Friday, 23 May 2014

Somehow, we weren’t surprised to read that a ban on drinking in the town centre has been recommended after “consultation” with the public by Boston Borough Council.
It showed that 97% of the people who filled in a questionnaire on the borough’s website said the council should ban drinking alcohol in defined public places, and that 94% believed that people should not be allowed to drink in the street and parks.
The vote was so  was so decisive that we were reminded of last month’s voting in North Korea where the leader Kim Jong-un was unanimously re-elected to the country’s parliament after every single eligible person turned out to vote – with only his name on the ballot paper.
We don’t know how many people responded to the Boston survey – which didn’t exactly bend over backwards to obtain as wide a spread of opinion as possible – but as we have previously pointed out, bringing in a legal sledgehammer to crack a nut is unlikely to make much by way of a difference without proper enforcement – something which has been sadly lacking to date.
The council argument appears to be that once a law exists to ban drinking, then the problem will disappear as if by magic.
But it won’t unless the police, the PCSOs and the council’s own anti-social behaviour squad ensure that the pressure on people drinking in areas where they’re not wanted is maintained until the problem eventually goes away.

It seems that the Worst Street answer to pretty well everything would be to make it illegal if at all possible.
We’ve commented in the past about the council’s approach to the public when it comes to conforming with the rules, with web page headlines such as: “There will be no hiding place for any who spoil the streets of Boston …”  “Litter louts – we’re watching you… “Waste cowboys could land you with a fine and a criminal record …”  “Don't get caught without a TV licence …” and so it goes on …
The latest be added to the council’s list of ne’er-do-wells are … footballers.
Never mind the fact that the World Cup is just around the corner, it seems that “teenagers” have been playing football on the bowling green in Boston’s Central Park.
Obviously, this is the wrong place for the more strenuous sport of soccer, and as the council points out there are “acres” of more appropriate space.
But is it not a tad premature to brand the activities of a bunch of lads kicking a ball around as “anti-social” behaviour, and demand that the public call the police if they spot the culprits at play.
As always, Boston’s head parkie, Councillor Yvonne Gunter, has some sound bites for the occasion:
“Boston Borough Council does not have grounds staff  in Central Park at the weekends …  they cannot be on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week …there are occasions when the grounds staff are not in the park on a weekday …. their duties are not solely restricted to Central Park … they are not the police and …are not expected to deal with potentially violent individuals   at such times we rely on the public to alert the police to anti-social behaviour occurring in the park    make a call on 101.”
But the police have their excuses as well, and say:” We have competing demands on our resources which influences the amount of time officers are visibly on patrol in the park so we continue to urge members of the public to report incidents of anti-social behaviour as soon as they witness it in order that we can respond as effectively as possible."
Having been on the receiving end of this “effective” response recently, we would advise people to save the time of a phone call – but perhaps we were just unfortunate.
Surely, there is a better way to deal with a relatively minor problem at an early stage than to criminalise kids for having fun – even though at present, it is in the wrong place.
Come on Boston Borough Council, these are your future voters and taxpayers – why don’t you treat them with a little more consideration.


Following our recent criticism of the way that the Boston Town Area Committee – BTAC – spends its money, some changes appear to have been made.
It now seems that instead of giving away money to anyone who asks for it, regardless of whether their cause will benefit the ten “parished” wards  which are charged a local  tax for the “benefit,” BTAC is coming up with its own ideas for spending their budget – regardless.
This latest approach emerged with the news that BTAC has declared itself the “formal organiser” of this year’s Christmas celebrations in Boston. Not only that, but BTAC has agreed to throw in £2,000 from its budget to help things along.
We can’t find any sign of an application for this grant, which has been the preferred route until now, but as a group of councillors and volunteers got this particular ball rolling, this would appear to be reason enough.
As we keep constantly reminding BTAC – and as the committee keeps constantly ignoring – it is funded by local taxpayers, and any monies spent from its budget are intended to use to benefit the town centre wards that its 16-strong membership represents.
Anything of benefit to the wider area must come from the council’s main budget, according to the council’s constitution.
Certainly, the borough’s Christmas celebrations will be for the enjoyment of a far wider audience than just those people living in the town centre wards, who pay around £115,000 a year into BTAC’s coffers.
So why is BTAC and not the main council budget paying?


