal requirement – has either not been put on the website, or is so well hidden as to be  unfindable.
We were prompted to do this since Labour has now moved on to another line of attack in its fight for transparency.
In its Wednesday blog  - which appears simultaneously as a letter in the Boston Standard more often than not – there is a hard to follow extension of the argument for greater transparency.
We would have hoped that July 1st would have been a date marked in Labour’s diary and action been taken when the promised information did not appear or was not made easily accessible.
We are sorry to say that Boston’s Labour group is beginning to disappoint.
Three councillors - all named Paul - who always refer to themselves “Boston Labour Councillors,”  seem  increasingly to resemble Cerberus,  the three-headed  hound of  Greek mythology.
Certainly, a lot of barking occurs - remember the outrage over the way the borough Chief Executive was paid which has now petered out and disappeared - but when it comes to biting, the teeth are kept in a jar by the door.


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


Wednesday, 25 July 2012


It seems that the more important council meetings are the same as buses – you wait for one for ages and then two come along together.
So it is today, when Boston Borough Council’s Cabinet of Curiosities meets at 10 o’clock this morning, and the full council at 6-30 tonight.
Interestingly, the cabinet meeting confirms what we were saying yesterday, in that two of its agenda items spend some time discussing the need for a learning and development strategy for councillors.
Some may not need it, whilst others will benefit – and by association so will the voters – but we can think of a bunch of intractable members … most of them Tories … on whom all such efforts will be wasted.
Tonight’s council meeting sounds as if it will be a busy affair.
A bit like Banquo, whose ghostly appearances in Shakespeare’s Macbeth come at the most disconcerting moments, there are a couple of issues that simply won’t go away – parking charges for the disabled, and Boston Business “Improvement” District.
Boston Disability Forum will again be holding a silent protest outside the Worst Street council offices between 5.45 and 6.15pm.
The idea is to remind us that the meeting which approved the charges also denied the public the right to speak.
The Forum has also given advance notice of two letters which it would like to have read out at the meeting – which again was not allowed at the meeting where the vote was taken.
One of these quotes a senior physiotherapist in the Stroke Unit at Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital, who criticises the 30-minutes of extra “free” parking for blue badge holders – a time plucked  out of the air at random by some councillor or another - to allow extra time for the disabled to hobble around their shopping duties in the town.
“In my view and opinion,” says Simba Shahwe, “with an extensive experience of working with people with disabilities, I do not honestly think an extra 30 minutes for parking is sufficient time for most blue badge holders to have an equal opportunity to shop.”
Presumably, the council will be generous in victory, and at last allow the hoi polloi a chance to have their say – now that there is nothing for them to lose.
The ongoing debate on Boston BID continues with a question to town centre portfolio holder Councillor Derek Richmond – who is also a director of the BID.
It comes from Darron Abbott, who was a fellow director until he resigned in protest at the way the council and the BID handled the Boston Beat concert in Central Park before it was recently cancelled – entirely because of bad weather.
Mr Abbott  claims that the BID manager had organised the Boston Beat event but had apparently neglected to tell the public, or the levy payers – “but worst of all he failed to tell his Directors or get their authorisation to pay the event management company £10,000.
“The first the Directors knew of the event was at the Directors meeting on the on the 26th June.”
Mr Abbott asks Councillor Richmond: “As a Director of Boston BID representing Boston Borough Council, would he let me know what his and the Council’s position is on the behaviour of the BID manager? Do he and the Council condone the apparent misconduct or does he feel it is a lack of management of its staff member by the Chairman and its Directors?”
It will be interesting to see what sort of reception the council will give Boston Disability Forum this time around.
And it will be interesting to hear what Councillor Richmond has to say – given his hands-on role in Boston BID.
We say well done to Boston Disability Forum and Darron Abbott to refuse to be cowed by the bullies in blue – and we hope that no-one gives up chasing the council on issues such as these.





You can write to us at boston.eye@googlemail.com  Your e-mails will be treated in confidence and published anonymously if requested.

