Wednesday, 8 August 2012

The fallout from the clandestine decision to sell Boston’s Assembly Rooms is continuing, with a call from an Independent councillor for a rethink on one part of the building included in the sale – the public toilets.
The decision to sell the half-a-million pound public asset was taken in secret by the borough’s less-than-magnificent-seven strong cabinet.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the Mayor, Councillor Colin Brotherton – acting “impartially” as we all know that mayors do during their term of office – excluded the decision from the procedure known as “calling in” - which would have given the entire council the opportunity to have a say in the matter.
The building and the toilets are in Witham Ward – which is represented by Councillor Carol Taylor.
She says: “The sale of the Assembly Rooms is almost a done deal - but included in this sale are the public toilets.
“This decision was taken out of our hands as councillors and out of the hands of the people of Boston by the cabinet (all Conservatives) which was decided on Wednesday 25th July at their morning meeting.
“That evening there was a full council meeting but the subject was prohibited from being discussed by the remaining councillors,  and we were also prohibited by the Mayor (Conservative) from activating the call in procedure  - a bit like a gagging order.
“Had we been allowed to introduce this, the reason would have been "inadequate consultation prior to the decision being made."
“As one of the councillors for Witham Ward which incorporates the toilets, I was not aware of the need for an emergency decision.
”The sale of the Assembly Rooms is sadly inevitable due to its now dilapidated state which would cost a few hundred thousand pounds to fix.
“We must not forget, however, that had previous councils put money into it every year for maintenance and ongoing improvements, we might not now perhaps be selling it.
“The inclusive sale of the toilets -  according to the Cabinet  - can go ahead as it stands,  or the council can renovate them - the cost, of course, coming from the public purse. 
“If we are to embrace the concept of a Mediterranean ambiance by being able to sit out in the evening in outdoor cafes and restaurants, then the update of the public toilets should be considered. 
“If this is done to a much higher specification, perhaps a charge of 20 pence could be implemented as in Skegness - and this income would help eventually towards the cost.
“It was decided that the decision needed to be made as a matter of urgency and that if the toilets are sold there are sufficient other amenities around the town including the bus station, which incidentally next year will be difficult to get to due to the closure of the River Haven footbridge for the much needed new one to be put in.
“If it is a matter of urgency, let us hope that we don't as a matter of urgency need to pee -  because if we do then we need to go to a cafe or restaurant, buy some food then we can use their facilities.
“If, however, the good people of Boston want to keep or close the public toilets, they must speak up and show the council that it is their decision.
“If they don't, then the toilets will indeed close and it will be futile to object afterwards.

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