Monday, 19 March 2018
Now that all the bluffing and waffling has been turned into numbers it’s at last possible to find out how much council tax we’ll be paying in the year ahead.
Until the final figures are known the tendency is to tell voters that their contribution will only be x-pence a week – and pitching the number as low as possible.
And in Boston – as with all other councils – for some complicated reason the proposed increase is always given as that for a Band D property … whilst most Boston taxpayers are in Band A.
Tax rates vary between the parishes and the Boston special expense area – aka BTAC-ky – where a Band A property will pay £1,136.33 for the year ahead.
That’s an increase of £52 – or 4.5% – compared with an inflation rate of 2.7% in January.
We already know that we will get little or nothing for the extra money – Worst Street has pared its responsibilities to the bone and will soon be looking at the idea of hiving off its leisure and cultural services (along with at least 70 jobs) to a charitable trust.
But at least BTAC-ky residents have got off a little more lightly this time after the two previous years which saw hikes of 182.5% and 94.6%.
Around the county, Boston Borough Council’s tax rate is the third highest of the seven districts – coming after Lincoln in top place with West Lindsey second.
Quite why it needs all this is something of a mystery, since it has adopted the policy of charging more doing for less for quite some time now.
And despite the fact that the least most of us can hope for is another £1 a week overall, Worst Street still loves to demand money with menaces …
Accompanying the council tax bill is a leaflet produced by Boston Big Local – which is of course not supposed to spend money on tasks which are the job of the council – that fairly bristles with threats in the name of Worst Street’s waste and environmental crime departments.
At the cheap end of the penalty scale we’re warned that dropping a fag end will mean a fine of £75, moving up to £100 for not tidying up after your dog, £300 if someone you pay to cart rubbish away dumps it instead, and at the top of the list £400 for fly tipping.
All of these are, of course, anti-social acts whose perpetrators deserve a penalty. But the warnings are insensitive to say the least when they accompany a demand for hundreds of pounds for a decreasing level of “service.”
This is, of course, the Worst Street way of doing things – what we have previously called the iron fist in the iron glove approach.
The building in question is the middle of the small row in this photo from Google street view.
Cases such as these crop up from time to time and have a language all their own.
We were told that the UPVC windows were “an unsympathetic alteration” and that traditional timber-framed windows were required “in keeping with the special historic and architectural character of the listed building.”
The building was listed in 1975 and is one in a terrace of the shops. It was built in the mid-18th century with alterations in the 19th and 20th.
Yes, we know that alterations were made without permission sand that the building is listed.
But can anyone point out its special historic and architectural character to us, please? The windows of the shops on either side are indistinguishable from plastic – and one has been filled in.
If the look of the buildings is so important, then why have the powers that be not addressed the issue of the signage on them – which could scarcely be said to be “in keeping” with much at all.
This is a building that is beyond the pale as far as we are concerned – but that won’t get in the way of Worst Street when it comes to being big, bold and brave instead of commonsensical
Ironically, we hear that at the same time that Worst Street was getting heavy with one of its taxpayers, it was also treating a councillor similarly.
A little bird tells us that an important councillor – well, a member of the cabinet, anyway – was incandescent with rage recently over an episode on the Worst Street car park.
This particular councillor has, we were told, long been an advocate of allocated parking places at the rear of the council offices for the senior officers and leader of the council – and recently spaces were allocated to these various lofty holders of office.
Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago when some interloper had the temerity to park in one of these places without holding the required senior office.
The order went out to send for a Civil Enforcement Officer (traffic warden to the uninitiated) and a penalty charge notice (ticket) was issued and slapped on the vehicle.
Ironically, we are told that is then emerged that the owner of the car was none other than the campaigner for the issuing of exclusive parking rights to those on high – who had nipped into town for a bit of shopping, so could not even claim to be on council business at the time ...
It’s five weeks ago today that an extraordinary council demanded the resignation of the mayor Councillor Brian Rush following a kangaroo court that had made its mind up before the meeting even started.
Last week a story appeared yet again with copies of the various undated Facebook entries that prompted this demand – and again reminding us that they were “revealed” by Boston Borough Council leader Michael Cooper.
The previous time it appeared was a fortnight before on 26th February – which itself was a fortnight on from the original meeting date.
