Friday, 11 January 2013

For the first time in a long while, Boston Borough Council’s Cabinet came within a whisker of not getting its own way.  Wednesday’s meeting of the Boston Town Area Committee was instructed to take on the cost of running the entire Garfit’s Lane playing field rather than just the play area. The move will add more than £30,000 to the committee’s costs – and relieve the main council budget of a charge which it has paid without a problem for many years. For once, there was some concerted opposition to the idea, with six of the committee members opposing it  – including one Conservative. That left the meeting split 6:6 – leaving the Chairman to give a casting vote. The Chairman, being Cabinet member Councillor Mike Gilbert, surprised no-one by voting for the Cabinet’s instruction.  More on this meeting next week.
The decision to hold some Boston Borough Council committee agenda items in secret has long been criticised – but now we are wondering whether someone has come up with a new cunning plan to keep items more or less under wraps … unless taxpayers actually turn up at Worst Street in person. Of the six agenda items at the previously mentioned BTAC meeting, only two had accompanying documents available to the public via the internet. The others were variously described as “discussions” or “presentations.” They included the conservation area “Partnerships Scheme,” which offers grants for repairs and shop front restoration work –which has received scarcely any applications since it was announced well over a year ago. The look of the conservation area is vital to the prosperity of the town, and the public should be kept up to date on developments.
Talking of which … next Tuesday’s meeting of the Cabinet of Curiosities plans to throw out the public and the press to stop them hearing a report on the Princess Royal Sports Arena by Chief Executive Richard Harbord  – on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information.  Since the taxpayers have never been exempted from the burden of paying millions of pounds to prop up this disastrous white elephant ever since it opened almost ten years ago, it seems a little disingenuous to plead confidentiality every time the issue crops up. We all know that the people who run the PRSA seem incapable of organising a booze-up in a brewery – so what else remains untold? More on this next week
In order, no doubt, to avoid accusations of a facelessness, Boston Borough Council has announced that “new” information boards about policy and decision makers and ward representatives have gone up in the entrance at Boston Borough Council's Worst Street offices – to “tell at a glance who your local councillor is and how to get in touch and put faces to the names and titles of senior officers.” Yet again, it seems a shame to have to go to West Street to find this out, although we believe the information is available on the internet – but none too easy to find. But we do like the the display –  pictured above ... which resembles a collection of exotic foreign stamps. Do our Tory masters plan a Republic of Boston as their next exercise in power grabbing, we wonder?
What is it about Boston and the drinking culture? After the news that the new owner of the town’s Assembly Rooms wants to facilitate pub crawling around the town,  we hear of plans to create 10 one and two-bedroom flats in the Wide Bargate Post Office building. Not only that, but as part of the application, Postman Pratt wants to turn the old delivery office into a cafe and “drinking establishment.” If that wasn’t bad enough, there are no parking spaces planned for the site, “because it is within the town centre” – but a number of cycle stores will be built.  Of course, that will do the trick, as no-one with a car will ever consider buying a flat in the town centre. More drinking, more cars trying to park – when all we really want is to use the Post Office without standing in a queue for 20 minutes at least.
Poetry isn’t something that we normally publish in Boston Eye – unless it’s our own puny attempts at doggerel. However, we’re making an exception this week with the following contribution by T. Coope, and submitted by Shirley Coope.

Build it, give it away
sell it, fill it in,
run it off, knock it down
it's just a down right sin.
With gagging orders, relaxed borders
Theresa tell us why,
will our government youth, let the bad old truth
spoil a good ole' lie.

A two tier strategy Paul Kenny graced our ears

Grot spots and alcohol reduced the town to tears.
Now Councillor Pete has chaired his seat
camera smile and keys,
for our town hall has answered the call
Fish Hill is now on its knees.

Was it three times eleven or the magnificent seven
that left us in the dark,
but what the heck, a right fat old cheque
changed hands from a man called Clark.

Seems everything we've got, has a time slot
we can't even spend a penny,
for all the town’s loos will be yesterday’s news
thanks Bedford , Gleeson and Kenny.
Last year we heard a lot about a fall in the number of stallholders at Boston’s Wednesday and Saturday markets. Such doom-saying was strenuously denied, and countered by claims were made that the markets were so popular that there was a waiting list for places. Despite that, we hear that up to four long-serving stallholders have decided to call it a day as the “new look” location is not producing the business that they once enjoyed. We had hoped for better things once the Market Place had time to settle in. Yet, even though a variety of attractions was promised to make use of the site on non-market days, we still only have the craft market as an alternative.
Something else that crossed our mind regarding the Market Place was to do with traffic. Everyone – apart from Boston Borough Council – acknowledges that the area is now disorganised and dangerous … particularly because of the lack of clarity over rights of way, and the disregard shown by motorists towards pedestrians. Given the speed that some vehicles drive at in the Market Place, we wonder if there are any “official” speed limits in operation.  If there aren’t, then there should be. And if there are limits, they should be enforced.
We hope that the plan for a memorial to 12 Puritan men and women who sailed from Boston to found our daughter city in Massachusetts on 7th September 1630 will prompt a much bigger enterprise. The 13 memorial stones will be put around Boston Stump by Easter as part of a new trail called the Puritan Path. It’s a good foundation on which to build a wider attraction along the lines of the other Boston’s “Freedom Trail” (pictured left) which takes visitors to 16 historical sites in the course of two or three hours and covers two and a half centuries of America's most significant past. A red brick or painted line connects the sites on the trail and serves as a guide. Let’s hope some local entrepreneur picks up on the idea.
Congratulations to the Boston Standard for pioneering the way in Lincolnshire with an app for tablet computers. However, the newspaper has again shot itself in the foot by roughing up people who have taken out a subscription.  Subscriptions were introduced a couple of months, ago using a formula that appeared to save readers more than it actually did.  But not long afterwards the Standard published four discount vouchers that cut the cost of the paper to little more than the subscription price. We regarded this as a funny way to offer what was promoted as a “loyalty” reward for subscribing – and actually received a small refund as a result. The app which appeared three weeks ago has now provided the entire paper free of charge, and back numbers pre-dating the start of the subscription service are also available. This means that subscribers have thrown their money down the drain.  The blub in the paper says “you can try our app for free” which suggests that a charge might be introduced eventually.  Whatever, we shall be e-mailing head office to ask for another refund, and suggest that if you feel similarly mistreated that you do the same.
Meanwhile, the Standard still seems to be devoting more pages to items about itself than it should – especially when what we  really want is more local news, and it has also introduced what someone doubtless thought to be a bright idea that merely contributes to the gradual dumbing-down of the paper. Now, certain photographs are labelled with a circular badge announcing “The Image.” Surely, most of us can work that out without the need for a dummies’ guide to what are pictures and what they aren’t.  Far better to spend more time looking out for basic errors – such  as spelling “umberella” for “umbrella” –   unless the item in question is a natural brown in colour.

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1 comment:

  1. Another week of interesting reports of the mysterious and strange antics from the Worst Street Mob. I have often wondered what makes the brains of previously ordinary people turn to mush when they enter politics?, the snippit below from an article by Peter Oborne seems to answer this.

    "Members of the political class consider themselves exempt from the routine constraints that apply to their fellow citizens. They feel certain that they are making extraordinary sacrifices, and therefore deserve exceptional compensation (this emotion is the psychological trigger that sets off a great deal of low level corruption). Once in government,they are soon part of a parallel reality, in which they live and breath a separate world than the one experienced by voters."
    I think that just about says it all.