Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Worst Street kept
hands in pockets
as markets declined

Our friends at the Boston Town Area Committee – affectionately known as BTAC-ky – meet tonight with the usual lacklustre agenda.
But as we have seen before this often hides a wealth of activity on the night – which recently has included unauthorised activity by the committee in doubling its council tax levy to fund items that are the responsibility of the full council.
Tonight’s agenda also includes the minutes of the February meeting – in which there is a report by the self-appointed top secret Prosperous Boston task and finish group.
And it turns out to be quite an eye-opener insofar as it highlights just how much Worst Street has taken its eye off the ball where some of the town’s important services and attractions are concerned.
A number of concerns about of the lack of toilet provision have arisen since the council sold the Assembly Rooms jakes.
Our suggestion is in the picture on the left – a French style pissoir ... they don't get much cheaper than that!
Despite the fact that Worst Street tirelessly repeats the manta that toilet provision is “not a statutory requirement” BTAC-ky has been asked by the group to look at provision for this part of the town, either by converting council owned premises or through an arrangement with retailers such as a community toilet scheme. 
This comes as the self-same group has hinted that its recommendations a year or so from now might include doing away with council provided loos entirely.
Then there’s a possible radical overhaul of the town’s markets – including combining the Market Place and Bargate Green on a single site in Wide Bargate on Saturdays – similar to its relocation from the Market Place while Clownty Hall converted the area into a replica of the courtyard at Colditz Castle.
Apparently the main market traders have reported a decrease in trade; on Bargate Green they are said to be “struggling,” and the Farmer’s Market has “decided they would no longer be coming to Boston.”
At the same meeting BTAC was asked to consider setting up a regular litter-picking group “in the same way as parish councils” – even though this is a facility that is theoretically already provided and paid for through our general council taxation. 
One suggestion is to pay two Placecheck teams to collect litter – which could seriously undermine the concept of voluntary working.
A whole raft of costs are to be investigated – but the most serious thing to have emerged from the meeting is how Boston Borough Council has apparently not been unduly bothered about a steady decline in the markets – which are a huge point of sale for visitors to the town – until we are nearing a crisis point.
The idea of combining the markets in Wide Bargate would apparently vacate Grey Square so it could become “a successful venue from the events space with 1-2 events per week throughout the summer to draw in visitors.”
Somehow, we can’t see this happening.
Meanwhile – and without any apparent sense of irony, the meeting decided to fund a report – preferably involving consultants – on schemes to enable members to make “a proper judgement from the full information.”  The report could include the potential for tourist events. 
Presumably any report could draw from sources such as Place making in Boston – produced by Locum Consulting and sponsored by Lincolnshire County Council in 2010, and the earlier Boston Town Centre Study report by Tribal Consulting in 2007.
We always enjoy a good consultants’ report – they’re such fun to ignore

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