This time last week we mentioned that our inflexible and indifferent council just couldn’t be bothered when it came to joining the rest of the country in the Clean for the Queen event to tidy the place up for HM’s birthday. Instead Worst Street is treading the well-worn and now rather dull path of the Big Boston Clean-up – prefixed this year with the words Right Royal and completely wrongly styled as being by royal appointment as a nod to the Truly Big Event.
Indifference remains the order of the day for this weekend – Discover Lincolnshire Weekend 2016 – when attractions around the county open their doors for free, and stage a host of events. If you’re out and about there are lots of things to do in places such as Lincoln, Gainsborough, Seaford, Louth and Skegness – and many smaller towns and villages.
But sadly, that poor old wallflower named Boston is sitting the dance out yet again.
Having said that – if you see lots of activity in the town tomorrow it will be supporters of the Brexit from Europe making their presence felt. Councillor Brian Rush. UKIP Leader, on Boston Borough Council, said the town was joining “hundreds” of others across the country in the anti-EU demonstration.
“We are meeting in the rear car park of the Municipal Buildings and going out to the nearby neighbourhoods of the town wards, handing out leaflets as we go, and culminating at the Ingram Memorial in Town,” he said
“All other ‘out’ groups and helpers are welcome to join us in what is intended to be a peaceful demonstration, to get our politicians to take our country out of the European Union, for our own governance!
“’Vote Leave’ are the organisers of this protest, but any group with peace-loving intentions will be welcome to attend.”
New research by the Taxpayers’ Alliance has revealed the full cost of payments to local councillors – two thirds of a billion pounds over three years. The TPA says that many councillors receive modest allowances appropriate to the work they do but the variation in what is paid to those in similar roles is significant.
Looking at the figures, it would seem that Boston Borough Council falls into the ‘cheap’ (thought they would say ‘value for money’) category with the following figures published.
It’s interesting to note from these that although our rank and file councillors’ expenses have stayed the same for two consecutive years; the so-called leader ‘Nipper’ Bedford has received an annual rise – the most recent being almost 10%.
The TPA says: “In an era of increasing pressure on local authority resources, it is essential that every penny is spent wisely and above inflation rises in payments to councillors are difficult to justify.”
Hard on the heels of last week’s planned announcement to turn the former County Hall annexe into shops and flats, we hear of another big idea – this time for the Grade II* listed 172 year-old Sessions House. Reports say that as local businessman is hoping to turn the old court into an entertainment or wedding venue.
If this happens, we hope that the utmost care is taken. The listing accompanying the Tudor Gothic style building remarks on its finely detailed interiors, and calls it an accomplished example of a mid-19th century law court, “demonstrating the typically complex circulation routes, courtroom layout, and suite of Magistrate’s rooms.” I is also remarkably intact. “The plan form, and interior fixtures and fittings, notably in the courtroom and Magistrate’s rooms, have survived virtually unaltered.”
To us, this sounds like a building better suited to life as an historic attraction perhaps incorporating “living” educational facilities rather than yet another wedding venue or night club – something which might help draw the much needed visitors who can help revitalise the town.
As Boston appears on the verge of acquiring yet another entertainment venue, we read that in Bourne (population 11,933) approval is expected for a new Lidl supermarket. Permission was originally granted last year since when the company has reapplied for an even bigger store.
Meanwhile, in Boston (population 58,124) there is still no word on whether we are to get a Lidl in Tawney Street or not. For some time now, the company is said to have been “reviewing” its plans – a year after being grudgingly granted permission after the usual meddling by Worst Street and sneering from local councillors.
Planners wanted the roofline tweaking by a few inches to improve the view of the Stump in a conservation area that has become a total eyesore in recent years.
And one councillor in particular – Conservative Independent Alison Austin – was quoted as saying: “I feel like everyone is sitting, grinning and bearing it but we do not have to do this.
“We should say what we would like done to our town as Boston deserves better.”
In Bourne by contrast, about 1,000 people attended a public consultation on the plan and Bourne Town Council went on record to say it considered the new supermarket would be an asset to the town
Congratulations to our local MP, Matt Warman, who chose a parliamentary debate on International Women's Day to tell his colleagues: “On around 22nd June this year, I am due to become a father for the first time. Worryingly, he added … “ it is not yet clear whether this baby girl's middle name would best be Europa or Brexit ...”
ANY other suggestions welcome Please!
Boston’s bad luck with good publicity continues.
Last week’s Sunday Times travel section published a guide to “60 cool cottages, hotels and campsites to book now.”
Imagine our delight when we saw a local landmark that all Bostonians will instantly recognise.
But then we read the following lines …
“The small market town of Boston is just down the canal towpath.”
This says a lot about how poorly Boston is promoted by the people whose job it is purported to be – and we’ll have more on that next week.
Apparently, our patience in repeatedly asking about the appointment of a newly created £65,000 a year “Head of Service Economic Development and Growth” will soon be rewarded. The post holder will have the 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 have expected that such a prestigious role (not to mention such a large salary) would have been a magnet for loads of wannabees.
In fact, we hear that there were only three applications – one which was not taken any further, and that the appointment will be announced soon of a candidate with Hanseatic connections from not a million miles away.
Finally, this week’s look at the Boston Beano’s claims to be “packed” with news about Worst Street scores 2.5 out of 5. The overgenerous halfway house rating is because two issues have nothing to do with the council, whilst a couple of others are borderline – including the flood registration “lottery” (which isn’t a lottery, and bars anyone prudent enough to have signed with the Environment Agency before this nonsense started.) Most interestingly – or least interestingly depending on how you look at it – the award for the star irrelevance of the week was an account of an “Ofsted style” inspection of a local nursery school. Whilst we wouldn’t suggest that if you report one such irrelevance you should report them all, it was noteworthy that the borough bulletin chose to publish a glowing report but ignore another that appeared at the same time (a real Ofsted report as well) which rated Boston Grammar School as “requiring improvement.” So, apart from not being “packed” with council news as promised, the council is not offering “warts and all coverage” – also as promised.
We’re back again on Tuesday
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