Thursday, 28 February 2013



 
Boston Borough Council may be going from one extreme to the other by discussing the idea of a Youth Council for the borough and a “Young Mayor” for Boston.
The idea is up for discussion at tonight’s meeting of the Corporate and Community Committee.
Preliminary talks saw ten young people attend a meeting and out of all the schools in the borough, Boston College, Boston High School, and Kirton Middlecott showed an interest.
Young Mayor and Youth Council schemes operate successfully in a number of local council areas.
A report tells tonight’s meeting: “They are designed to encourage positive participation in both civic and democratic life and to offer a platform of opportunity for young people’s issues to be raised and considered by decision makers.”
And it seems that locally, groups young and old share the same concerns.
“It was quite clear from what the young people were saying that they have many of the same issues as adults and are keen to promote Boston in a positive way.
“They care about where they live and want to help improve Boston for young people, they want to see it modernised, regenerated and cleaned up.
“They do not feel safe walking through town unless they are in groups which can often lead to misconceptions from others as to their intentions and they are then ultimately seen in a negative light.
“They want to be a part of something which is meaningful and are keen to learn, grow and develop and with our support and commitment we can work together to help them to achieve their aims”
Whilst it all looks good on paper, there are a number of ironies in all of this.
First and foremost, had successive “grown up” councils done their jobs properly, then many of the problems that the younger generation so sorely want addressing might not exist.
Another problem is one of enthusiasm.
The ten youngsters who attended the exploratory meeting were from the local three schools which have expressed a broader interest and a fourth school in Horncastle – which is not quite what one might term an overwhelming response.
Then there is the issue of what sort of council-in-waiting is created.
There is neither funding nor specific staffing to resource such a project.
Yet in these hard pressed times, Boston council remains a big thinker – “If there were an expectation that the Young Mayor be accompanied and chauffeured to events and functions this may impact on the time and cost ...
“There may be a need to develop a civic insignia for a Young Mayor if this scheme goes ahead which would incur costs.”
Given that a fact of modern life is that most people cannot be bothered to cross the street to attend a Mayoral event, we somehow think that it might be better to start at the bottom and work our way up – rather than order a new limo and book a trip to Garrards, the royal jewellers.
The only opportunity of some benefit that might emerge is that a youth council might well show up the existing one.
Many of our present councillors have turned out to be a considerable disappointment.
Some seldom – if ever – show up for meetings, whilst many members of the Tory dominated rump attend merely to vote for what the leaders tell them and never speak or question decisions.
As well as considering a separate youth council, we should be doing more to encourage younger people to stand for the real thing.
Many of our present councillors have been there for too long. Of those, whilst some work hard, there are a number of self-important others whose mantra seems more closely to resemble self-service than public service.   
Although elections are still more than two years away, we think that all our councillors should seriously consider whether they ought to step down next time around.
They should then spend the intervening time seeking out suitable, younger potential replacements, and mentoring them between now and the election, and if they are elected, helping them through their first few months in office.
It might also be a step up from the attitude that we highlighted yesterday, where the great and the good seem to think that Boston’s young people are fit for nothing better than a life in the packhouse or the caulie fields.

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, 27 February 2013



click on the photograph to enlarge it
We’ve all heard about the north-south divide, but now it seems that Lincolnshire has a divide of its own – between east and west … and that Boston yet again is left at a disadvantage.
A recently released set of figures from the 2011 census, which break down the numbers of people aged between 16 and 74 employed by industry show that whilst Boston Borough scores relatively high percentages in areas such as transport and storage and agriculture – both of which are to be expected – we are sadly lacking in areas of employment which should be attracting more people.
Clearly, Boston suffers from its location, with a poor road and rail infrastructure – and as far as the latter is concerned it has already been reported that staffing at Boston station is to be cut, and no improvement monies have been allocated for the Lincolnshire rail network as a whole.
When you look more closely at the maps reproduced above, you can see where Boston is missing out on opportunities.
Construction, education, finance and insurance, and information and communication are all industries which are seeing growth elsewhere, with Boston the lightly coloured area on the maps – which in every case means that we have the lowest percentage of employees in these sectors.
As we say, part of the problem is down to the transport infrastructure.
But Boston also has a negative history where the great and the good are concerned. The very people who should be championing the borough and trying to bring about improvements have set their sights for Boston far too low – and seem content with the status quo.
Infamously, when our local MP Mark Simmonds was asked about the lack of jobs for local people in a radio interview, he responded: “I can meet some young people in Boston who say ‘Mark, when are you going to get all these migrants out of our town, and I say to them, ‘Well, when you’re prepared to go into the fields or the packhouses.”
Similarly, Boston Borough Council leader Pete Bedford – in another radio interview – declared: “It’s the fact that our population have got to get used to the fact of starting to apply for such jobs (in the packhouses) again.”
The packhouse should not be the be all and end all for young Bostonians leaving school.
Last month we heard that three of the brightest pupils from Boston High School are expected to take up places at Cambridge University later this year, after receiving offers from different colleges.
Once they get their degrees, one wonders what Boston will have to offer them.
Certainly, we consider it unlikely that they will return to look for packhouse work.
No. It’s far more likely than not that they will join the brain drain of brighter young people who leave Boston for further education and who never return – something that has already been identified by Lincolnshire's Chamber of Commerce.
Less than two years ago a report from the University and College Union ranked the 632 parliamentary constituencies in England, Scotland and Wales according to the percentage of working age people between 16 and 64 who have no qualifications.
It placed the Boston and Skegness constituency 17th in the bottom twenty – with 22 per-cent of the group having no qualifications.
The UCU General Secretary, Sally Hunt, said at the time: “There is a real danger that children growing up in certain areas will have their ambition blunted and never realise their full potential.
“The government needs to urgently revisit its education policies if we are to really offer improved life chances to all.”
And in March last year, a survey named  Boston as the worst performing area in the East Midlands for business   after the borough suffered a net loss of 117 companies over the previous two years.
The study, by Experian – the global information services group - counted the number of new companies and firms made insolvent in local authority districts across England, and ranked   Boston 298th out of 324.
As far as the brain drain is concerned – we are sorry to say that it will continue while our local leaders and the borough’s MP cling to the idea that the career path for our young people is a seamless journey from school to the packhouse.
Inevitably, as the years go by, more and more mechanisation will be employed in the fields and the packhouses – and what will our so-called leaders be saying then?
We need them to stand up and fight for a better Boston, not sit back and let the area decline year on year, as it happening at present.