We last asked this question in connection with the funding of a monument to augment the already impressive Boston War Memorial to mark the start of the First World War – which was launched as a council inspiredpublic subscription.”
But instead, when the money was not forthcoming, we saw BTAC race to the rescue to underwrite the cost to the tune of £4,000 so as to guarantee the ordering of the chunk of stone or iron required to mark the event.
This is in addition to a further £3,000 guaranteed over a three year period from the committee to help with the general maintenance of the memorial area.
Meanwhile, Bostonians at large remain unaware of this generosity, as the council is giving the impression that the public appeal is storming ahead after raising a pitiful £600 in its opening months – half of which came from sources connected with or funded by the council.
Those of you who pay the ward tax to BTAC comprise around half the population of Boston, and there is supposed to be a specific and local reason when it is spent.
What, we wonder, would the residents of Wyberton, or Frampton have to say if a chunk of their parish precept was hijacked for a town centre project?
Handing money to BTAC  these days is like  investing with someone that you ought to be able to trust who promises to use it wisely and for your benefit, but who then sees something that they like better and so blows your money on  that ...


And still the nonsense goes on.
Tuesday’s  edition of the Boston Daily Mouthpiece told its handful of readers that the memorial plan had received a £500 boost – this time in the form of a hand-out from one of the council’s political chameleons – Boston Borough and Lincolnshire County Councillor Bob McAuley –  ex-UKIP, ex-UKIP Lincolnshire, ex-Independence from Europe, and now (or at least the last time we looked) Lincolnshire Independents.
Mr McAuley has forked out a quarter of his county council financed Big Society Fund  to the appeal – so yet again, Lincolnshire taxpayers are helping to pay for a Boston Borough Council devised stunt which is purportedly a public subscription.
The remainder of the bulletin article recycles a lot of old news about the involvement of local schools in the project which – whilst it will give the kids a bit of fun, will most likely contribute a mere drop in the ocean towards the fund – leaving it still as a burden on the public purse, which is not supposedly the intention.


Now, we expect to be branded anti-Christmas as well as disrespectful of the 1914-1918 veterans – but this is not the case.
The point is that we have a committee which is bounded by rules, which are there to be adhered to, and not cast aside whenever it suits the predominantly Tory committee.
Interestingly, we suspect that there is some shame among the members at these entirely justified criticisms, as no-one has stepped forward to tell us that our interpretation is wrong.
Over the years, if we have misread an issue, someone has always been there to tell us, and we in turn have put the matter right.
But this time, the silence from Worst Street is deafening in its intensity.


As is so often the case, if there is a right way to go about a project such as commemorating the outbreak of the First World War, Boston Borough Council can be relied upon to come up with an alternative.
Nearby South Kesteven District Council wanted to restore Grantham’s Wyndham Park to its former glory as a First World War memorial park and one of the district's finest assets.
Working jointly with the park’s Forum, SKDC applied for and have received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and have been awarded development funding of £117,000 to help them progress their plans to apply for a full grant at a later date to earn total funding of £875,900.
Another lesson for Boston has come too late – although common sense might have suggested the lottery fund as a potential source of funds.

And still with matters financial, we note that after the recent closed meeting of the Boston Big Local group – self-appointed with spending £1 million on our behalf –  another meeting has been arranged … again behind closed doors. “to discuss the best next step and how to move forward.”
The last meeting was the one where members considered a timeline “resisting looking into the future” and were compared to a wheel with more people at the rim, and the spokes providing tension and connecting to the hub (that’s the core group) to everyone on the rim.
Dear Lord, spare us from much more of this.
Could we suggest that the best next step should be to come out into the open and tell the people of Boston who you are and what you are proposing?

A letter from “a fed up tax payer” (fate forefend!) asks: “Why does a local councillor deliberately ignore the flooding of three parking bays on the refurbished Cattle Market car park site?
“It`s now light mornings so on trips to and from the paper shop it must be noticeable.
“Doesn`t anyone check to make sure a correct job has been carried out?”
The answer to this is clearly “no.”
But where a councillor equally clearly is in a position to see a problem first-hand that needs addressing then they should do something about it, shouldn’t they?


A couple of weeks ago we mentioned that someone in the ruling group at Worst Street had come up with the brilliant idea of taking new photographs of all 32 councillors – apparently because it was thought that the present snaps weren’t good enough for the borough council’s website.
We don’t know whether the replacement photo that has just appeared in the list of local councillors is intended to be the first of many or not – but if that is the general idea, could we suggest a change of mind? 

Our photo above shows on the left the former “stock” picture of Councillor Raymond Singleton-McGuire, relaxed, smiling benignly and looking every inch the man they call Boston’s Chancellor of the Exchequer.
But who is the ill-at-ease looking individual on the right who has taken his place?
The suit and tie appear to be the same, but this snapshot looks more like a man on his way to the scaffold than the self-assured joint deputy leader that we all know and love.
If nothing else, the picture will reinforce the argument of those critics who said that there was nothing wrong with the original pictures in the first place.

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

Our former blog is archived at:

No comments:

Post a Comment