Surely, it’s now time to consider the case closed on this unfortunate business – which has done more to damage the image of Boston Borough Council than anything else.
The publication of KPMG’s external Audit Plan for Boston Borough Council features what the powers that be probably assume features an impressive cover which is presumably intended to be interpreted in all manner of inspiring ways
Our interpretation was that some wag with a slightly perverse sense of humour was trying to imply that the bottom line at Worst Street was that you can’t see the woods for the trees!
Even though it’s getting a little late in the day, next week’s meeting of BTAC-ky is expected to discuss how to move forward on the success of last year’s Christmas lights display.
The item has been postponed twice already – and next week’s meeting could well prove interesting.
We expect that a long running internecine war between members of the original ‘civilian’ group that delivered last year’s lights to come to a head.
In a nutshell, a row broke out after some members of the group felt that they should share the money left over from the project – something that others said was contrary to the group’s constitution.
The wannas then effectively declared themselves a separate group which voted to expel all the people who didn’t agree with them.
Since then matters have advanced apace.
A letter from local businessman Darron Abbott who was – and considers that he still is – the Christmas in Boston group’s treasurer has been sent to Boston Chief Executive Phil Drury, summarising events.
Updating matters, he claims the group’s bank was persuaded to remove him as a signatory, and that Boston Borough Council has since paid an amount equal to the surplus repaid to BTAC-ky under the heading of a “loan” to one of the newly-created committee members.
How on earth next week’s BTAC-ky meeting will tiptoe through this minefield is anyone’s guess as we have been told that no decision has yet been on who is to be tasked with the job of lighting the town this year – even though monies appear to have been paid to a new group that has been created without any discussion with or authorisation from BTAC.
Meanwhile, as the Santa Claws are flexed by the ghost of Christmas Farce, we understand that all this to-ing and fro-ing has meant a tough time for the BTAC committee chairman Councillor Nigel Welton – who is also the portfolio holder for Boston town centre.
We understand that he has been subject to a barrage of bullying, harassment and threats but has taken this as part of the ‘rough and tumble’ of politics.
We think that bullying and threats go far beyond what might be defined as rough and tumble – and that Boston Borough Council in recent months has descended to the lowest level that we have seen since we started writing about it all those years ago.
It looks as if poor old Boston has been left in the cold once again – and that it has nothing to do with the weather either
Beneath the headline Lincolnshire will receive a slice of £1 million to enhance its tourism offer to European visitors a recent news report told us that following a bid for funding, the East of England Touring Route project – which includes Lincolnshire – has received £1 million from Discover England.
The new East of England Touring Route is a 300-mile journey that spans the length of Eastern England from London to Northumberland.
And where will it take us?
“In Lincolnshire it will encourage overseas tourists to visit Lincoln Castle and Cathedral, Doddington Hall, Stokes Coffee at The Lawn, International Bomber Command Centre, take part in the Mayflower Trail and visit Gainsborough Old Hall, as well as other attractions and accommodation close to the A1 road in Sleaford and Stamford.”
The bid to the government’s Discover England Fund was supported by the Visit Lincoln group.
What, we wonder, were members of the Visit Boston UK doing while all this was going on?
Boston Borough Council has more than its fair share of well-paid officers who are supposed to be across this sort of thing – but yet again, we a left out.
And when we do get a bit of wide-scale publicity, things seem to backfire.
A recent item in the Sunday Times – titled 50 cool cottages – included The Flour Mill …a one bedroom holiday spot to rent in the Maud Foster.
It was described thus …
What on earth are they talking about?
If you have a long memory, you’ll recall that it was two years ago this month since the Sunday Times last featured the Flour Mill – when it said …
At least Boston is no longer referred to as small.
Whilst it’s tempting to regard the Times pieces as inaccurate and lazy, the true culprit is the holiday website whose descriptions of the area should also be taken with a pinch of salt!
Finally, we bid farewell to Sir Richard Body, who has died aged 90, and who represented us in parliament as MP for Holland with Boston from 1966 to 1997, and then for Boston and Skegness from 1997 until he stood down in 2001 – bequeathing us Mark Simmonds as his successor … although we were told that he had serious misgivings about this choice.
Sir Richard was a great character who knew and spoke his mind and wouldn’t kow-tow to the Conservatives’ every whim despite being a dyed in the wool Tory.