 
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, 26 February 2013




It’s emerged that a child came within inches of death or serious injury in Boston Market Place after its buggy was left behind a parked car out of sight of the driver.
The incident happened as the debate over safety in the Market Place intensifies – along with growing calls for the Into Town bus service to be banned from using Strait Bargate as a rat run when its contract comes up for renewal in June.
Former Councillor John Storry reported the incident to Boston Eye.
Mr Storry, who quit the Boston Bypass Independents over issues concerning funding of the Princess Royal Sports Arena and the group’s decision to continue contributing regardless of local opinion, told us: “Some brain-dead male recently parked a buggy containing a child behind a car in such a position that it was invisible to the driver (I’m sure a mother wouldn’t have done it!) and wandered off to have a natter with a buddy some feet away, so there was no obvious connection between him and the baby.
“As the clutch began to bite, a slight flicker from the very edge of the buggy handle in the rear-view mirror alerted the driver and a tragedy was averted but we’re talking hairsbreadths and milliseconds here.”
Mr Storry added: “The basic problem of Market Place Parking appears to have been completely overlooked or, at least, distorted by unhelpful partisan comments.
“Like it or not, the Market Place is a designated ‘road’ and the only priority pedestrians have is on the pavements.
“So the primary responsibility is theirs to take care not only to avoid being ‘run over’ but to make sure their own actions do not endanger others.
There’s definitely a ‘fatal’ on the cards unless the authorities ‘unroad’ the area to make the problem go away completely, or a decision is taken to identify collective responsibilities and police the antics of all those who seek to classify themselves as road users.”
A week ago today there was a “briefing” for councillors on the Into Town bus service.
It was so named as it was held informally, without the public or press present, and had no powers to take proposals or vote on anything at all.
Representatives from Lincolnshire County Council and the Brylaine bus company also attended.
Whilst everyone apparently agreed that the service was a good thing, many councillors did not want it to see it continue using Strait Bargate or the Market Place and wanted to know why the buses couldn’t turn round and go back out of the pedestrian area instead of coming through it.
The reaction from the Brylaine representative was dismissive to say the least.
When told of the level of public concern over the issue one of them apparently shrugged, turned to his colleague and asked: "Where are all these people?"
It sounds as though the buses will continue to run through Strait Bargate regardless the concerns of both councillors and the public.
Who says that County Hall does not tell Boston borough what to do?
And worse still, the county appears to be more sympathy with a bus company than with the people.
But don’t forget that tomorrow councillors will be available between 10am and 2pm on a stall near the Ingram Memorial for voters to talk to them about the service they receive.
It would be an excellent opportunity to raise issues concerning the Market Place, and also the vexed subject of the introduction of residents’ parking – which the borough seems determined to delay   for as long as it can.
Some good news in all of this is that disabled blue badge holders may have a few more parking spaces in the Market Place than was previously thought.
We are told that Boston Borough Council has confirmed that the ‘no waiting’ sign by the Ingram memorial operates as double yellow lines - so disabled drivers can still park there ‘free’ for a maximum of three  hours. 


Boston Borough Council tells us that Councillor Paul Mould, who died last week, had been due to join the consultation team in the Market Place tomorrow to help with the Have Your Say survey. As a mark of respect this consultation session will be postponed until Wednesday, March 6 from 10am until 2pm.


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, 25 February 2013



For once, Boston’s representatives were all present and correct at Friday’s meeting
of  Lincolnshire County Council and – as our picture shows – many were in uniform too … well at least Tories Skinner, Brookes and Singleton-McGuire appeared to be.
But it was for Independent Councillor Ray Newell to open the batting.
Councillor Newell, who represents Boston West, speaks at almost every opportunity, and last week wanted information about what is being seen as the next big concern lurking on the horizon.
He asked Council Leader Martin Hill: “Given the enormous concerns over increased migration into Lincolnshire and Boston in particular of Romanian and Bulgarian nationals, what action is this council taking to solve the anticipated impact and problems raised.”
If he wasn’t expecting much by way of an answer, then he was surely not disappointed.
Councillor Hill, donning his cloak of political correctness – the one lined with a hint of menace – replied: “The issue is we don’t know how many people will come from Bulgaria and Romania, and could I also add there is tension and I think it’s not good for anybody to start stoking up issues before we know they are there. We do spend a lot of time on our education and in other ways trying to support integration and help with these issues; we are looking at it but we don’t know …  it’s something we will have to deal with, but we are working on it.”
We don’t think that Councillor Newell was stoking anything up, if he was the intended target of Councillor Hill’s little barb.
We thought that his question was perfectly legitimate given the wider concerns that have been raised nationally, and as the government seems to know nothing about the number of potential new arrivals it seems reasonable to enquire whether Lincolnshire County Council is trying to find out more on behalf of its residents.
Interestingly, Councillor Newell’s question came in the same week that Boston Borough Council announced that issues of concern surrounding Polish people living in Boston have been discussed at a meeting between Boston Borough Council and the Polish Consulate following publication of the council's task and finish report on the impact of population change in Boston almost a year ago.
We’re not quite sure what these concerns might be, as the Poles were among the earliest arrivals to Boston – and the town was dubbed “Little Poland” by the Daily Telegraph more than three years ago.
The area needing addressing now is that of immigration from eastern rather than central Europe, but we suppose that there isn’t an ambassador willing to given the council the time of day from that neck of the woods.
In a sense, we stayed with immigration when the issue of horse meat in the food chain came under discussion at County Hall.
In answer to a questioner, Councillor Peter Robinson, the executive member for community safety, mentioned a number of Eastern European shops in Boston which might dally with horsemeat and said that visits to these premises had been arranged in the near future.
Nearer home, he reported that the Food Standards Agency had told the council  that Pilgrim Foods in Boston  had been identified as having cottage pies linked to a horse meat positive batch of meat. The company had withdrawn its stock and contacted customers who had been supplied with the pies previously. But none of those businesses were in Lincolnshire.
Then it was down the food chain to a bread and butter question of a more local nature from Boston Rural County Councillor Mike Brookes, who raised the question of the safety of the zebra crossing on the High Street in Kirton.
Whilst it was assessed some time as requiring a traffic light controlled puffin crossing,
the work has not been done because of budget constraints.
And improvements made some 18 months ago  have also proved inadequate.
Recently a ten year old girl was knocked down by a car on the  crossing, after which her parents arranged a petition which is receiving massive local support.
The county’s transport supremo Councillor William Webb assured Councillor Brookes that the crossing would be upgraded in the 2013-2014 programme and that it would cost a “big chunk” out of the integrated transport budget for  South Holland and Boston - £80,000 from a total for the South Division of £384,000.
Whilst it’s good to hear County Hall listening, shouldn’t they also be trying to get the costs of improvements such as this considerably reduced?

