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.
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.
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.
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?
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 ...
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.
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.
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.
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?
“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?
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.