Would that we had more MPs of his character in parliament today rather than the Walter-type softies to whom he then played Dicky the Menace.
We well remember a day back in the early 1980s when a colleague at Radio Lincolnshire thought that he had cleverly cornered Sir Richard into admitting that he wrote the controversial farming column Muckspreader in the satirical magazine Private Eye.
Sir Richard’s response was to tell our hack that he was banning the radio station from talking to him for six months.
When the news editor called him to try to persuade Sir Richard that this would be a bad move in PR terms, the MP doubled the penalty – and stuck to it!
You would expect nothing less from a descendant of the great agricultural reformer, Jethro Tull. Another ancestor was a 17th-century MP who was hanged for rebellion.
Sadly, poor old Sir Richard will more likely remember by an insulting quote from Sir John Major who said: “Every time I hear the name Body, I hear the sound of white coats flapping.”
Sir Richard, of course was famed as a loyal; supporter of Margaret Thatcher.
Easter falls a little early and a little awkwardly this year – so we will be taking a two-week break and will return on 9th April – unless something important happens.
Don’t forget you can e-mail or Tweet us at any time with information, a questions or anything else for that matter.
E– mails will be treated in confidence and published anonymously if requested.
We are on Twitter – visit @eye_boston
Monday, 12 March 2018
Before we collapse into a heap of gibbering ecstasy at the news of a “shopping village” for Boston, let us remember that there have been many planning slips ‘twixt cup and lip over the years in the town.
It’s one thing to seek to turn a chunk of derelict land into a glittering shoppers’ paradise – but between the wish and the ribbon-cutting ceremony lies a road littered with potholes and possible setbacks.
The application in question is for the demolition of properties in Strait Bargate and Wide Bargate with the NCP Red Lion Street car park being built over to create what we would term a ‘precinct’ rather than a ‘village’ – comprising 14 shops, two restaurants and 15 flats.
When recently advertised, the asking price for the lot was £3,250,000 plus VAT.
For lovers of jargon, a statement by the development company behind the application – Texas Group PLC, which is based in Eccles, Manchester – says: “The scheme is intended to provide a mix of buildings, spaces and uses which fills an existing void in the urban fabric of Boston and opens up pedestrian links through this space to fragmented areas of the town.
“The design will provide high quality, contemporary buildings which respond and complement the existing conservation area and surrounding historic buildings without resorting to pastiche.”
On the company website, we are told: “As a family owned business we are able to take long term strategic decisions for the greater good of our family members and our family of customers. This is because we value the service we provide to our tenants, with many of them looking to build and grow their businesses with our ready and willing support within the many buildings we have in our portfolio ...”
“… our head office in Eccles … supports, monitors and manages the group's diverse property portfolio, extending the same degree of attention and value to the person with one desk on a monthly requirement through to those clients who seek larger premises with the security of holding a long-term lease.
“No customer has the same needs, our longstanding experience in the market tells us that, but we aim to please.”
“ … The group prides itself on acquiring stagnating assets, which using flair and imagination are refurbished and restructured to provide modern day working environments.”
It all sounds a bit like a Waterfall Plaza II.
All of this took our mind back almost a decade, when Worst Street was whooping and leaping about Merchants Quay – the position of the apostrophe along with the rest of it, was never finalised – an £80 million plan intended to revitalise a 12-acre area, stretching from West Street to Lincoln Lane and including a 60,000 sq. ft. department store, a food store, eight major space units, 17 other units of various sizes, a new ‘riverside restaurant quarter,’ a 700 space gold standard car park, more than 100 new city-style apartments, an hotel and a new iconic pedestrian bridge to the town centre.
Sadly the idea came at the wrong time as the economy hit problems and the shop which was to provide the ‘anchor’ for the development – Debenhams – pulled out.
Soon afterwards the developer – Modus – went out of business, and remnants of its plans were taken on by another company but Boston was again left out in the cold.
But we still remember the words of the mayor of the day Councillor Peter Jordan, who was also the deputy leader of the Boston Bypass Independent – when he famously described Modus as “a wonderful company. They are the sort of straight dealers I want to be in bed with.”
The current application is not the first for this site – there have been at least two others going back as far as 1988.
In each case it would appear that objections were made by the borough’s planners and endorsed by the planning committee, as both applications were withdrawn – in one case five years after it was submitted.