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, 23 February 2013


Conservative Councillor Paul Mould has died at the age of 78.
Councillor Mould, who represented Staniland South ward, was a latecomer to politics, being elected to the council in May 2011.
He was a member of the licensing/regulatory and appeals committee, the environment and performance committee, the corporate and community committee, the planning committee, the Boston Town Area Committee and the internal international links committee.
Councillor Mould also represented the council on the Boston Citizens Advice Bureau Management Committee, the Boston Municipal Non-Educational Charities, the Council of Fydell House Centre, Lincolnshire Arts Forum and Boston Grammar School Foundation Governors.
Boston born and bred, Paul Mould lived in the town all his life, except for two years National Service in the RAF.
He was educated at the town’s Staniland School and Boston Grammar School and started as a cub reporter at the Boston Guardian in 1950.
He left to join the family bakers and grocers business, which closed in 1969 when the building of a new bridge led to the decline of the High Street in Boston.
He became a travelling salesman, covering a radius of fifty miles around Boston until 1983, when he started dealing in printing machinery.
He organized exports to India and Nigeria and acted as auctioneer at monthly auctions from 1988 -1991.
After going to hospital in a diabetic coma in 1994, he decided to write cinema reference books and subsequently became a publisher – establishing Paul Mould Publishing in 2004.
As well as publishing numerous titles by other authors his own titles included:
Wartime Schooldays in Boston - (1996)
Mould's Movie Careers - Actresses - (1999)
Down Memory Lane - (2002)
Mould's Movie Careers - Directors - (2003)
Over the years, he also wrote a sports column in the Boston Standard and a nostalgia column in both the Standard and Target.
He organised the Boston Snooker and Billiards League for 25 years and was a past President of the Old Bostonian Association.
He was also a member of MENSA  –  the society for people with an IQ in the top 2%.



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, 22 February 2013



We note that Boston Town Centre Portfolio panjandrum Councillor Derek Richmond is once again coming to the aid of people whom he feels are unable to comprehend as well as they might. Regular readers will recall Councillor Richmond’s attack on motorists using Boston Market Place, accusing them of naivety for not knowing where to park to avoid a fine – even though the situation is unclear. Now for some reason, he has entered the debate on the future of the town’s Post Office. Last week the Boston Standard reported: “the Post Office said it is committed to providing a service in Boston, and will soon be consulting with retailers to try to find an alternative location. A spokesman said services would remain in the current building if a new site was not found.” Enter Councillor Richmond, with a “reassurance” that the Post Office has given him “a guarantee” concerning the future. In a letter to both local “newspapers” he says: “The Post Office has told me it is now seeking a retail partner in Boston and, if it finds one which is suitable will begin a six week consultation process. If a retail partner fails to come forwards who meets their specifications, things will remain as they are.” Is there an echo in here, or is Councillor Richmond trying to appear as the saviour of the day? What a shame he doesn’t read Boston Eye, or he might let us know.
Why are we not surprised to learn that the re-opening of Boston’s Assembly Rooms has been delayed for another month or so? In fact, the Easter date that was announced was perhaps more a case of wishful thinking than anything else in the first place. So far we can find no trace of a planning application – which we assume is de rigeur where a listed building is concerned. There is not even any sign of repainting getting underway, which is not only urgently needed but which we thought was subject to some sort of deadline after the sale last November. Meanwhile the owner, local entrepreneur Matthew Clark, seems to relish what has been called “the air of mystery” surrounding the building by repeatedly refusing to say what use it will be put to other than that of “an entertainment venue.” He is rapidly transmuting from the hero (of sorts) of the hour to the man who promises jam tomorrow every time today’s delivery approaches.  He says he will be “very disappointed” if the building is not “sorted” by the May bank holiday. Meanwhile, Boston Borough Council, which at the time celebrated the sale as a triumph of localness is starting to seem a little silly.
Yet another nail in the coffin for the Boston Town Area Committee, which is fast becoming little more than a piggy bank for other council committees to dip into. Every year for as long as we can recall, the committee has set aside a decent sum – around the £10,000 mark – for grants to local organisations who can’t afford certain jobs without help which was distributed by the councillors.  Now this cash is being “ring-fenced” in an “initiative” that will operate in similar fashion to the Placecheck project, which has seen some areas of Boston form new neighbourhood action groups to tackle issues such as litter, graffiti and making improvements to the areas in which they live. Not only that, but instead of the applicants filling in a simple form to submit to BTAC, “expertise” will now be forthcoming from Boston Borough Council's local communities officer, and, Lincolnshire Community and Voluntary Service’s community development officer, “to bring residents together to work with key service providers to effect change.” We have long had a problem with Placecheck – which saw half of the monies allocated to a chosen area spent on administration. Not only that, but there was a sameness to the bids that suggested the initiative was not coming so much from the groups as the advisers. Another point is that the money was often being spent on dealing with issues which are already the responsibility of Boston Borough Council – such as the aforementioned litter and graffiti. This new “initiative” may result in worthwhile applications which might have previously attracted support being rejected because they don’t involve litter pickers and black bin bags. It’s all becoming a little too twee for our liking.  Interestingly, Daisy Dale area of Boston was lauded as the Placecheck paean. It was the pilot area in 2009 – but what many people have forgotten was that this was at least the third major attempt to make the area worth living in. The first was in 2005, and two years later a patch of land at the end of Daisy Dale nicknamed "the wasteland” which had become a home to vermin because of the amount of dumped rubbish saw 14 tonnes of litter carted away in just two hours.  No-one has told us whether Placecheck’s Operation Third Time Lucky worked the magic or not – but somehow we doubt that a visit would yield any surprises. 
After our recent comments about the latest survey by Boston Borough Council to see what the voters thinks of its services, a reader reports on a visit to the council tent in the Market Place a couple of weeks ago, where he met a councillor he had not previously encountered.   The dialogue went something like this: Councillor: “Would you like to take one of the survey sheets – I won’t ask you to fill it in now as it's raining.”  Voter: “Is it the same as the one which the council put out last year?” Councillor: "Oh I don't know, I've only just come on to the stand. I wasn't aware there was one last year."  Our voter told Boston Eye: “This, from a councillor who was present last year, so surely should have known about it? I then asked if there was a county council survey attached, as there was last year. Again, she didn't know, and when I asked why no mention had been made of this result from last year, after promising an announcement within six months, again she answered that she didn't know! I presume the answer the county got wasn't the one they wanted. Perhaps I should have asked her if she had permission from 'the leader’ to speak about anything. Absolutely amazing - just who have we elected as councillors? No one seems to know what's going on!”
Given that so many individuals and organisations are involved in the Boston in Bloom project, we wondered why one of the two people photographed receiving a cheque for £250 from ASDA is Boston Borough Council’s portfolio holder for leisure services, parks and open spaces, Councillor Yvonne Gunter – and why the photo should be posed in the council’s Worst Street offices. Surely the scene would have been better set outside, and involved one of the several groups who actually get their hands dirty during projects such as these.  We know that the borough is keen to shine by association given its own lack of luminosity but this has an air of hijack about it.
Talking of Councillor Gunter, the controversial plaque erected in Boston’s Central Park  (pictured below) which was unveiled when  the mayor opened the Diamond Jubilee Gardens (aka the Victorian Garden, aka the Elizabethan Garden) has returned after an absence that coincided with the vandalism which put the park’s new fountain out of business. It was certainly missing for several weeks, but when we visited the park last weekend, we noticed that it had returned – but what a mess it is in.


