Monday’s full council meeting at which the increased council tax proposals will be rubber stamped looks like being a pretty lacklustre affair. There are just three items on the agenda – a report on a review of the constitution, the council tax stitch-up, and then the expulsion of the public and press to discuss nominations for “service to the community” awards. Guess we haven’t been nominated again!
Instead of an array of questions from the UKIP contingent there appear to be no challenges waiting in the wings. Does this mean that UKIP has given up the ghost? We trust not – as there is much for which to hold the Worst Street leadership rabble accountable. Unless someone keeps them on their toes they will continue to get away with their own specific brand of ineptitude.
This past week has seen the police in “safe” Boston reporting five arrests after an attempted burglary in which a firearm was reportedly involved; three brief arrests after an initially “unexplained” death which subsequently turned out to be an apparent suicide; and a witness appeal to identify members of a seven strong group after a local man was “seriously” assaulted outside the Boots store. We wonder how long the powers that be will continue to try to peddle the myth that Boston is a safe place to live and walk the streets.
Which reminds us ... whatever happened to the challenge accepted by MP Matt Warman to spend 24 hours with some local families in the most crime affected areas of the town? The gauntlet was thrown down by a Boston sub Standard reader a month ago after Mr W rubbished reports branding Boston the murder capital of the country … and apparently taken up. Perhaps in the light of recent events Mr Warman has decided that discretion is the better part of valour and is keeping his head down so as to avoid getting a red face.
After our recent criticism of the “announcement” of garden waste collection charges using a tag on a wheelie bin as the messenger, Worst Street has apparently abandoned the idea in favour of a more civilised (and polite) leaflet delivery to all households. But being Boston Borough Council, a few niceties are still missing. The most significant of these is the insistence to go out and buy a permanent ink marker if you don’t already have one – and if you don’t, it’s probably because you didn’t need one before. There’s also the by now familiar undertone that the council expects some people to try to cheat the system in some way or another – which we doubt that Worst Street will ever grow out of.
Given that the entire purpose of all this campaigning is to make money from the punters – and despite promises that the service would remain free – there is an tinge of desperation in the council’s exhortations. Earlier this week we saw the Boston Daily Beano trying to persuade us that parting with at least thirty quid was just what we’ve been waiting for. “Get gardening – today is B-Day … Borough residents can now make arrangements for their garden waste to be collected …” Despite an initial rush of orders, we wonder whether the powers that be fear that the charging plan might not become the cash cow that they are hoping for.
Speaking of the Boston Beano begs the question of what is it there for? When it launched in April 2010 we were promised a bulletin, “packed with information about Boston Borough Council.” Gradually, this dwindled, and was followed by a move to make it daily, which ought to have eased the problem. However, whilst we have no trouble in finding something to write about Boston Borough Council every day, the bulletin is increasingly struggling. Recent issues have reported on an Alzheimer’s Society’s dementia friends programme; a new law requiring dogs to be micro chipped, a history talk about the buildings of South Street, a stall manned by a Lincolnshire Community and Voluntary Service volunteer to promote Anglian Water’s Keep It Clear campaign – illustrated with a photo (presumably to make it look as if it has something to do with the council) of Councillor Alison Austin beside a pile of old rags … which first appeared the bulletin in October 2014 when the campaign was launched … and a Lincolnshire Safeguarding Children Board campaign to raise awareness of the issues of child sexual exploitation. Most of the organisations given these free puffs have their own publicity outlets. If the contents of the Boston Daily Beano are relevant to the council, then fine. If not, we can make some much needed savings.
There was a “jobs fair” in Boston last week – but a visitor who went came away disappointed after finding stands from Boston College and Boston Jobcentre, and about 15 others mainly representing packhouses and nursing homes. Ironically the fair was held as news was breaking of up to 63 job losses at Magnadata, and another 12 at Brantano.
As with the local Morrison’s closure, the news went unremarked by council leader ‘Nipper’ Bedford, who was quick to offer condolences when Norprint folded, but whom we suspect has given up trying to push the idea that Boston is on the up when the reverse is true. However, he has taken time to sign a letter of support for the Government’s plans to devolve Sunday trading laws to local councils.
The letter – signed by 40 MPs (including our own Matt Warman) and 150 council leaders declares that “Nowadays people rightly expect greater flexibility in all aspects of their lives, and being able to shop when it’s convenient is one such freedom.” We know from past interviews that Mr Bedford is a big fan of Boston people working in packhouses, and we wonder whether his enthusiasm for more Sunday shopping might be in the hope that it will increase the demand for cut lettuce, and therefore create more jobs locally. We are not religious fanatics, but we fondly recall the days when scarcely any shops opened on Sundays, which gave people time with their families and a day in which to relax and unwind. Perhaps many of today’s problems would not exist if we were to return to those times rather than an “open all hours” philosophy.
Yesterday was supposed to be D-day for appointment of the newly created £65,000 a year post of “Head of Service Economic Development and Growth” with the Sisyphean task of “providing strategic, visionary and organisational leadership in all aspects of inward investment, growth and wider regeneration and economic development for the borough.” We would wish the successful candidate luck – but much more than that will be needed given the narrow minded, entrenched, backward looking philosophy of our so-called leaders. Hopefully Worst Street will introduce us to the winner as soon as possible.
Our mention last Friday that at least South Holland District Council had remembered to remind people that the day was the last on which to submit comments on the South Lincolnshire Local Plan clearly struck a chord in Worst Street. No sooner had our piece appeared, than a reminder popped up on the borough council website – and shortly afterwards was lifted by the Boston sub-Standard, for whom Worst Street writes much of its “news.”
Finally, proof that someone in Worst Street does read Boston Eye…
In December we drew attention to just one of many signs are around the place which have become open air Petri dishes for mould and dirt.
So, it was interesting to see some action at long last – as our before and after photo shows.
All it took was a bucket and some warm soapy water – although we suspect that Worst Street would have preferred another task and finish group to deal with the problem.
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