Another was withdrawn at the appeal stage – which suggests that the would-be developers felt that
Worst Street was being a bit heavy-handed
in its refusal of permission to build.
Perish the thought.
Nonetheless, Boston Borough council does have something of a history when it comes to fannying around with applications whose basic intention is to make the town a more attractive place.
The was the almost comic messing about with the application for the ASDA store off Sleaford Road, which appeared to be delayed forever because a monkey puzzle tree was in the garden of a listed building that needed to be demolished for the traffic plan.
Then there was all the to-ing and fro-ing over the original application to build a Lidl store in Tawney Street that would have seen the demolition of the former Bedworld eyesore.
Despite the appalling state of the site and its surroundings, bizarrely it was located in a conservation area, which prompted planners to suggest that the height of the building should be lowered by a few inches so as not to spoil the view of Boston Stump.
And there was the famous quote by Conservative Independent Councillor Alison Austin, who appeared to object to the social class of the application (which is nothing to do with planning decisions) when she declared “Boston deserves better.”
Whilst permission was grudgingly granted, Lidl thought long and hard before finding an out of town site to build on – leaving the Tawney Street eyesore in an even more shabby condition.
Whilst fourteen new shops for the town are to be welcomed, we have to wonder what sort of shops they might be.
Let’s not forget that over time we have lost high street names such as the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Shop, McKay’s, Milletts, Thornton’s, Jessops, QD – so it seems unlikely that they will be planning a comeback …whilst our only in-town supermarket on the Boston Shopping Park morphed from Asda to Netto to Morrisons, before becoming a second Iceland store.
The council's Economic Development Officer, Clive Gibbon, has already made comment on the plans according to a local report.
“The council’s economic plan clearly sets out a vision ‘to create a strong, successful and resilient economy that works for all by positioning the borough as a destination of choice for investing, working, living and visiting.’
“Our plan clearly supports this level of investment and the employment growth leveraged through the application and if successful will have important benefits not just for the town of Boston, but shared more widely across the whole local economy.”
We echo those sentiments, as at long last Boston could be in line for something by way of improvement – but not without a careful balancing act.
This is the time to turn our back on all the past messing around that has left the town with such a poor shopping offer.
We should decide here and now that we do not need any more vaping shops, or charity shops or mobile phone shops or coffee shops.
This is a chance to take back the town and begin to shape it to our liking, and there is ample time to try to find out how to use the planning laws in our favour to do so.
We must unravel the mind-set in the planning office which always approves applications “with conditions” – and we must get the members of the planning committee to work for the good of the town … not nit-pick or turn their noses up at something they deem infra dig.
Our piece last week about a bypass for the town did not go unnoticed.
Former Independent Boston Borough Councillor Richard Leggott e-mailed to say: “It’s nice to hear that representation on the possibility of a bypass/distributor road is continuing.
“I say continuing as that is all it is.
“A further round in talks with Lincolnshire County Council that have been taking place since, if my failing memory serves me correctly this time, 1999-2000.
“The Boston team at these BBC/LCC talks was led by Joyce Dobson, and included several other councillors.
“At the time, we felt that progress – in the shape of a route/discussion/rejection/
agreement/variation was a good start.
“Of course there was always the thorny problem of finance through regional (does anyone recall or grieve at the passing of the Regional Assemblies?)/LCC channels to be dealt with.
“I can remember one alternative route put forward was to use London Road, put a spur/bridge off it over the Haven, and take that through the dock with an exit from the dock area to join up with A52 east of Boston.
“I do recall that this suggestion was not supported very strongly at county by our local county councillors at the time.
“Whether this was the sole cause of its failure I do not know.
“Various other routes were also researched.
“Part of the solution to acquiring any necessary finance was to put the right label on the project that would attract EU funds also.
“Thus when the scheme finally broke into public view it carried the Enterprise Corridor tag – Enterprise being the EU flavour of the time.
“The noticeable and to some, unacceptable, omission of the word bypass in any title led to the formation of that great Boston disaster – no, not the Tea Party – the Bypass Party.
The pressure group 38degrees is promoting a campaign to provide accommodation for the homeless in Lincolnshire.
A spokesman for Boston Borough Council said they accommodated ten homeless people overnight on February 28th – the worst night of the big freeze – and added: "No rough sleeper was refused accommodation.