Three of the four screws that hold the plaque in place are headless, the lettering is already fading, the plate is dull and lacklustre (no more comments please – Ed)  and the stain on the board on which it is mounted is patchy, and in some places missing altogether.  If we have to have a plaque, then fine – but at least let’s make sure that the thing looks halfway decent and something of which we are proud, rather than some dowdy memorial that has been there for years rather than just eight months. And one other thing. The fountain wasn’t working when we visited, either.
The only surprising thing about the news that a bench in Boston’s Market Place opposite the new entrance to the Herbert Ingram Memorial has been damaged by a “hit-and-run” vehicle is that it hasn’t happened before. The incident also damaged an area of paving which had to be removed.  It most probably happened on Thursday or Friday of last week, and it is more than likely that the damage was done “out of hours” when the Market Place fortunately has fewer people in it. But vary the circumstances slightly, and we could have seen an incident that possibly involved injury to pedestrians using the area. We are sure that this will do nothing to unstop the ears of those people who feel that the Market Place should be a free for all for cars and Into Town buses to drive around as they please. We warned a long time ago that the present situation is an accident waiting to happen, and the only question now is when that day will come.
Our mention of the Garfit’s Lane playing fields being taken on by the Boston Town Area Committee – which will be paid for by an extra council tax levy on town based ratepayers – repeated a calculation that the operational cost works out at £700 for every football match played there. One councillor and BTAC member who applauds the takeover tells us: “The trouble with those published costs for the grass cutting etc. is that they include a proportion of everyone’s admin time and pay – including a small slice of the Chief Executive’s for good measure.  It’s not the actual cost of doing the job at all.  All this ‘recharge’ business drives me up the wall. The point of getting it under BTAC control is that it is an amenity for BTAC residents. Now we/the residents might be able to influence what goes on there. There is a lot of potential as it’s a rare and peaceful oasis in this town with beautiful trees.”  We have previous experience of a “recharge” system – which is a calculation of staff time, and proportional costs of office space, rates, heating, lighting, electricity, phone charges et al needed to service a department. In the BBC it was called “producer choice” – and its main impact was to drive up costs and eventually bring about a privatisation of department that led to job losses, and ultimately even higher costs.
As the debate rumbles on about whether or not to create an underground cable and substation at Bicker Fen to connect the Triton Knoll wind farm to the national grid, the issue of what’s in it for us is increasingly coming to the fore, In a letter to the local press Boston Independent Councillor Richard Austin talks of the “big financial benefit” that the borough could reap for the council’s bank account. He suggests that the Tory leadership should hold out for at least £1 million and be a “wonderful legacy” for the Conservative administration. That’s exactly half of what we hear was forthcoming to another authority when a power station was being planned at Sutton Bridge. We think that the issue is not one of “what’s it worth?” if the result is a development that is detrimental to the area. One thing that we can be fairly certain of is that the Tories will sell us short if a deal is done, and the fact that even though any payment constitutes little more than a bribe, will take any money that’s on offer.
Co-incidentally, £1 million is not unadjacent to the cost of the new dustbin fleet that’s going into service with Boston Borough Council – seven times £137,000 comes to £959,000. The borough website trumpets the new lorries as being slimmer, cheaper to run and with a host of other exciting bells and buzzers – although we would question whether white is the best choice of colour. The borough tells us all there is to know about the new fleet except where the money has come from to pay for them. At the time of the sale of the Assembly Rooms, it was suggested that the £465,000 proceeds from the deal might go into the refuse fleet kitty, but we were told that the whole council would have to be consulted should that be the case. A cool million is a lot of money in these cash strapped times, and it would be nice to know where is has come from.