Our former blog is archived at: http://bostoneyelincolnshire.blogspot.com


Tuesday, 24 July 2012



There are still a few days left to submit comments to the Local Government Boundary Commission, which is proposing changes to the shape of the electoral wards in the borough - and also reducing the number of councillors from 32 to 30.
The commission’s review aims to deliver improved electoral equality for local voters – to give you better “value” for your vote.
Whilst the commission has agreed with Boston Borough Council about the loss of two wards, the organisations differ when it comes to names.
The council proposed the following: Trinity, College, Haven, Station, North West, Staniland, Western, St. Thomas’ and Witham.
As we said at the time, this would mean the loss of two names with historic associations with Boston – Skirbeck and Pilgrim.
We pointed out that Skirbeck as a village settlement is older than Boston, and was so resilient that it had its own parish council until it was absorbed into Boston amid great protests in 1931.
Skirbeck is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. Boston is not.
St Nicholas Church in Skirbeck dates from the 12th century, and is the oldest church in Boston – older even than Boston Stump. St Nicholas – appropriately for a coastal town and port –   is the patron saint of sailors.
Given its history, we thought that to abandon the name was unconscionable.
As far as the name Pilgrim is concerned - despite the fact that the Pilgrim Fathers were not detained in the town’s Guildhall – the word is used everywhere in the town … Pilgrim Hospital, Pilgrim College, The Pilgrims (Boston United) and by numerous businesses.
If the Boundary Commission report has its way, at least one of those names will be preserved - as it is proposing ward names of Trinity, Witham, North West, Western, Staniland, Station,  Haven and Skirbeck, Eastern and St Thomas’.
The saving of the Skirbeck name will be widely welcomed – and also reflects common sense.
The Commission report says that the boundary proposed by the council split the community of Skirbeck in two, whereas its arrangement keeps communities together and retains internal access routes.
All the various submissions can be viewed on the Boundary Commission website at www.lgbce.org.uk and your feedback is welcome.
One point that has been made previously is that re-arranging the boundaries and reducing the number of councillors does nothing to address the quality of representation.
We are sure that there are a number of councillors – especially among the ruling Tory group – who hold the title in name only. These are the ones who will welcome the inclusion of current ward maps amongst the discussion papers on the proposed boundary changes.
Why?
Because at least they can check to see where their wards are in the event of being asked in a pub quiz!
Recent contentious debates in the council chamber have underlined just how dim a few councillors are, as we have heard their spouting of stupid arguments which are then recycled over and over again by others not even bright enough to come up with their own arguments.
You only need to read some of their offerings or hear them speak to realise that some of these people should not be in office – though we’ll be paying them to do nothing except what their masters tell them for the next three years.
Perhaps when you comment to the Boundary Commission, you might like to make the point that two fewer councillors is unlikely to raise the collective IQ by any significant amount.





You can write to us at boston.eye@googlemail.com  Your e-mails will be treated in confidence and published anonymously if requested.