Without question, no-one should have to sleep rough – especially during appalling conditions such as those we saw recently
But we have noticed a recent arrival of people whose genuineness we would query.
On one recent market day, we noticed no fewer than five sleeping bags and their occupants on the streets in waking and working hours at the same time – on the Town Bridge, outside KFC, outside Marks and Spencer, outside Oldrids and outside McColls.
Each was well bundled up with a metal begging bowl in front of them and in some cases sound asleep.
Were they homeless or not?
At one time we saw two occupants of one site swap places – perhaps to keep fresh faces in the system.
On another occasion – a Sunday morning – we saw a group of about half a dozen walking into town each armed with the necessary sleeping materials and on other occasions have seen what looks like a management meeting outside McColls as the shops are opening on a Sunday morning.
By an interesting co-incidence two towns have been in the news recently because they are taking action against people they believe are professional beggars rather than genuinely homeless.
Police in Ely – one of England’s smallest cities have urged people not to give beggars their money, insisting none of them are genuinely homeless.
Officers said those who claimed to be sleeping rough were actually fraudsters who were making “substantial amounts of money.”
They warned that kind hearted and well-meaning people were in danger of being misled and said if they wanted to offer beggars something it should be food or a hot drink, rather than cash.
Meanwhile a campaign has been launched in Torquay to deter street sleepers accused of being “fake homeless.”
Something like this will always be contentious – but unless we take the appropriate steps there is a serious risk that Boston will draw more and more people who are not homeless but after easy money to our streets and doorways.
In pursuit of the Worst Street motto Quoque Paulo Nimium Sero (too little, too late) we note the triumphal retweeting of a message from the organisation Love Your Local Market thanking the council for signing up.
This event will be staged between 17th and 31st May and has been running for the last six years.
We think this is the first time that Worst Street has got involved – despite our previous suggestions that it should … the first time being five years ago.
Kick a dinosaur in the tail and it will roar 20 minutes later – Worst Street is no different.
Finally – round about this time of year Boston Eye notches up its anniversary.
As far as we can recall the end of February/beginning of March saw the completion of 12 years’ blogging.
What will lucky thirteen have in store, we wonder?
E– mails will be treated in confidence and published anonymously if requested.
We are on Twitter – visit @eye_boston
Monday, 5 March 2018
The rubber stampers have bitten back at long last!
Our main story last week was about yet another attempt by Worst Street to hive off services to a third party – in this case leisure, culture and community services, including the Moulder Leisure Centre.
In the normal run of things the recommendation to start the ball rolling would have been nodded through by our supine councillors.
But the item – the final one of a meagre three on the agenda – by all accounts caused something of a hullabaloo before being abruptly withdrawn.
We’re told that not only was the portfolio holder Councillor Claire Rylott absent from the meeting, but that other councillors spoke out against the item on the grounds that the 1,800 word report was not thoroughly thought through and had come as something of a surprise.
Why they waited until this point in the meeting to raise their concerns is anyone’s guess – but we suspect that standard operating procedure among many councillors is to chuck agenda papers in their in-trays and wait until the night of a meeting before leafing through the contents.
During the debate members commented that consideration by an overview and scrutiny would be an appropriate first step in such a process.
We can’t help but agree.
As we said last week there are more implications than saving money to farming out the Moulder Leisure Centre, along with responsibility for heritage, the Guildhall, tourism, sports and play, events (including BTAC which has only just taken on new responsibilities), the May Fair – and community support projects including “controlling migration”
Almost as an aside, the report noted “The council is aware a proposal will have implications for its staff.
“Staff and staff side representatives will be fully briefed and consulted on an on-going basis as the proposal develops and be a key stakeholder in the shaping of a final proposal which is in the best interests of the Borough Council and its residents.”
This echoes the council standard approach to consultation – i.e. ask … then do exactly as you intended all along, only this time, more than 70 jobs are involved.
One reader who knows about this sort of thing got in touch after the report to say:
“I was interested to see Boston Borough Council have decided to go with Magna Vitae which means the residents of East Lindsey will keep any profit or pay for any loss – I don’t suppose they were consulted on that!
“I wonder why they have decided to negotiate a deal rather than a more formal (costs but open and transparent) tender.