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, 21 February 2013



click to enlarge photograph
What may well prove to be the opening salvo in a battle to block the re-election of the Boston Business “Improvement” District later this year have been sounded in an e-mail to a top county business figure.
The e-mail to Ursula Lidbetter – who chairs Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce, which effectively runs Boston BID – draws attention to a number of perceived shortcomings.
The points are being raised by local businessman Darron Abbott, who represents a number of businesses which are members of Boston BID, and who was a director of the company until he quit in protest at the way it was being run.
He has e-mailed Ms Lidbetter , who is the Chief Executive of Lincolnshire Co-operative and also chairs Lincoln’s Business Improvement Group
In the mailing, he writes: “I have tried to raise my concerns with the Manager (Niall Armstrong) the Chairman (Alan Ellis) and Simon Beardsley (the Chief Executive of Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce.) All have ignored my e-mails and phone calls since last autumn.
“It all started last summer when the manager arranged and paid £10,000 for a company from Grantham to arrange a music event in Central Park in Boston. It is documented that his actions were not known to the chairman or the board.
“How does the manager pay out £10,000 without anyone knowing?
“The event was cancelled due to inclement weather and from the information I have obtained the manager had spent £3,000 in addition to the above amount, which has now been lost. I am really amazed any one could spend this kind of money without the board knowing! There is a total lack of control.
“The chairman and manager are making many decisions without consulting the rest of the directors and none are discussed at the board meetings.
“The board do not communicate with levy payers at all – they seem to think the money is theirs to do with what they want.”
Mr Abbott also raised concerns about conflict of interest in the case of one recently appointed director who has a contract to supply services to the BID.
He continues: “One of the conditions contained in BID legislation is they must not carry out services that the council should. Boston BID has two borough councillors on the board – surely this helps influence decision in favour of the council.
Boston Eye’s own researches show the appointment of two directors last month – both of whom have participated in board meetings prior to that date.
Regular readers will know of the almost constant criticism of Boston BID since it set up shop in January 2009.
There have been complaints of its failure to produce matched funding, and ties with Boston Borough Council that critics feel are too close.
The company is also accused of failing to keep its members informed of what’s going on – and despite a promise made months ago that there would be regular drop-in session in big stores for the directors to meet the levy payers, nothing has materialised.
At one point a Task and Finish Group was set up by Boston Borough Council to looking into the running of the BID.
It made a number of important recommendations – most of which have been ignored.
But this being Boston, once the council deems a job to be over, it never bothers to see whether anything has been done or not.
The business website Duedil paints a gloomy portrait of the BID finances (see top of the page) begging the question “where has all the money gone?”
The BID website speaks for itself – or rather it doesn’t!
The last entry in the “Latest News” section is dated October last year.
Turn to the “What’s On” area of the site, and it is full of last year’s Christmas Market.
The most recent note under “Projects” harks back to July 2012.
The last “quarterly” newsletter was issued in March 2012.
Members were promised summaries of board meetings.
The last to appear was for the meeting of February 2011 – two years ago.
The BID will soon be seeking re-election for another five years, but we can see no reason why it deserves to be re-appointed.
At the last election, there were protests that anyone who failed to return their ballot paper would be deemed to have voted in favour of forming the company.
If so, it was certainly a dicey interpretation of the electoral rules and regulations.
All the BID seems to have done to date, is part a lot of businesses from money that they can ill afford and spend it as they please.
This is not accountability – and any organisation that has failed as spectacularly as Boston BID has done is one that we can do without.

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, 20 February 2013




The war of words over the provision of residents’ parking permits for local people forced to move their cars every couple of hours to avoid a £70 ticket now that civil parking enforcement has been introduced in Boston has been stepped up a notch.
The problem facing people whose homes are in parking controlled areas is that since the Lincolnshire County Council appointed traffic wardens began work early in December last year they are now touring roads that for many years have been ignored – meaning that residents have been able to park for as long as they like … something described on one local councillor as “delinquent” parking.
The change has produced a nightmare for hundreds of local people. Each time they see a warden in the street, they have to wait for a couple of hours, and then move their car and park somewhere else to avoid a penalty.
When the new system came into force, the county council claimed: “Taking on these new parking enforcement powers means we can do more to keep people moving safely on the roads, reducing congestion from inconsiderate parking, and supporting businesses with parking bays outside” – none of which apply to most residential side streets built in the days before the car was king.
Not only that, but Councillor Derek Richmond, Boston’s town centre portfolio holder, and the man responsible for parking matters, has said that the council has been waiting for the county to take on parking enforcement before permits could be considered  – even though they have been under discussion on one shape or form for the past five years.
As is so often the case with claims made by the Worst Street leadership, this has proved to be a load of tosh.
Not only that, but the chairman of the council’s Environment and  Performance Committee, Tory Councillor Mark Baker, has refused to discuss the issue before the committee meets on 19th June.
And he is sticking to his guns, even though he has been presented with a petition containing 60 signatures  - one from each household –from residents of Thorold, Hartley, Red Lion and Tunnard Streets.
His excuse is that the council officers involved will not have enough time to prepare a report for the March meeting of the committee on the 27th.
Independent Councillor Carol Taylor, who collected the signatures in a very short space of time, has told Councillor Baker: “Boston Borough Council has a number of excellent officers, and I feel that they have enough knowledge and experience to prepare a report at short notice. This issue is not exclusive to Boston and there are many parking strategies around the country including Lincoln.
“I do hope that your original decision not to bring the issue forward to the March meeting is not attributable to the forthcoming Lincolnshire county elections in May and subsequent results. If this is the case, then politics is being put before the needs of the good people of Boston.”
Next Wednesday, February 27th, Councillor Taylor will be manning a  all-party stall in the Market Place near the Ingram Memorial between 10am and 2pm  along with Councillors Mary Wright, Paul Kenny,  Gloria Smith, Paul  Mould and Alison Austin to seek public opinion on a residents’ parking scheme among other issues.
Aside from the suggestion that delaying discussion may be politically expedient, other thoughts that occur are whether Boston Borough Council would prefer the status quo in the hope that it will drive motorists to buy their car park season tickets for £328 a year – rather than charge them the typical £1 a week that residents elsewhere pay for a permit.
Councillor Taylor, meanwhile, has told Councillor Baker: “The distress caused to so many people due to parking restrictions must not be underestimated, which is why it is now for urgent discussion. These residents are asking for our help. It is our duty as privileged elected councillors to act and act quickly.”

