Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Cheers – Worst Street
calls time on bid
to save riverside pub
Despite the lip service paid to tourism, Boston Borough Council can be unsurprisingly dense sometimes.
Late last year, a group applied under the new Localism Act to try to stop the Witham Tavern on Witham Bank being converted into flats by listing the pub as an Asset of Community Value.
Boston Borough Council tells applicants: “In neighbourhoods across the country there are buildings and amenities that are important to the communities that use them – a village shop, a post office, a pub, a community centre, a recreation ground or a library, for instance. The closure or sale of these places can create lasting damage to communities… voluntary and community organisations can nominate an asset to be included on a list of ‘assets of community value’.”
This is exactly what one group has done – only to be given the bum’s rush by Worst Street.
A representative from the group fighting to save the pub told Boston Eye that the council has acted “shamefully” regarding the application.
“We were informed by CAMRA that we had to get an unincorporated body together of 21 people to sign a petition to have it listed.
“We did this and presented it to the council for consideration before the planning application was looked at.
“The council had to bring in someone from East Lindsey District Council to consult as, in their own words, ‘we have never dealt with an ACV before like this.’
"At the planning meeting our ACV was thrown out as, after consultation, the pub was not deemed to be an asset to the community.
“Who was the only person consulted?
“Not any of the 21 people who signed the document, but the owner of the tavern – and strangely she didn't believe it was an asset to the community!”
The planning application was subsequently withdrawn and has now been resubmitted and Boston Borough Council tells us: “At the present time there is no date agreed for the Planning Committee to discuss this application. “Neighbours and anyone who has written regarding this application will be informed in writing when a date has been confirmed.”
The protest group spokesman added: “The pub is the only one overlooking the freshwater Witham within the town boundaries; it serves the marina, is on the Sustrans route to Lincoln and the walk down to Witham Way Country Park.
“We believe it an important part of the tourist attraction in Boston if run and managed properly.”
We couldn’t agree more.
It may well be the case that the Witham Tavern has not been a business success recently – but that doesn’t mean it can’t be turned into one.
It is superbly located to take advantage of the marina traffic, local walkers and cyclists.
But it seems that the owners prefer the idea of turning it into flats – which will of course be very profitable, but do nothing for the area. There has also been a previous application to demolish the chandlery building to make way for housing.
Incidentally, Boston Borough Council is being economic with the truth when it says "we have never dealt with an ACV before like this.”
The fact is that they never will if they get East Lindsey to do their job for them – the Witham Tavern is not merely the only ACV to be rejected – it is the only application of any kind to made to the council to date.

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  1. This is a report from 2008 from Boston Area Regeneration Company in partnership with Boston Borough Council Quote "The long term aim of the Boston Waterways Development Plan is to enable
    Boston to maximise the potential of the borough’s waterways. A key
    objective of this Plan is to enable Boston Area Regeneration Company –
    BARC, to demonstrate to potential investors, developers and landowners, as
    well as public sector funding partners, what can be achieved in Boston, and
    just how the borough can benefit by making better use of waterways and
    waterside sites. " Surely to allow change of use to flats goes against the aim of the waterways plan .http://www.boston.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=6085&p=0

  2. I think this will make me unpopular but here goes. I moved to Boston in 2003 and enjoy a walk along the riverside and still do. The Witham Tavern for me has never been any good. It has been several different restaurants as well as a pub without much success. If you sit outside, you only see car's parked and if you think you can see the boats think again. They are all obscured by fencing, railings hedges etc. It may well be nice in the summer but winter is very long and it is even more deserted that usual. Whilst I don't wish to see it made into flats, you can't blame the owners for trying to make as much money as possible, after all it is their business whether we like it or not.
    Perhaps if more people had used it summer and winter, it wouldn't be in this position now. Perhaps if a very rich person could come forward and buy it, it could be saved. That is if they want a building with cellars almost permanently flooded. It is not a community asset, it is only for those with a vested interest in the waterways. It is worth mentioning that since the building of the other flats along the river, clubs such as witham sailing club have to move further down the river because the height of the flats prevents any wind for the sailing dinghy's.