“At the moment councils are getting really good deals financially when they do this and with the country’s biggest provider, Greenwich Leisure, already running libraries and taking over leisure in North Kesteven in April they would have had a good chance of a low bid – and Greenwich Leisure are not 1Life (which operates the PRSA,) they have a good track record.
“More to the point, as has occurred at many other authorities, the real saving is in merging the officers of East Lindsey and Boston Borough Council (I’m strangely not aware of members ever doing this,) so only one Chief Executive for a start would save £100,000.
“Also the positive is with a larger (than individually but smaller than the current combined if that makes sense) officer core you can afford a decent structure. The shortage of planners nationally means to get a well-qualified head planner costs but shared across two authorities is a reasonable price.
“It seems like a half-grasped nettle, one that Peter Bedford would not allow to be touched but now only half way.”
In most acrimonious debates there comes a time when the participants decide to call it a day and that common-sense decrees it’s best to bury the hatchet.
And in the case of the social media charges against Boston Mayor Councillor Brian Rush, as least one person seems determined to just that – just so long as the hatchet was firmly buried between the Mayor’s shoulder blades.
A lengthy report on the local news website Lincolnshire Reporter last week lumped together entry after entry purportedly from Councillor Rush’s Facebook page – even going so far as to offer interpretation of the entries concerned.
Lincolnshire Reporter is a reputable news source which has been published since 2016 and is a sister title to The Lincolnite and Lincolnshire Business – and certainly no Flash Harry of local news sites.
But having said, that it underwent a frothing-at-the-mouth moment when gifted a shedload of the Mayor’s alleged iniquities on a plate.
Beneath a picture which we hope was not deliberately chosen to show the Mayor in the-not-very-best-possible-light, we were told that: “Controversial comments made by the Mayor of Boston about his political colleagues and Muslims entering the UK can now be revealed.”
The “now” in question was late afternoon last Monday – just a few hours ahead of the full council meeting that evening … and a good time for anyone who wants to disinter bad news with a virtual wooden spoon.
But what really struck a bum note with us was the disclosure that: “Lincolnshire Reporter received paper copies of the comments made by the Mayor Brian Rush from Boston Borough Council leader Michael Cooper, and scanned them for use online.
Councillor Cooper was the man who proposed the move demand that the Mayor resigned – and ended up with egg on his face because even though councillors backed his call … underpinned by a threat to withdraw administrative support if he refused – the reality was that nothing would actually change, after Councillor Rush refused to quit.
But Councillor Cooper – whose other claim to fame is to run a bubble car museum in Langrick – was apparently not keen to let matters rest … hence his contribution to the Lincolnshire Reporter.
The website reproduced reams of scans – some of which appear to less than polite – but none of which are dated … or really terribly offensive.
Among the various arguments put forward after the hoo-ha about the Mayor’s use of social media was launched was the issue of when they were published.
Supporters of the Mayor said that many of the allegedly offensive comments appeared before Councillor Rush was in office – and more significantly noted that his remarks were made on his personal page … and not any kind of civic outlet.
In other words … he was writing as a private citizen – Mr Brian Rush – and ought not to see his remarks conflated with his role as Mayor.
Regular readers will recall that in May last year, a row erupted after the then newly-appointed leader Cooper was said to have expressed his feelings over remarks by council critic Darron Abbott about his non-dom status. – he lives in East Lindsey whilst representing a Boston ward – by nobbling a friend of Mr Abbott’s at a drinks bash in a pub away from Worst Street after the announcement of his appointment and telling him …
"The next time you see your f*****g mate Darron Abbott tell him that if he puts anything else on Facebook I will punch him in the f*****g face."
But when Mr Abbott formally complained about this, part of Worst Street’s response made a sharp distinction between a leader at work and a leader at play.
It said that the alleged comment was made at least an hour after the council meeting closed, and was in a town centre pub – not the Municipal Buildings.
The alleged comment was made in a social gathering of mixed company – defined in this case as a mix of political views and not solely a Conservative meeting and a mix of both councillors and non-councillors.
Worst Street’s response concluded: “For further clarity, the content of the statement made by Mr Cooper is irrelevant for my purposes, as at the time of the incident he was Mr Cooper not Councillor Cooper …
In that case, one might think that the adage ‘what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander’ should apply – the definition being that if one person is allowed to do something or to behave in a particular way, then another person must be allowed to do that thing or behave in that way, too if the circumstances are the same.