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, 19 February 2013



Tomorrow morning sees Boston borough council’s cabinet of curiosities rubber stamp the budget for the coming financial year.
It paves the way for an interesting time ahead, and although we have been told on the council website – “Council tax freeze for third year running …” – this is not … as often emerges where the council is involved … quite true.
In fact the borough goes on to say: “Residents should not have to find a penny more in council tax in 2013/14 to pay for services provided by Boston Borough Council …”
But in reality, council taxpayers who live in the town itself – which is perhaps the majority of them – will have to find an extra 41% to pay their share of the bill.
It may sound a lot – in fact it is around £4 a year – but that isn’t the point.
What that money is needed for is the take-over by the Boston Town Area Committee of the Garfits Lane playing field, which has previously been managed – without any apparent difficulty – by another committee of the council.
We’re told that Garfits Lane brings in around £300 a year, and it’s estimated that football games played on the field cost on average £700 a match.
Meanwhile – as chancellors of the exchequer target smokers, drinkers and drivers – so our local equivalent of George Osborne targets motorists.
The cost of parking in Boston is set to rise from October this year by 20p – apart from a 30 minute stay in the Market Place – and we will also see a £1 charge for  an overnight stay, and charges will begin at 8am instead of 9am.  
Ironically and incorrectly, these increases in charges are referred to as “savings” – although we expect that the powers that be would claim that the definition depends which side of the fence you are sitting on.
The borough’s hard-pressed staff are also set to be penalised – with changes to their terms and conditions costing them £167,000 in 2014-2015 and £230,000 by 2017.
And don’t think for a moment that death will get you off the hook.
Despite the fact that there are better and less costly alternatives within a few miles of Boston, we are seeing increase of around 10% on many charges at the town’s cemetery.
Let’s not forget the cut in help for working age people either, who will see their council tax benefits cut by 25% – with the severely disabled and families sharing the pain as well.
Meanwhile, anyone hoping to find out what went on regarding the Princess Royal Sports Area at January’s cabinet meeting is set to be disappointed.
Last month, the meeting heard a report from Chief Executive Richard Harbord, which – in the way that our leadership does its business – was held in secret.
It should therefore come as no surprise to learn that the minutes of that session are to be presented to the cabinet in secret tomorrow as well.
Two years ago, council leader Pete Bedford   promised that arrangements for the Princess Royal Sports Arena would be settled “once and for all.”
And in the current edition of the Boston Borough Council bulletin, Councillor Bedford is still banging the same drum, saying: “Arrangements are now at an advanced stage to put the Boston Sports Initiative into the position of managing the Princess Royal Sports Arena. This will enable it to become a successful venue for sport and public entertainment …”
Perhaps one day – given the amount that we taxpayers have contributed, someone might get around to telling us what’s going on – and hopefully confirm that not a single penny more is being wasted on this appalling white elephant.
But back to the budget ... and as David Cameron said: “We’re all in this together ..”
All of us except for those councillors with a so-called senior responsibility who are shortly to receive the first half of their 20% increase in allowances, and, of course the entire council, who continue to enjoy free parking at our expense.
As George Orwell said: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

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, 18 February 2013



We mentioned last week how Boston in Bloom fever is exciting the great and the good of the town – nearly all of whom are now members of a steering committee to plan for the event …  although with so many hands on the tiller it seems more likely than not that the scheme will simply go round in ever decreasing circles.
By the time we get to the judging in July a huge amount of effort – and doubtless money – will have been spent bedecking the Customs House Quay area with borrowed chains and anchors, and filling jumbo-sized planters to bring colour, and hopefully a nicer smell, to the Market Place.
But what about the period between now and then – and after – the couple of hours or so that the judges will spend touring a carefully planned route?
Boston faces a recurring problem, which is that whenever something such as Britain in Bloom emerges we pull out all the stops for the benefit of others, and forget about the people who live here all the year round.
The weekend just gone has seen some spring-like weather for a change, which led us to vary our walk into town to take in Central Park.
Scarcely had we passed through the gates than we were confronted by an all-male group filling one of the benches and surrounded by bottles and cans of strong drink.
It wasn’t a one-off, either.
A few yards further along we encountered a similar scene … and again … and again.
You can see some of the groups in our photo at the top of the page.
All told, five of the benches around the park were occupied by groups of people sitting and drinking.
And before you jump to conclusions – not all of them were speaking in a foreign tongue.
At the entrance to the park is one of the many seldom-heeded signs that declares it to be an alcohol control zone – but as we have been repeatedly reminded over the years, this is not a ban on drinking alcohol.
Anyone may sit and drink in these areas, and it is only when – or more likely if – they are asked to stop that they are in contravention of the by-law.
In the early days of the designated public place orders as they are called, a number of our local politicians jumped on the bandwagon  to call for the booze control areas to be extended, but when nothing was done, everything went quiet as there no longer appeared to be any votes in it.
The issue in the park is one of the impact that so many people drinking in a relatively confined area has on other users of the park.
It was not possible to find a bench that was sufficiently distant from an alfresco bar for use by anyone who wanted to sit in comfort and isolation.
Whilst these drinkers were neither loud nor apparently a threat, they were, nonetheless, intimidating.
What the situation might have been an hour or so later is anyone’s guess, as the Central Park bar was doing big business at 10-15 in the morning.
If gatherings like this are allowed to become regular occurrences, then pretty soon Central Park will become a no-go area.
This is a problem that needs addressing sooner rather than later.
It is an issue that needs resolving for the benefit of the townspeople who wish to enjoy our leisure services all year round, and we hope that it will be addressed before the improving weather attracts still more drinkers to the park.
Then, perhaps, we can turn our attention to prettifying Boston for the benefit of the Britain in Bloom judges.

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, 15 February 2013



In the recent Daily Mail  feature about the impact of inward immigration on Boston, we heard communities portfolio holder Councillor Mike Gilbert remark the landslide majority won by the Boston Bypass Independents, and saying: “If it can happen for a bypass, then who says it won’t happen for an issue that inspires much more extreme opinions?”  At the time, we asked whether he could be considered a latter-day Cassandra. Now it seems that we may have been right. The leader of the Boston Protest March group, Dean Everitt, has taken to their Facebook page to ask how many people would be willing to stand for an independent party to run at the next local elections in 2015.

click to enlarge picture
He adds: “If  local councils won’t help solve local issues, it’s time to change your council …” Watch this space.
We note the threat that Boston’s main post office could close  with mixed feelings. Frankly, we can’t agree with the chairman of Boston Business “Improvement” District that the building is iconic and that its closure would be like moving the municipal buildings. It’s quite likely that the latter could be relocated somewhere that would benefit both the staff and the public and save money as well. Boston’s main post office has long been a disgrace, with some of the worst queues in the town that we have ever encountered.  Often, we have opted not to wait, and instead visited another sub office somewhere else. This is the most likely reason why the Wide Bargate building has failed to make a profit, and is therefore a largely self-inflicted injury. It’s time to worry less about status and concentrate instead on finding a suitable alternative location which we can use without the need to bring a packed lunch to eat while we wait.
It seems that Boston Borough Council is continuing its policy of not letting meetings get in the way of business. So much is now done in secret – and we are also seeing the idea of “informal” briefings, such as the forthcoming one on the Into Town bus service where councillors will be denied a vote and  there will be no minutes taken. Now – not for the first time – we are seeing a meeting cancelled at the last minute.