Our former blog is archived at: http://bostoneyelincolnshire.blogspot.com


Monday, 23 July 2012


My son asked for a cowboy outfit for his birthday - so I bought him Boston BID ...
Back in Boston after our return from a world where market towns are still proud of the fact and valued because of it, a Saturday stroll reminded us that the delightful day had been scheduled to host Boston Beat free concert in the town’s Central Park.
Then we remembered that as we departed, the breaking news was that the event had been cancelled.
Boston BID - with its customary flair - had declared on Friday 13th July that the Boston Beat event scheduled for Saturday 21st would not go ahead.
The BID chairman told visitors to the company’s website: “The recent inclement weather has had a devastating effect on public events culminating in cancellations all over the country and we must emphasise that public safety is paramount and the event has been cancelled for this reason and this reason only.”
Needless to say, the announcement preceded a week of pretty decent weather, leaving ideal conditions for Saturday’s event  - had it not been cancelled.
The emphasis on the “sole reason” for calling it off is especially interesting, given that the BID is embroiled in a row concerning arrangements.
Boston Borough Council has been accused of misconduct after claims that BID failed to give the required 28 day notice of the event to the council. 
Boston Town FC Chairman Mick Vines claimed that the council had “bent the rules” for the concert to go ahead.
A concert that he had planned was forcibly cancelled when permission was refused - with the lateness of notice among the reasons cited -  which led Mr Vines  to threaten legal action if the BID event went ahead.
How fortuitous, then, that the weather should be the sole culprit.
Everyone also appears to have overlooked the fact that two days after the “pitch inspection” led to the cancellation of BID’s concert, another event, with bands and stalls, went ahead in the park apparently without a hitch.
Among other criticisms surrounding Boston Beat was the lack of publicity – but this was a cleverly countered by the BID manager Niall Armstrong – who claimed that his strategy had been to market the event outside of the town to draw people in.
Once cancelled, the concert was always going to be a winner - as the manager announced that it had been planned to attract between 5,000 and 15,000 visitors.
Phew!  We haven't seen such an influx of so many people since ...
All of this was designed to bring business to the town.  But - as we have said before-  a self contained event in Central Park with its own bar and food tents seemed unlikely to bring much benefit to the rest of the town.
It would take an awful lot of  visitor spending to recoup the £10,000 that the concert has been reported as costing.
Then there is the issue of information.
Many BID members – including the directors – claimed they were completely unaware of it.
Before the planned concert, an emotional and acrimonious and lachrymose meeting had seen the manager resign after a call to review of his role because of issues with the Boston Beat event – although he was subsequently persuaded to change his mind.
Looking back now that the dust has settled, we feel that all that was being done at that meeting was to reprise the efforts of the failed Task and Finish group set up by Boston Borough Council to examine many of the BID’s failings.
It held six meetings between October 2010 and February 2011, and reported in March – seventeen months ago.
It made five key recommendations – most of which were to be implemented within six months -  and followed by a progress report to  the committee in spring 2012, to let members monitor the recommendations.
Whether or not we missed something, but nothing appears to have changed – as a visit to the BID website demonstrates.
"Extracts” - i.e. a sanitised version of BID board meetings were promised, but the most recent to be published took place in January - whilst the last newsletter was issued three months ago.
It would appear that there is still a huge communications gulf between the BID manager and the members – and apparently the board members as well.
One point to emerge from the recent debate is what seems to be a series of unilateral spending decisions – in the case of the Boston Beat concert involving around 10 per-cent of BID’s annual income from levies.
We wonder in how many other organisations does the manager have such spending latitude.
Finally, has this concert been postponed or cancelled?
Both words have been used, but as the event has already fallen by the wayside twice now, it might be a good time for the members to be allowed to say whether they really want so much of their levy payments spent on a concert.
A year ago, we published the picture at the top of the page.
And whilst we racked our brains for something new for today’s post, at the end of the day we concluded that the story was the same.
A year on, the patient remains on the critical list – and not responding to treatment.
There are fears that  it is brain dead - but no-one has noticed!


You can write to us at boston.eye@googlemail.com  Your e-mails will be treated in confidence and published anonymously if requested.

Our former blog is archived at: http://bostoneyelincolnshire.blogspot.com


Tuesday, 17 July 2012


There will be no Boston Eye for the rest of this week, because we are taking a break. We will be back on Monday 23rd July. However, you can still reach us via e-mail with your news and comments, and we look forward to hearing from you.

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

Monday, 16 July 2012


Over the weekend, we have reported claims that the Boston Beat free concert in the town’s Central Park has been cancelled by Boston BID and Boston Borough Council because of “the weather.”
Here, former BID director Darron Abbott gives his view of the weekend’s developments.
“What a shame the event has been cancelled - or has it been postponed again? Just as the publicity machine had kicked in, and posters had just started to appear in shop windows advertising the event on Friday.
“I have to ask whether the event has really been cancelled? Upon checking the BID website on Saturday morning, there was no mention of it being called off. Surely this would have been the first place the BID manager would have posted the announcement -  but then as Boston Eye regularly points out, Boston still has a chance with the Portas Pilot.
“Let’s just hope it does not take as long to get the word out to take the posters down as it did to let people know that the event was taking place.
“The weather has been blamed for the cancellation. Yes, it has been wet and the weather forecasts predict more rain, but I can remember the last party in the Party in the Park where it was equally wet, when the stage and toilets were removed from the park, large ruts were left by the vehicles but the event had still gone on. The May Fair has also used the park and left it in a real mess but been allowed back next year.
"I have been to open air concerts, and falling rain seems to add something to the atmosphere and Great British Spirit.
"Perhaps it is not just the fact that precipitation may fall on the day that may be a problem. Are there fears over the insurance cover? There is some concern regarding the applications for licences. If the event went ahead and it turns out the application deadlines had not been met, therefore correct consideration could not be given to health and safety issues - who would be liable for any accidents? "Perhaps the Council and BID could clarify this?
“Then comes the question of money. The BID manager has paid a company from Grantham £10,000 to stage the event. This payment does not appear to have been authorised by the Board of Directors. "At the members meeting on the 10th July there seemed a considerable amount of vagueness surrounding the contents of the contract.
“I am sure the nine performers will want some kind of payment for the cancellation. From the contracts I have seen for my entertainer clients they get a percentage of the fee which gets larger the closer to the event the cancellation takes place. I can only assume the stage has been booked, the PA system hired, and portaloos arranged. Many of these items will have had to have had a deposit paid upon them - mostly non refundable. Will these losses be covered by event cancellation insurance (of course the ever diligent BID will have put this in place) if not, who will suffer these losses? Will it be Infodex Events or Boston BID?
“I know for a fact that BID will be out of pocket for the promotion of the event, because it appears that Infodex were not responsible for this. It may only be a few hundred pounds, but this is money coming out of the levy payers’ pockets - not the managers, the directors or Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce who run BID funds.
“I do hope the powers at Boston BID come out with answers very quickly and let their members know what has really gone on, but from my past experiences I will not be holding my breath (as much as the Manager and the Directors wished I would.)     

