Wednesday, 6 April 2016

In a secret location on the Takindamikki Game Reserve at Freiston Shore, the latest member of the Worst Street menagerie is doing well – and growing bigger by the hour.
The baby white elephant named Biomass is thriving on the same diet of green stuff that helped make the Moulder Leisure Centre and the PRSA the money pits that they are today.
The birth was not an easy one because – not unusually – Worst Street cocked it up.
Late last year the borough came up with a cunning plan to spend £456,000 on biomass energy efficiency measures at the PRSA and the Moulder – to generate huge savings and profits which among other things would be used to tart up the PRSA– and make it sexy enough to lure an outside operator to take it over and send this particular albatross plummeting to the depths of the shiny sea.
As with an earlier purchase of solar panels, everything was done in a hurry because of fears that subsidies might be cut,
The outcome?  An “increase in estimates following two tendering exercises,” and “revisions” to initial plans called for a larger capacity biomass boiler at PRSA “to facilitate future initiatives.” and essential replacement of pumps at GMLC.”
Whilst words can never hurt, their meanings often do otherwise – and we saw the estimated costs rise by 64%, from £456,000 to £749,000 – with a rejigged estimate of the so-called “profits” as a damage limitation exercise.
This happened despite a similar bodge-up with the installation of solar panels at the Moulder Leisure centre.
So urgent was the need to install  them that the full council was bypassed and denied a say, but someone had overlooked the fact that it took between 45 and 60 days to process the applications – so the deadline was missed in any case and a hoped for 32.9p payment for selling surplus electricity fell to 15.2p.
Now the invoices are starting to come in for Worst Street’s next Cunning Plan.

The ink is scarcely dry on the council minutes approving this debacle in the making than £270,000 has been forked out to get the project rolling.
It could be still more – even in these early days – as you will see that whilst the list includes £70,000 for “Boston Biomass Boilers Valuation 2” we can find no trace of an earlier transaction numbered Valuation 1.
Let us also not forget the very worrying admission at the last full council meeting when the question of how much the biomass fuel would cost to heat the PRSA – which is now run by someone else, and therefore no longer a burden on the taxpayers (!) – and the Geoff Moulder Centre (which isn’t) and who would be paying for it.
The answer was that Boston Borough Council  would be paying, and that a “procurement process”  was underway – which means that the scheme is being started and money spent without a clue as to how much the bill to run it will be.
So often in the past, Worst Street has taken a ball park figure as a safe estimate of costs.
And so often in the past it has turned out to be exactly that – a load of balls
At this stage, it might be helpful to know that biomass essentially comprises unwanted and useless wood – so if supplies ever run short, the Worst Street cabinet could be added to the furnace.

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