Wednesday, 19 April 2017


A former Boston Borough Council deputy leader has attacked the authority for wasting thousands of pounds after a two-year battle in which the council pursued a £25 parking fine that should never have been issued.
Local businessman Raymond Singleton-McGuire was given the ticket when he left his car in a council car park in 2014.
The car park was for use by councillors and staff only on weekdays – and although the ticket was issued for leaving his car outside the parking bay, Mr Singleton-McGuire argued that it should not have been dispensed in the first place.
The council’s Chief Executive at the time agreed to quash the ticket after it emerged that although the car park had been reclassified as public almost two years before, councillors and staff had not been told.
The council eventually let Mr Singleton-McGuire know a month after the ticket was issued.
Despite an apparent promise to quash the ticket, nothing was done
Repeated calls for action were ignored, and in desperation, Mr Singleton-McGuire went to the then council leader Peter Bedford for help.
“He told me that the reputation of Boston Borough Council and his party was at stake, and said that he had told officers not to communicate and spend any more time on the issue of the correct and proper procedure not being followed.
“This extended to freedom of information requests, without which my case in proving the council failed to follow the correct procedure was hampered. 
“This was clearly what appeared to be an unorthodox interference and inappropriate use of political power denying me my statutory rights.”
A traffic penalty tribunal adjudicator report said that although Mr Singleton-McGuire was told four months after the ticket was issued that it would be reviewed by the Central Ticket Office, this did not happen as the council did not provide the required information, and that he was deliberately not informed of the initial court date … which prevented him from appealing, and with the matter eventually ending up in the hands of bailiffs.
After constant persistence by Mr Singleton-McGuire through the judicial system, a case was eventually brought against Boston Borough Council for wasting time and inappropriate procedure, which was upheld.
Mr Singleton-McGuire asked for costs of almost £2,000, but these were rejected as this was not usual practice, and the adjudicator felt that the case could have been dealt with more quickly by both sides.
“Perhaps that might have been the case,” said Mr Singleton-McGuire. “But Boston Borough Council went out of its way to be difficult”.
“My claim for costs included 100 hours of my own time at just £5 an hour, which was a token charge rather than a realistic one”.
“But I know as a former portfolio holder for finance that the costs to the council taxpayer would have been much, much more – especially after dragging things out for more than two years, which makes me especially angry at the time when demands for even more council tax have been going out.”

***

Followers of Worst Street politics may have a sense of déjà vu after reading the above in the light of recent events.
Raymond Singleton-McGuire was the man behind the resounding Conservative victory of 2011 – which saw the party gain overall control of the borough for the first time since local government reorganisation in 1973.
In the circumstances, it might be expected that he would become the council leader … but that was not to be the case.

***

Soon after election he announced that he was standing down in favour of Councillor Peter Bedford.
Mr Singleton-McGuire told us at the tiime: "I did not fall nor was I pushed. I can understand that is what would appear to be the obvious conclusion everyone would perhaps make but they are most definitely wrong.
“Believe what you may, but having canvassed the group, I had the group’s support as leader, but under the circumstances asked that my vote should be given to Peter Bedford so I could devote more time to sorting out the mess that the BBI left the finances in!”
In a subsequent e-mail to all elected Tory members, he said: “I understand that there has been some concern within the group regarding my decision to stand down as Leader …
“I reflected on the situation at Boston Borough Council and its issues, especially the finances. In light of this, I set aside my personal gratification and tried to think what would be best for Boston.
“My intentions were to engage Peter Bedford as a second deputy similar to that at Lincolnshire County Council and South Holland District Council and to use his vast experience and ambassador qualities.
“Peter agreed to take over the leadership in the interim period, therefore releasing my time to concentrate on the Finance Portfolio.
“I hope this explains the significance of my decision as a positive and genuine reason for the future benefit of Boston Borough Council.”

***

However, Councillor Bedford’s “interim” leadership remained limpet-like – and clearly, relations between the leader and the many who gave him the job appear to have seriously soured because – in November 2014, Mr Singleton-McGuire was removed from his post.
In a statement, Worst Street said: “In the interests of transparency and good governance Councillor Peter Bedford, the leader of Boston Borough Council, has removed Councillor Raymond Singleton-McGuire from all cabinet and committee duties pending completion of proceedings relating to his personal business interests.
Mr Singleton-McGuire told a local “newspaper” that his removal from post was a decision made by the leader of Boston Borough Council “fuelled by various internal issues between the council and my own personal property business.”
He went on to say that his efforts to turn the council finances from a deficit left by the previous administration to a positive often encountered difficulties.
“The past three and a half years have been challenging, demanding and, at times, very obstructive when dealing with council members and staff …
And he continued: “My challenging approach about fundamentally incorrect systems, lack of transparency and scrutiny over financial and other matters has recently led to the leader blocking communication between myself and Boston Borough Council, forcing me to enlist the help of outside authorities such as the Information Commissioner’s Office, Local Government Association, Department for Communities and Local Government and Government Ombudsman.
“… to remove me as deputy leader and finance portfolio holder, in light of openness and transparency, does not reflect well in light of the above experiences.
“I am therefore unable to continue my allegiance with Councillor Peter Bedford as Conservative group leader and leader of the council.
“It is with that in mind and it should not come as a surprise that I have decided to continue the remainder of my term in office as an independent.”