And surely Mayors have time off and a private life as well as well.
Forget it! – this is Worst Street.
Far better, we think to suggest to Councillor Cooper in language that he might possibly understand that he admits: “Isetta goal to sack the Mayor but made a Messerschmitt of it.”
And then he should call it a day.
We reported last week the “update” by Boston MP Matt Warman on progress towards a bypass for Boston.
Almost immediately afterwards Councillor Alison Austin announced her praise for Mr Warman on the bypass issue with a question to county council executive member for highways and transportation, Richard Davies.
What kind of black magic she weaves to get a question in at every meeting still baffles us.
And what a shame it is that her Boston peers so conspicuously fail to do likewise.
Quoting a headline from the Boston Target (Let’s get on with it – MP’s promise to make town’s bypass happen) she asked Councillor Davies if he shared Mr Warman’s optimism – and received a paean of praise in response.
“Isn’t it nice that we have a fresh-faced enthusiastic MP who’s vociferously campaigning for his local area …?” oozed Councillor Davies
“If anybody can make it happen I think Matt Warman can. He is constantly badgering myself and (leader) Martin Hill (and) as recently as last Friday met to talk about this and other transport issues.
“As you may be aware, we’re already had our inaugural meeting of the transport and transport pressure group in conjunction with Boston Borough Council. We’re looking at not only the delivery of the bypass but other improvements built on what we’ve already done over the past ten years in the town.
“I know that you’re a very vociferous campaigner and won’t allow me to take my foot off the pedal.
“Certainly we’re committed to the bypass, er, the distributor road, and I think that if anybody can bring up that key link which has to be that slug of government money to make it happen as we know, then Matt Warman is your man.”
A couple of points here …
Everything was going so well until Councillor Davies seemed to realise that he was making use of the B-word, and so slipped in the modifying “ … er, the distributor road” lest our hopes be raised and his comments come back to haunt him.
Secondly, he mentioned the transport and transport pressure group in conjunction with Boston Borough Council and its inaugural meeting – something that we haven’t heard about, and which is proving elusive to track down.
Perhaps something by way of detail would be helpful, Councillor Davies?
At least Councillor Davies seems to be changing his tune a little.
A couple of years ago he scoffed at the idea of a bypass, er distributor road, because the latest transport assessment showed inbound, not on-going through traffic using Boston’s roads.
When we pointed out that Boston is the main through road to Skegness which must count for something, as hundreds of thousands of people pay the resort a visit each year, he said: “I understand what you mean but surveys and sampling confirmed it. It's being looked at but traffic movements are key.”
He added that an analysis of a survey had shown that 82% of vehicle movements ended up in Boston, with only 18% passing through – something that we still find almost impossible to believe.
Councillor Davies said that another other “huge” problem was low land values, which limit developer contributions.
After some searching, we found on page 234 of the 308 page subtly-named “South East Lincolnshire Local Plan Strategy and Policies Development Plan Document Combined Preferred Options and Sustainability Appraisal Report Full Consultation Document (May 2013)” the news that: “Whilst the Boston Distributor Road remains an aspiration, it is unlikely to come forward in its entirety in the plan period.
“However, there is potential for future development at Boston town to contribute to a ‘first phase’ of a new piece of highway infrastructure, although there is no underlying evidence to draw on relating to this at present.
“There is no evidence to suggest the implementation of a Boston distributor road is critical for the delivery of the growth strategy for Boston to 2031.”
That’s at least thirteen years away – at least three more general elections – by which time the fresh-faced Virgo Mr Warman (you are greatly appreciated for your generosity, discipline and quick mind) will be 49 and this Scorpio writer (often has trust issues and can be highly suspicious of everything)
will be long dead and past caring – and we’ll all be using drones instead of cars in any case.
will be long dead and past caring – and we’ll all be using drones instead of cars in any case.
Finally, we’ve said it before – but it’s always interesting to see our point proved.
As road users around the county struggled to cope with some of the worst weather conditions for many years last week, Clownty Hall made its position crystal clear.
Lincoln always comes first.
Around the same time the A16 between Boston and Skegness was closed – as were many other county roads.
We accept that prioritising is an almost impossible task in such conditions.
So why single Lincoln out for special treatment?
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