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


Sunday, 15 July 2012


Boston Beat "cancelled"
claim is repeated

Whilst there is still no official announcement concerning cancellation of  the Boston Beat Concert scheduled for Central Park this coming Saturday because of “the weather” – one of the bands that was booked is repeating the claim on its Facebook page.
At around 7am today Audio Tap posted the message “Just a reminder that the Boston Beat festival on the 21st has been cancelled by Boston Borough Council, and the BID. Enough said!”
Since yesterday’s blog we hear that some sort of “pitch inspection” was carried out in the park on Friday - which involved Boston Borough Council.
Ironically, although this presumably informed a decision to cancel next week's event, later today Central Park will host Churches Together in Boston's annual afternoon picnic/party in the park at 3-30pm and event which includes live music. And guess what - there appear to be no concerns about "weather/pitch conditions" whatsoever - or should that be "whatsoweather?"
Tomorrow, we publish comments by former BID board member Darron Abbott, who was the first – and only person – to raise concerns about the way the organisation and booking of the event have been handled.
Then we’re taking the break that we mentioned in Friday’s blog – although you can still reach us via e-mail.

You can write to us at boston.eye@googlemail.com  Your e-mails will be treated in confidence and published anonymously if requested.

Our former blog is archived at: http://bostoneyelincolnshire.blogspot.com


Saturday, 14 July 2012

  
The controversial Boston Beat concert in Boston’s Central Park a week today has been cancelled, according to an announcement by one of the bands booked to perform.
Local rockers Audio Tap posted the news on their Facebook page, saying: “We are sorry to say that Boston Beat on the 21st has been called off  by Boston BID and Boston borough council, re the weather - that’s the second year.”
Just a few days earlier the band had told followers: “Just sorted our set list for the 21st in the park , from some classic rock , to some old favs , plus our own songs we are in the mix !!!! LETS ROCK THE PARK.”
Now they have added: “”We’ve been getting a new set together for that night over the last few weeks -  all for nothing, once again.”
It’s the second time that the £10,000 “free” concert – funded by levy-paying members of Boston Business Improvement District – has been cancelled.
The event scheduled for September last year was called off by Boston Borough Council because the market was operating outside the park gates, and there were fears over crowd problems.
This time, “the weather” is apparently cited as the reason – and although the forecast for the week ahead is not good -  there is bound to be speculation that other reasons are involved.
Earlier this week, local newspapers reported that Boston Borough Council had been accused of misconduct over its handling of the concert.
It was claimed that the organisers failed to give the 28 days notice required but that council officers were willing to overlook this so the concert could go ahead.
This prompted Boston Town FC chairman Mick Vines to threaten legal action against the council after the lost £19,000 when a planned concert at the club’s Tattershall Road ground had to be cancelled after rules applied to his event were said not to have been applied to the Boston BID event.
Nine performers were booked for Boston Beat, plus a food marquee and a beer tent.
If the event has been cancelled, there will surely be a question of cost – particularly as this is the second time in less than a year  - and with just a week to go, it would appear unlikely that Boston BID will receive a full refund of the outlay.



You can write to us at boston.eye@googlemail.com  Your e-mails will be treated in confidence and published anonymously if requested.