***

And now, the wheel turns full circle, with the recent announcement by Peter Bedford that he was standing down, and severing his ties with the Tories whilst seeking a seat on Lincolnshire County Council for the Coastal Division that he has represented for 25 years – but as an independent candidate … taking the official Tory head-on.
Life in Worst Street is nothing if not interesting.

***

Whilst Boston Borough Council is long on “consultation” it nevertheless appears to be short on action.
We have until Thursday to send in our thoughts on a buy-one-get-two-free offer packaging Boston’s Heritage Strategy, Town Centre Conservation Area Management Plan and Shop Front Guide.
These have been doing the rounds for a while now …
The Heritage Strategy “vision” is based on three key findings
  • That the importance of Boston’s heritage is not fully understood or acknowledged despite the significance of its historic environment being recognised nationally.
  • The conservation and proactive management of the historic environment of Boston presents challenges for all key stakeholders but, once these are overcome, this resource can offer many rewarding opportunities
  • Appropriately managed and sensitively led heritage-regeneration has the potential to revitalise Boston.
We wonder how such glaringly obvious statements can be made after incessant waffle, empty promises and inaction has seen Boston conservation area listed on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk for more than six years.
And this is despite a Partnership Schemes in Conservation Areas arrangement with Historic England which began in 2012, offering funding to historic property owners within Boston’s market place, sensitively to refurbish their external frontage. Since the scheme started twelve properties have been completed with another four underway which is said has provided a “significant improvement to the townscape.”

***

Similarly portentous words and phrases litter the town centre plan – but again, the underlying message is that there is much that could have been done to date that hasn’t!
The other bee in the borough bonnet is the issue of shutters on shop fronts. Recently, a newspaper reported that one shop in Wide Bargate had an application to install shutters refused for a second time, after councillors decided that the designs detracted from the “visual amenity” and were “uncharacteristic” for a conservation area.
A nearby part of the visual amenity includes small trees growing in gutters, and rotting sills that threaten to fall on passers-by at any time now.
Most of the planning decisions on such matters are recommended by officers and rubberstamped by councillors – but a much larger number of decisions are entirely delegated to staff.
We don’t know how Boston compares to other authorities, but we have noticed what appears to be an exceptionally high proportion of these decisions approved “with conditions.”
Is it a case that Boston planners are perhaps fussier than they need to be in this respect and that a little give and take might encourage more businesses to set up shop in the town?

***

What a shame then – that when enterprising businesspeople do invest in Boston that Worst Street can’t be bothered to help them out.
Last October, the borough website told us that demand for shop units showed “Business in Boston is alive, kicking and booming.”
The subject of the report was the opening of the Waterfall Centre – a self-contained retail and business complex that created 23 expanding and new businesses.
The initiative centred on the redevelopment of the library, council offices and sessions house complex.
And it prompted ‘Nipper’ Bedford the council “leader” in those days to burble: "This spirit of endeavour is exactly what Boston needs.
“It is exceptionally good news that so many businesses have been given the opportunity to set up or expand.
“It shows that Boston is open for business, and open to new businesses.
“Anything which increases Boston's town centre shopping offer, making it an attractive place to visit, is good news."
How sad then that on a couple of  recent Saturday visits into town to see someone standing outside the former Clarks shop with a sign on a long pole pointing down the former New Street to the Waterfall Centre.
In recent months, Worst Street has made a big deal about the importance of signage – going so far as to spend a fortune on it.
But – presumably because this is a private enterprise – the powers that bain,t simply look the other way when an enterprise could clearly use a bit of promotional  help.
What a shame.

***



The camera’s uncanny eye for the truth in the recent edition of BBC’s Look North TV spectacular included an arty shot along Strait Bargate which highlighted the long-standing problems caused by allowing the Into Town buses to use the pedestrianised street as a rat run – in this case puddles sitting in the dents and tracks that the buses have made.
How long before someone slips and falls on this uneven surface?
And who will take the blame and pay the damages when they do?

***

Worst Street has been battling so long to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat that it now appears to be able to do it in its sleep.
Commenting last week’s tenth annual Boston  big clean-up – the borough website chortled that the result had shown that the town is getting cleaner.
“Hundreds of volunteers turned out again for the four-day litter pick, removing 4.8 tonnes of rubbish from the streets, verges and public open spaces.
“In its first year, clean-up volunteers removed an astonishing ten tonnes of rubbish. Last year that was down to six tonnes, and this year's is the best ever result.”
The weight of rubbish collected is about the eleven times as heavy as a Grand Piano – assuming it to be a Steinway Model D Concert Grand … or about twelve times as heavy as a horse, and one-fifteenth the weight of the Space Shuttle.
It still sounds to be rather a lot to us – and as we wrote this, Mrs Eye made the observation that perhaps the reason is that  litter is lighter these days than it was ten years ago.
Compare two containers of  0.6 pints of beer – just over half a pint …
An empty can weighs 15g whilst a bottle weighs 170g – more than 11 times heavier.
As we suspect that empty drinks cans comprise the largest proportion of Boston’s litter, the improvement may not be as great as claimed!