click to enlarge picture
The list on the left of the picture above was on the borough council website for some time – then vanished with just days to go to be replaced by the one on the right. Doubtless the excuse will be lack of business – but surely, there must have been something to discuss.
It’s seldom that we hear our local county council representatives speak in Lincoln – let alone raise their heads still higher above the parapet.  So it’s interesting to note that Boston’s Conservative councillor for Boston South, Paul Skinner,  is standing up to be counted as an opponent of a plan to build a lagoon or two  in which to process all the nasty gunky stuff that’s being generated at the Boston landfill site on  Slippery Gowt Lane.  He is against the plan for a shedload of reasons – among them that the data is from 2008 and therefore wholly out of date,   traffic issues, problems with the smell and – if that wasn’t enough – the charge that the plan will blight Boston South and Fishtoft. He also points out that local food processing firms dislike the proposed development and that the last time something like this was proposed some companies threatened to move away from the area. Wyberton Parish Council also object to the development – but in its usual Boston-friendly manner, the powers that be in Lincoln are recommending approval – although they have imposed a condition concerning the colour of the chain link fencing that will surround the lagoons. The county’s planning and regulation committee will discuss the application on 16th March. The application reference is PL/0014/13
Another issue that is attracting attention concerns plans to create an underground cable and substation at Bicker Fen to connect the Triton Knoll wind farm to the national grid. Boston MP Mark Simmonds says he opposes the idea and remarks that the constituency has become a consistent target for onshore wind development proposals. The proposal at Bicker could cover as much as twenty hectares, which for those who prefer such measurement in a more understandable form is almost 20 football pitches. Recently, Boston Borough councillors attended a presentation on the benefits of the Bicker Fen project to the area, and apparently came away less than impressed by what they heard. Lincolnshire County Council says it wants a halt to the unrestrained spread of wind turbines across the county. Let us hope that it broadens its net to help protect Bicker from blight.
The issue of on-going support for the Princess Royal Sports Arena was discussed – in secret, of course – by Boston Borough Council’s cabinet of curiosities recently. It’s  now two years since we were promised that the issue of funding this great white elephant would be solved “once and for all,” and more recently council leader Pete Bedford assured us that: “Arrangements are now at an advanced stage to put the Boston Sports Initiative into the position of managing the Princess Royal Sports Arena. This will enable it to become a successful venue for sport and public entertainment, providing an alternative venue for some of the more traditional Assembly Rooms events.”


click to enlarge picture
 It’s therefore interesting to see the latest information from the Charity Commission which shows that – aside from making consistent losses in two of the past three years, it hasn’t even bothered to submit accounts for the year ended March last year. An oversight – or a snub?
Our mention last week of complaints by English Democrat leader Councillor Elliott Fountain, that he didn't attend a meeting of “opposition” councillors to discuss common issues because he wasn’t aware that it was being held  has prompted an embarrassed response from Independent group spokesman Councillor Richard Leggott.  He e-mailed his colleagues to confess: “I had to check my records for evidence of sending an invite to all opposition parties for the January get-together.
Being unable to find any record of relevant contact with either of you (Councillor Fountain and his colleague Councillor David Owens) I feel that I must have boobed and I really do apologise. Sorry folks. Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. (Could have sworn I had cc'd both of you in other emails but obviously not!)
After our mention of this year’s Boston in Bloom competition, a reader got in touch to say that – like us – he couldn’t understand why the steering group was pursuing Boston's historic connections with trading and the fishing industries, when this year’s theme is “edible.” He suggested that something different and imaginative such as using ornamental vegetables in planters in place of the usual floral displays.
What a great idea – and one which just might make the difference when the awards are being handed out. But will anyone dare to do it? You can bet money that they won’t. One item of good news that we noted yesterday was that Lincolnshire County Council has agreed to pay for some bigger timber planters for this year’s contest.  On Wednesday night Boston’s Town Area Committee agreed to donate to the cause as well after an appeal from the borough’s impoverished leisure services department. By a big majority, they agreed to chip in  £2,000 – to buy new planters!
It seems that Conservative Councillor Paul Mould has moved quickly to head off renewed criticism that he has been outstaying his welcome in parking bays where the time limit for waiting is two hours –  something that was mentioned in Boston Eye last year. This time an official complaint was made to Boston Borough Council – with response, apparently – and a local county councillor, who has taken matters further. But Councillor Mould told us yesterday: “I now park my car down Robin Hood Walk, as there are no restrictions there.”
Finally, last week, we mentioned the SO Festival in East Lindsey and quoted reported criticisms concerning the cost.  The council’s communications and consultation team leader got in touch to say that the £350,000 being spent isn’t just for SO Festival, but for the entire district wide events programme – the SO Festival, Wolds Words, Mablethorpe illuminations, beach sports, and other events to benefit the visitor economy.  “All the events bring many people into the district and millions of pounds into the economy,” he said.  We’re happy to hear it – but still say that the  Boston and Spalding based “Transported” arts programme is a waste of £2,500,000 and will do nothing  to “engage audiences in local communities,”