Our former blog is archived at: http://bostoneyelincolnshire.blogspot.com


Friday, 13 July 2012


It was ironic to read a letter to the editor of the Boston Target from borough councillor Mike Gilbert trotting out the pathetic line that charging disabled blue badge holders to park was a symbol of the borough council’s dedication to treating us all fairly – rather than a clumsy and thoughtless mechanism to boost the council’s faltering finances by tens of thousands of pounds. The letter concluded: “…blue badge holders can feel confident they are paying their way like everyone else. Equality indeed. The irony? Only one inequality now remains in Boston as far as parking charges are concerned. It is that staff and councillors at Boston Borough Council are still allowed to park free – at a “cost” of more than £100,000 to taxpayers. The reason? They have “taken a hit” in terms of pay freezes, and have seen redundancies at Worst Street.  Unlike the rest of us, of course.  Perhaps Councillor Gilbert would like to tell our readers how he justifies the inequality that he is permitted to enjoy. We quote Orwell again. “All animals are equal – but some animals are more equal than others.”
It’s now possible to put some numbers on this perk. Two hundred and seventy one free parking passes have been issued, which if paid for would cost £320 a year each. The permits are allocated to staff and other council organisations.  How a council that is so hard up can cynically cling on to rewarding itself in this way beggars belief. Interestingly, Lincolnshire County Council staff working out of the West Street offices pay for their parking – which shows that someone at County Hall has a conscience ... even though one is apparently lacking at a local level.
Even though he cleverly conceals his talents, we are sure that Boston’s town centre majordomo Councillor Derek Richmond would not number photography among them. Although his picture  of the Five Lamps replica (right) was the first to appear – on the borough council’s website – it lacked focus and composition … including as it did a road sign and a pile of interlocking barriers and cones in the shot. Having said that, the picture was taken in difficult conditions on the rainy morning that the replica was erected. But what was really disappointing was  to see the selfsame photo reproduced in this week’s Boston Standard. The distance between the Standard offices in Church Lane and the Five Lamps cannot be more than a few yards – and yet the hacks were too idle to leave their offices for five minutes to take a quality picture of this excellent addition to the Market Place.
When we praised the replica earlier in the week, we had no idea of what it might have cost.  Since then, we have checked some prices and seen that a close equivalent is a replica cast iron column and lantern in The Mall, at Clifton, Bristol – which cost £48,000 … but if the picture we found of it was correct, it was much smaller. Nonetheless the Five Lamps replica is excellent. All that needs to happen now is for it to be placed as a focal point in the Market Place, and not dumped as an afterthought in the middle of a bus stop. And one other thing that struck one of our readers was the news that the lamps will be officially switched on by Boston’s Mayor, Councillor Colin Brotherton at 1-30pm tomorrow. Quite sensibly, our reader raised the point that this is a strange time to turn on a set of lights – if it’s a sunny day, then no-one will see them.
Talking of the Market Place, we mentioned last week about the random parking and driving that makes it a worse place than before for pedestrians. Last week we said that more needed to be done to alert drivers to the need to park in designated bays only – and to advise people who ignored the rules.  Whilst we didn’t expect anyone to heed our suggestion, we did not expect the reverse of it to be the case. Earlier this week, as once again we took our life in our hands to cross the Market Place, we observed that all but one of these advisory signs were piled up – one in front of the other – and leaned against the wall surrounding the Ingram Memorial … giving motorists the perfect get-out for saying “we didn’t know we couldn’t park.”
