Our report on the attitudes displayed at last week’s “informal” i.e. private and unminuted meeting to discuss the future of the Into Town bus service – in particular its continued use of Strait Bargate as a rat run brought some interesting comments from Independent Boston borough councillor Richard Leggott. “An interesting but inconclusive ‘buses’ meeting,” he told Boston Eye. “We, your councillors, were treated to the usual arguments why the buses had to be routed through Strait Bargate and run on a half-hourly service schedule. And the reasons still sound as fatuous today as they did in the days of the Boston Bypass Independents. The half hourly service was argued for to stop people having to wait so long for a bus. Think about that! But the Brylaine rep owned up to the necessity to review the frequency of service at certain times of day for viability reasons. The Strait Bargate route was 'justified' because the buses cannot turn round at either end; i.e.the Post Office or the Market Place! Also, continuous loop routes were preferred by present operator – again for viability reasons. And don't worry about the pedestrian area becoming rutted; the old carriageway is still there under the present surface. Yes …. Well? The present operator would, we understood, be the preferred/expected contractor post present subsidised service. Whilst one or two councillors seemed to be happy with all they heard from Lincolnshire County Council and Brylaine, most spoke – not against an Into Town service – but to suggest what they considered would be a better format. And 'top of the pops' was a service that did not route vehicles through the pedestrian area. Being an informal meeting no vote was taken, but I would hope that the strong and logical views expressed will carry some weight. Must break off now; I’ve just seen some pigs flying over the house.”
If you were among the many members who doubtless wondered whether Boston Business “Improvement” District had gone into hiding, we have an answer for you, after a reader told us of his travails at getting in touch with the organisation. Frustrated by ignored ‘phone calls and e-mails, he paid the BID offices – supposedly in Norfolk Street – a visit, to be told that the company had moved out a couple of months ago. The receptionist had no idea where they had gone, but after a couple of phone calls the move was confirmed by a member of the BID’s “owners,” the Lincoln-based Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce – but he refused to disclose the location. But now it seems as if persistence had paid off, as this week saw the first updating of the BID website for months to announce that they were now quartered in Ridge House Annexe, at 16 Main Ridge West.
Incidentally, whilst you might have imagined that Boston BID has a lot to talk about this year – it is hoping that its compulsory members will vote to re-elect it for a further five year term this autumn – it seems that this is far from the case. A board meeting scheduled for Wednesday night was cancelled with just a day’s notice, and this meeting had already been moved from February 19th to the 27th because of a pre-ballot meeting held earlier in the month. The reason for the cancellation was that there was no urgent business to discuss. The next board meeting is scheduled for 12thMarch and will be the last board meeting before the AGM on the 26th - although we are told that notice of that meeting has not reached members within the month required by the constitution. Presumably the BID is very confident of re-election – something we are less certain of given its tepid performance to date.
We received a touching tribute to the late Councillor Paul Mould from one of his authors. Annette Borrill, who has published books of inspirational verse, wrote to Boston Eye to say: “It is with great sadness I heard the news of Paul's passing. I have known him since the 1960's but only met up with him again last year. He said he'd started publishing poetry, and asked if he could publish a book of my poetry. I agreed with great excitement. I decided on the title:' The Patchwork Pot of Poetry.’ Margaret Dickinson kindly agreed to write the foreword. I took the manuscript and some photographs etc. to Paul last November. We had a lovely chat and 'catch up', during which he recited a lengthy poem from memory. I shall always remember him with respect and immense gratitude that he believed in my writing. If ever the book is published, it will be in Paul's memory.”
Councillor Mould’s death saw the cancellation of the “Have Your Say” event in the town’s Market Place on Wednesday as a “mark of respect” – and the session will now take place on Wednesday March 6th between 10am and 2pm. It sounds to be the sort of event that Councillor Mould might have wished had gone ahead – given that one reason was for people to pick up questionnaires to express their opinions about the services provided by the borough. Questionnaires have to be returned by 15th March – which now gives people little time. Councillor Mould’s death also creates a vacancy in the borough’s Staniland South Ward. The ward is designated as needing two borough councillors – the other one is Councillor Yvonne Gunter. One suggestion is that the by-election will be timed to co-incide with the Lincolnshire County Council elections on Thursday 2nd May – but two months seems far too long a delay. If a ward needs two councillors then there is a good reason, and we should not expect just one to take the strain for so long. There is also the issue of appointing a new member to the six borough committees and the five external bodies that Paul Mould represented the council on.
Whilst making its mark of respect in one way, Boston Borough Council is remarkably obtuse in another. This is how the borough website list of our councillors appears since Councillor Mould’s death.
Not for the first time where Boston Borough Council is concerned, we are reminded of the “unperson” of George Orwell’s novel 1984. Obviously, the death of a councillor in service is a rare event – but could it not have been better handled? A brief note explaining the reason for the gap in the list would have been both helpful and sympathetic. But sadly, these words seem not to appear in the borough’s dictionary.It looks as though Boston may be getting a new store in the not-too-distant future. The electronics specialist Maplin has applied for permission to mount advertising signs on former Comet building on Grantham Road.
We think that this is a bold move, given that much of the stock previously on sale in Comet will be duplicated in a Maplin store. Not only that, but we already have a branch of PC World in the town. But who knows – a little competition might bring benefits to the geeks out there!At least that’s an improvement on the latest plan for Pescod Hall, where a shopper tells us that a banner is proclaiming the imminent arrival of – a burger bar! The historic 15th century building was previously a branch of the Subway franchise, and had a number of incarnations prior to that. On several occasions, we have suggested that someone with a little imagination – and that’s all it would take – should have taken the building on as a tourist information office par excellence, and maybe also as an outlet for locally produced foods, arts and crafts. Its situation in the heart of the shopping precinct would make it not only an attraction in its own right but provide a huge boost to the town.
Our award of ten out of ten for cheekiness this week goes to the Lincolnshire Community and Voluntary Service, which is threatening to cut services after Boston Borough Council announced plans to cut the money that it forks over to the charity by £20,000. Instead the money will be paid to the town’s Citizens’ Advice Bureau – which the council feels will face more demands in the year ahead in the light of changes to benefit regulations, increasing personal debt and the like. In four of the last five years, the SLCVS has enjoyed a “profit on its finances, and last year was the first time since 2008 that it spent more than it received. Its spending was £804,218 against an income of £678,375.
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Over the years, the organisation has done extremely well by Boston Borough Council. Last year alone, aside from the usual grants, it received £5,000 towards the Boston Showcase – then almost immediately warned that this year’s event might not go ahead without funding yet again. It also applied for – and received £1,000 from the council to pay for people to chalk on the pavements outside its offices to “celebrate” volunteering week. Hopefully the organisation will accept that the gravy train has had to park up in the sidings for a while instead of demanding money with menaces!
Finally, here’s another verse from Boston poet Terry Coope. It’s called “Auction Time.”
The green light's on, amber's gone
Poor red didn't even frame,
For the GPO, has got to go
Another quick sell off again.
A vacuumed space, is our market placeDo they really know how we feel,
For the old park gate, is to lose his mate
For another wheel and deal.
Is it about Dosh'? Why we're under the coshOr more about break, not mend,
For it's heads in a noose, of no more use
They call it a going trend,
Next door the Trustee, now means nothing to meJust another place for grub,
The GPO, I don’t want to know
When it's flats, restaurant, or club.
The how's and why’s, of the town's demiseOn that fence we'll have to sit,
For what they are saying, hoping and praying
Is for us to grin and bear it! ........
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