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, 14 February 2013



Yesterday we mentioned Boston in Bloom, which has suddenly become the competition which we must enter at all costs.
The Royal Horticultural Society’s Britain in Bloom is the largest horticultural campaign in the United Kingdom, and despite the fact that it was first held half a century ago this year as a British Tourist Board promotion, and has been organised by the Royal Horticultural Society since 2002, Boston entered for the first time last year.
There is no doubt that such events bring benefits – and last year, given the low key level of our entry –  it was surprising that Boston received awarded a silver award in the large towns, East Midlands, category.
Having said that, the category was sufficiently narrow almost to guarantee a result of some kind, but was greeted with an almost hysterical reaction, given that as far as we could tell, our display consisted of a few wooden planters of flowers.
Earlier, we mentioned benefits – and the most notable, perhaps, was that attractive plantings which should have been introduced long ago in the Market Place in particular appeared as if by magic.
More of the same is promised for this year’s entry, and the good news is that Lincolnshire County Council has agreed to pay for the bigger timber planters.
But underlying all the planning is the usual Boston malaise of too many cooks being involved.
Boston in Bloom is “overseen” by a steering group which includes from Boston Business “Improvement” District, Boston Preservation Trust, Boston Borough Council, Boston Mayflower, Lincolnshire Community Volunteers Service, Boston Greenscapers, ASDA, South Lincolnshire Horticultural Society and Thistles Market Garden and Nursery, which helps students and adults with learning disabilities. In turn, the Steering Group works closely with Friends of Witham Way Country Park, Boston West Primary School, Park Primary School and the North Sea Camp open prison.
That’s a total of thirteen participants – which is about ten too many.
Lamentably, Boston BID plays the lead role in this – and its lacklustre approach to projects is almost legendary.
Take a look at the company’s website if you want to see what we mean – note how out of date it is … and this from a group which is hoping to be re-elected in a ballot of businesses later this year.
And where, for instance is what one would consider the most appropriate member of the steering group – someone from Johnson’s garden centre … a local firm that is one of the oldest and largest centres of its kind in Lincolnshire?
The RHS theme for 2013 is ‘edible’ and Boston Borough Council has announced that the Custom House Quay area is to get a facelift and illustrate its historic connections with Boston's trading and fishing industries.
Frankly, we would have thought that a wider canvas would have been to take the subject theme in relation to the area’s role in the wider food growing and processing industry – but then what do we know?
At least, one result will be a brighter looking Boston – but  the sad thing is that that it has taken what amounts to a bribe in the form of a piece of silver to finally encourage the powers that be to get to grips with some much needed and long overdue improvements.
What do we say that?
Well, in addition to the Custom House Quay improvements – which include pressure cleaning/weeding the area, repairing paving slabs and walls, repainting the street furniture and replacing the missing information board, the Boston in Bloom “to do” list includes
• Providing more imaginative planting schemes in the Ingram Memorial/ Market Place area incorporating some all-year round permanent planting to provide height and impact
• Re-painting as much of the town centre furniture as the maintenance budget permits and carrying out chewing gum removal in the town centre.
Surely many of these tasks should have been tackled in the past as part of the town’s “routine maintenance?”
And we were particularly interested to learn that another idea to charm the Britain in Bloom judges is to block-pave the two grassed areas outside the Post Office/Park Gate entrance which are damaged each year by the May Fair.
It’s almost five years since Boston Borough Council wasted £7,000 on a machine to remove chewing gum from the town’s pavements.
After a photo opportunity, it disappeared from the public gaze – although we think it has been trotted out once more in that time.
When it was demonstrated, it made a remarkable difference to the look of the streets.
And how many years have the May Fair vehicles been chewing up the grassed area by the Post Office?
Yet only now has the council decided that the problem needs addressing.
Not for the first time, it is seizing the benefits associated with third party events to get other people to do its job for it.
Blooming marvellous!


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, 13 February 2013


The beleaguered Boston Town Area Committee – the ever-present piggy bank for Boston Borough Council’s cabinet to dip into on the flimsiest pretext whenever it is short of cash – is to discuss a change of role.
At the request of a member, tonight’s committee is to discuss the idea of the formation of a town council to replace BTAC.
The idea has been floated before, and is particularly popular with the Labour opposition group, but  has been rejected by council leader Pete Bedford - not surprisingly -  who has said he thought that BTAC has its own precept and budget, so is probably very close to what is being proposed.
And as a final nail in the coffin, he warned of a cost implication to setting up another separate town council, which he was sure that taxpayers would not want to pay.
Over the years, the frequent accusation has been made that the BTAC budget is too convenient as a source of funding for other committee projects – notably it would seem, leisure – for the council to allow the £80,000 a year that’s available to slip from the cabinet’s slippery grasp.
In the past year or so - BTAC has given £5,000 towards the Boston Community Showcase – which is clearly a borough wide event, another £5,000 for the Diamond Jubilee party debacle, a further £10,000 on the so-called Jubilee Garden and budgeted £20,000 towards a skateboard park in just one ward which it is already being recommended for relocation because the users are fearful of  problems caused by drug addicts and vandalism.
And most recently, the committee has been “persuaded” to take over the Garfits Lane playing fields, to spare another portfolio the burden.
And yet, as a new financial year dawns, the knocking at BTAC’s vault door is ceaseless.
A report to this evening’s meeting on the 2013 Boston in Bloom campaign produced on behalf of Leisure Services Portfolio holder Councillor Yvonne Gunter – whose sphere of operations is the one to benefit most from BTAC’s largesse – relies on the same clapped out argument when asking “that BTAC considers whether it is prepared to offer any support to Boston in Bloom 2013 to help enhance the town environment and foster public and business engagement in the campaign.”
The author, partnerships and sustainability manager Ian Farmer, tells the committee: “The Boston in Bloom campaign focuses on Boston town, which is the same geographical area as that covered by BTAC” – ergo BTAC ought to foot some of the bill.
We take a slightly different view – that the entire borough benefits from success in this event, because if the cards are properly played, people will come to the area to visit.
At the moment we are celebrating meagre success in last year’s Royal Horticultural Society Britain in Bloom event as if we had collected the prize for Best Show Garden at Chelsea. Whilst it’s nice to win something for once – the displays were not that special, and given our history of never doing anything as well the second time around the outlook is probably gloomy.
There is every good reason politely to decline the invitation to shore up the leisure budget – which is already listed to receive almost £1.1 million pounds in the coming year.
Another item on tonight’s BTAC agenda concerns the neglected Ingelow Avenue playing field which it is clearly stressed is not a site for which the committee is responsible.
Having said that, we are sure that this will not stand in the way of parting BTAC from money should any opportunity arise.
Theoretically, BTAC is a good idea, as it supposedly ring-fences monies exclusively for spending on the town centre.
In practice, it seems that advantage is being taken of its generosityor worse that pressure is being brought on the committee’s Tory majority to do the cabinet’s bidding.
It’s time for BTAC members to stand up and be counted and work for the people.


Ahead of tonight’s meeting we received the following response to our blog from BTAC member and Independent Councillor Carol Taylor..

As you are aware, the majority of members on the above committee are Conservative councillors and to say the committee was " persuaded " to take over Garfits Lane playing fields suggests that the whole of the committee agreed to it.  We did not.  Members of the opposition groups including myself were totally against the idea and voted accordingly. Who would vote to take on a project which is used very little and is most certainly not financially viable and estimated that the amount of football games for instance played on the field averages at a cost of £700 per match ? Certainly no one with any business acumen,  but alas BTAC did. The voting was equal so the chairman had the casting vote ... no prizes then for guessing which way the vote went!
With regard to BTAC to “stand up and be counted ."  Do you really think, New Boston Eye, that this is going to happen? Of course you don't, and neither, I suspect, do the public. We will always be out-voted due to the number ratio. If only a few members of the Conservative group had the courage to vote with their conscience on issues which affect the good people of Boston.  Tonight's meeting with regard to BTAC becoming a Town Council will see a presentation by the Chief Executive. The council leader is against the idea and I have a feeling of déjà-vu that all the Conservative members of that committee will agree with their “Pied Piper !
Members of the opposition will always stand up and be counted, but sadly we are not enough in numbers to succeed,  a fact which the Conservatives continue to gloat on!
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