We note from the Boston Borough Council website that a display of paintings to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee has gone up in the “Atrium Art Gallery”  - ie  the Worst Street foyer. They came from an event staged by the South Lincolnshire Community Volunteer Service, which included inviting people to chalk on the pavements outside the Len Medlock Centre. It co-incided with an event to celebrate volunteering -  for which the SLCVS had already received a grant of £5,000. On top of that the group asked the  Boston Town Area Committee for a further £1,000 to fund the "art" event. What puzzles us is the council claim that the paintings “can now be seen for free” in the Atrium – when in fact they have cost Boston taxpayers a small fortune.
At least six of the nine bands lined up to play at Boston Business Improvement District’s free concert on Central Park on 21st July are local – and whilst this is no bad thing, we have to say that it makes it harder to understand why the event is costing  local businesses £10,000. Perhaps it is just as well that the event is free, because the lack of publicity with eight days to go seems unlikely to pack the punters in.  Still, this is Boston BID, don’t forget – where they continue to believe that their application to be a Portas Pilot “has as good a chance as any in being successful” – even though the results were announced a month ago – as which we have pointed out every week since - without them amending their website. Mind you, it’s not only the BID that is  backward in coming forward. It’s now more than a week since we asked the organisers for more details of the event so that we could publicise it. Guess what? We have not received a reply! We’re torn between christening the event Sadstonbury or Deaf Aid!
click to enlarge picture
We mentioned the other week that we had heard of some discreet lobbying to try to generate a “no” vote on the proposed protest march in Boston to draw attention to the high level of immigration. But we hadn’t reckoned that Boston Borough Council was so prescient. As our picture on the right shows, it apparently reported the result on 29th June - three days before the meeting took place.
The other day, we heard - amidst great fanfare - of the hanging of bunting along Wormgate as part of a campaign to "revitalise" the historic shopping street. The idea was that the red, white and blue bunting, and flags of nations would stay up to mark the London Olympics and then a street party in early September as Wormgate was closed to traffic. Now we hear that the bunting will be taken down again later today. Something to do with health and safety, and Boston Borough Council declaring that it has not been strung high enough!
Yet again we  are disappointed to read that  the authorities are taking the easy option to deal with anti-social behaviour.  It is reported that a number of public benches have been removed by the Boston Town Area Committee “to try to stop anti-social behaviour and help the town’s Britain in Bloom effort.”  The benches are at the Carlton Road/Sleaford Road junction, Frampton Place, Haven Bank, Fishtoft Road, High Street, Witham Country Park and Windsor Bank, and will vanish for a three month trial.  BTAC will also help fund the removal of shrubs that “hide litter and anti-social behaviour hotspots.” Boston’s police chief calls the trial “very sensible” but then he would, wouldn’t he, because it saves the police some work. Certainly, the decision apparently did nothing to help Boston’s Britain in Bloom effort, as we hear that the judges were distinctly underwhelmed when they came to assess our offering last week. Aside from the police response, we are reminded that that Boston Borough Council has a dedicated "team" which is supposed to deal with anti-social behaviour. So what do they do all day?  And why are we letting the baddies win?                                  
Some people might think that is a step too far, but this sign on a farm gate tickled our fancy. The farmer said it was a sign of our multi-lingual times and necessary to prevent local migrant workers from coming to harm if they strayed into the wrong field.
Boston Borough Council is a big fan of printing its notices in as many languages as possible, and given the subject – Beware of the Bull” – we thought that it could make a useful contribution to our local politics if it were hung on the council chamber doors whilst Cabinet meetings were in progress!
There will be no Boston Eye next week, because we are taking a break. We will be back on Monday 23rd July. However you can still reach us via e-mail with your news and comments, and we look forward to hearing from you.

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


Thursday, 12 July 2012



A worrying insight into the workings of Boston Business “Improvement” District has emerged after last Tuesday’s meeting descended into chaos.
Our report comes from one of the company’s directors, Darron Abbott – who was elected to the BID board to represent one of the businesses which pays its enforced “levy”
He told Boston Eye: “Tuesday 10th July saw the first attempt by Boston BID to connect to its members in what is hoped to become regular quarterly meetings.
“A very small audience gathered - which probably shows how the apathy for anything BID has developed over the last few years, and perhaps also demonstrated how much BID has achieved in this time.
“The evening started well when it appeared two of the directors sat at the front asked for a copy of the agenda - as it became apparent they had not been sent a copy.
“Then on to the agenda. The chairman seemed to move into an attempt to approve the minutes of the last Annual General Meeting that was held in March.
“One of the business owners present then pointed out that these minutes should be approved at the next AGM - not at a members’ meeting.
“After a few minutes it was decided to move on to the other items on the agenda and forget about this.
“On the agenda were a list of items that BID wanted businesses to know about.
“The first was the extension of the ranger service into the evening to help the pubs, clubs and restaurants.
“At this point one business owner asked why the rangers were always seen in pairs - even when their duties were just to hand out leaflets.
“The spokesman on the board stated it was for their own safety. It was then asked “why now” - when they had patrolled on their own in the past.
“This could not be answered, and a promise was made to bring this information forward to the next meeting in October.
“The chairman then went on to list the achievements of the rangers and mentioned that each month the board are presented with figures on the number of shoplifters etc. that are apprehended.
“It was asked if they were at hand.
“The manager of BID declared he had not brought them to the meeting.
“The discussion then continued about the rangers being used for the night time economy.
“The chairman declared that a survey had been carried out of the pubs and restaurants, but once again no one seemed have bothered to have brought these results to the meeting!
“The next item BID wanted the businesses to know about was Street Deep Clean. This was an idea of BID's to have a company come along, and basically pressure wash the paths and seal them.
“A quote from this company totalled around £23,000.
“When further questions were asked about the areas included and the breakdown of costs, the manager declared he had neglected to bring these details to the meeting.
“But it was apparent that the area to be cleaned in the £23,000 was the newly refurbished Market Place, but the long neglected West Street area had not been covered.
“Next came Britain in Bloom.
“It appears BID had entered Boston's magnificent floral display in the East Midland Section of the competition. From the report from the BID Manager it appeared that the judges were not overwhelmed. He went on to explain this was just the first year of a pilot project and it was hoped it would grow (sorry, no pun intended) in future years, (echoes of the failed Portas Pilot bid seemed to creak around the room.).
“It was pointed out the BID's hanging baskets were quite expensive compared with some that could be purchased elsewhere.
“It was also discovered that Boston Borough Council do their own thing regarding their floral displays - why was there no joined-up effort?
“Finally one business member asked about the missing item from the agenda -  described as "the secret party in the park."
“It was a surprising omission, considering the Boston Beat event is to take place on the 21st July- less than two weeks’ time - and BID had paid a company from Grantham £10,000 to stage the event.
“There seemed some concern in the room that no one had heard of this event. and had seen no publicity it.
“One of the directors then declared that he had not heard about the event either -  before the board meeting in late June.
“It then transpired that none of the other directors had known about it - not even the chairman (now that is a concern.)
“The rogue director then seemed to suggest that the relevant documentation regarding licences had not been filed with the council on time.
“The board and the manager moved to reassure those present that this director that he was wrong.
“A copy of an e-mail was then circulated that suggested the council had not received the relevant notifications on time.
“The director who had raised concerns then seemed to resign from the board over his concerns regarding the event.
“The discussions then continued.
“It appears the terms of the contract with the event company were very vague, and no one seemed sure as to who was responsible for what in particular for the promotion. It appears that the only promotion to date was an advert in the Lincolnshire Show magazine.
“One of the directors mentioned their business had been involved in an event organised by the company in the past and they had lost money due to the poor organisation and lack of promotion.
“The board then seemed to make a decision that they must pull out all the stops to make the event a success and hold an inquest at a later date.
“The Rogue Director (now sitting at the back)  suggested during this review that the manager’s position should also be reviewed.
“The manager at this point declared his resignation and walked out.
“The discussion turned to praising the manager and how hard he worked for BID etc. “The trouble causer then stated he did not suggest that the manager be sacked but his role in the organisation as it appeared he could make unilateral decisions without consulting or informing the board, he also suggested that the whole of the board should look at their roles.
“The meeting then tailed off and another then took place regarding the organisation of the Christmas market - which BID are now responsible for.”

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


Wednesday, 11 July 2012


Boston Disability Forum is keeping up the pressure after Boston Borough Council’s decision to introduce parking charges for blue badge holders and its refusal to delay their implementation at least until there is better accessibility to parking ticket machines.
The Forum  is critical of  the borough’s chief traffic warden Councillor Derek Richmond when he claims that he wants to be fair to all members of the community.
“Why should able-bodied people or the disabled community pay when the councillors get free parking!” says a BDF spokesman.
Hardly fair!
However, the Boston Disability Forum believe that introducing car parking charges for the disabled without even having accessible meters in place is not fair and is shameful of this Conservative council.
“Councillor Richmond forgets to mention that they have decided to hit the most vulnerable members of society and introduce charges to make up for the governments cutbacks.
“He also said about disabled people "it's like asking turkeys to vote for Christmas."
“How disrespectful and shameful.
“The BDF know that 30 minutes is not a long enough concession, and have evidence of this. Forum members will happy to speak about this through council questions at the next full council meeting on 25th July 2012  - where the BDF will be holding another protest.
“Please join us to protest against this discrimination.”
And in an e-mail to Boston Chief Executive Richard Harbord, the forum has asked what is being done about its petition to the council at the infamous meeting where the public were denied the right to speak.
It reads: “I wondered if you would be kind enough to let us know what action will be taken by the council over the 837 signatures of objection against car parking charges being introduced for the disabled?
“Thirty minutes is not a long enough concession, and we have a mass of evidence ready to serve to you from health care professionals.
“We also have evidence of towns with only 10% of the population of Boston who give one hour free for every hour bought - the same as Lincoln.
“We urge the council to U Turn and introduce this concession immediately.
“If members of the public decided to take the council to court for discrimination this would cost the tax payer dearly and is hardly fair.
“Speaking of fair:
“Do you think it is fair that Councillor Richmond said of the disabled "it's like asking turkeys to vote for Christmas"
“Do you think it is fair that Ian Martin sat in a wheelchair and pretended to be disabled to test pay machine accessibility?
“Do you think that Councillor Richmond should be lying to the public by saying "we want to be fair to the community" when the real reason the charges are being brought in is to go towards the council cutbacks.
“And why should we pay to park when he doesn't?!!!
“I look forward to hearing your response.
“After all, 800 signatures kept Bank Street open.
"It should be enough to get an hour free for every hour purchased like all these other towns and cities. Boston is not unique to them after all.”
We are not sure in which context Councillor Richmond used the derisory, impuent and insolent expression concerning turkeys and Christmas.
Could it be that he misunderstood the phrase  – which is taken to mean that turkeys are so stupid that they will sign their own death warrants.
As far as we can see, the only turkeys voting for Christmas in the current scenario are those members of the ruling Conservative cabinet, and their servile  sheeplike backbenchers who when asked to jump, ask “how high?”
Perhaps the Tories think that the electors are amnesic and brutish enough to forget how badly they have been roughed up by the time of the next elections in 2015.
Don’t worry, we will remind them.
Equally, if the public pursuit of fairness requires action in the courts, then so be it -  or else the bullies will be allowed to win.
click to enlarge photo
Meanwhile a new commentator has entered the arena.
Calling himself Boston Bill, he uses YouTube to present a series of quirky, idiosyncratic commentaries on political life in Boston, and you can view his videos by clicking here.
In a preface to the movie concerning the disabled parking controversy, he says: “This video is all about equality in Boston.“Unfortunately, the Conservative Boston Borough Council have decided "Equality" means charging Blue Badge Holders to park their vehicles.
“The same cannot be said about councillors and council employees as they do not pay to park, although they all get much more in allowances and pay than most disabled people.”
 

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


Tuesday, 10 July 2012




Were it not for the cars and the modern street furniture, this photograph could have been taken a hundred years ago – such is the faithfulness of the replica of Boston’s original Five Lamps.
Our congratulations go to Acorn Restorations, of Clevedon, Bristol for such a fine job.
Its website tells us: “The replica will stand at over seven metres (23 feet) tall, will be constructed of cast iron and will weigh in excess of 2½ tonnes. As its name implies, the column holds five off large hexagonal copper lanterns – which will each house 50 watt Son (sodium)  lighting in a pot optic enclosure. Furthermore, the column is designed to be retractable and removable should street festivities require clearance of the area.”
Already, an interesting debate has started among some of our older readers, who claim that the original was much taller.
Looking at the pictures at the foot of the page, we reckon that the replica is about as close to the original height as can be.
Not only that, but bearing in mind that the original lamps were powered by gas, anything too tall would shed little, if any light on the ground below.
Many people will recall  the lamps that replaced the 1850’s  original sometime during the 1920s – and given the modern monstrosity of more recent years, might be why they remember them as being taller.
And in case anyone thinks we are going soft in our old age, we would just add a couple of other points.
Firstly, we note that the Acorn Restorations online announcement which began: “The company is pleased to announce that it has been appointed to design and manufacture a replica of the Five Lamps Lighting Column in Boston, Lincolnshire ….” was posted on May 15th - eight weeks ago today.
Given some of the other prestigious jobs recently carried out by the company, we reckon that they have done the work in exceptionally good time.
What a shame that the order should have been put off for so long.
The replica was always on the cards, and  - had the orxder been placed a few weeks earlier - the lamps would have been in place for the Olympic Torch procession through the Market Place.
And one other thing … which is especially important given the recent Jubilee fountain fiasco, when a Tonka Toy fountain was dumped in Central Park ...
Whilst we doubt that vandals will be able to make even a dent in this splendid replica – it does seem that it has been built with climbing in mind.
Every few feet there are convenient bands and ridges which scream a challenge to a would-be lampaneer.
In the (very) old days, the Five Lamps were climbed as the clock chimed midnight  on New Year’s Eve as part of the light-hearted if slightly alcohol-infused celebration.
We fear the replica could become a target every drunken Friday and Saturday night unless some simple precautions are taken from the outset – especially in these health and safety obsessed times.
And one final point. What a delight that the column is designed to be retractable and removable.
Because it is in the wrong place.
Anyway – enough of that.
It is still a splendid piece of work.


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