***

You can write to us at boston.eye@googlemail.com  
E-mails will be treated in confidence and published anonymously if requested.
Our former blog is archived at: http://bostoneyelincolnshire.blogspot.com 

We are on Twitter – visit @eye_boston



Monday, 10 April 2017

The Lincolnshire County Council elections – as they relate to Boston … where on earth does one begin?
The headlines: 

  • There are 32 candidates declared for the six seats up for grabs – one fewer than four years ago due to boundary changes.
  • The division names that stay the same are: Boston Coastal, Boston Rural, Boston South, and Boston West
  • The names that vanish are Boston East, Boston Fishtoft and Boston North West.
  • The new names are: Boston North and Skirbeck.
  • The Conservatives, Labour and UKIP are fighting every seat – the Greens five, Independents four (three in the same ward) the Lib Dems three, and Lincolnshire Independents two.
So far, so prosaic.
But stir into the mixture the departure of Boston Borough Council leader Peter Bedford – who is standing down from the job after six years … but standing up as a county council candidate in the Coastal Ward that he has represented as a district councillor for a quarter of a century, and things become more interesting.
Councillor Bedford says that at 73 years-old he felt he had taken the council as far as he could and should step aside for someone else to take over.
So then why is he seeking to take on more work by standing for the Coastal Division at county council level – a seat he previously represented from 2006-2013 until defeated by UKIP’s Felicity Ransome, who is standing for re-election?
Not only that – the former true blue Conservative Councillor Bedford is standing as an unaligned candidate – i.e. an independent – in opposition to an official Tory to boot.
Councillor Bedford has said that he intends to continue to represent Coastal in Worst Street – but told a local “newspaper” “I think I will be resigning from the Conservative Group on the borough council.”
It is said that the local Conservative Party was unwilling to nominate Councillor Bedford which is why he is standing as an Indy (which would be an alternative explanation for his decision to quit as leader) – although he told Boston Eye that he could not comment further due to purdah … the period leading up to an election during which councils and candidates are banned from making certain announcements.

***

What makes the Coastal Division campaign particularly interesting is the cast of characters taking part in the political drama.
Councillor Bedford must surely command a considerable personal vote.
His UKIP opponent Felicity Ransome was elected four years ago when UKIP stormed the county council to take 16 seats and leave the Tories three short of overall control for only the second time in the local authority's history … forcing a deal with the Lib Dems and some Independents to hang on to power.
Boston Borough cabinet member Paul Skinner is the official Tory candidate for the division which must make for some awkward conversations around Worst Street between now and 4th May.
Two more Independent candidates join Peter Bedford.
Barrie Pierpoint was elected to Boston Borough Council’s Old Leake and Wrangle ward for UKIP but jumped ship within hours to declare himself independent.
The other Indy is a familiar name in local politics – Ossy Snell, who represented Fishtoft at Worst Street and who now in his eighties is to have another go for office.
The final candidate in Coastal is Susan Walsh for Labour.

***

Around the other wards, four of the present incumbents are seeking re-election:
Alison Austin, Boston South, an “Independent,” Michael Brookes, Boston Rural, Conservative; Sue Ransome UKIP, Boston East. is standing for the new Skirbeck Division, and Tiggs Keywood-Wainwright, Lincolnshire Independent, currently of Boston North West is standing for the new Boston North.
The third of the Ransome girls, Elizabeth, won Boston Fishtoft last time, but is not seeking re-election nor is Lincolnshire Independent Robert McAuley, currently representing Boston West.

***

Across the election as a whole, as well as Councillor Bedford, three other members of the cabinet are standing. The non-players are Claire Rylott and Mike Cooper – although his other half at the Langrick Bubblecar Museum, Paula, is standing for the Conservatives in Boston West.
The shortfall in UKIP Ransomes is made up by patriarch Don, who is standing in Boston South – and doubtless hoping for umpteenth time lucky in his search for a political seat.
Labour veteran and two-time general election candidate, Paul Kenny is standing in Skirbeck. He is also previous county and Boston Borough councillor.
Another candidate in Skirbeck who caught our eye is Val Pain, who is standing for the Lincolnshire Independents. She and her son Chris – a current county councillor seeking re-election in East Lindsey – were candidates for An Independence from Europe in the 2014 European elections. Chris Pain joined the group after being elected to the County Council for UKIP – leaving after an party spat.
Finally – one of the earliest declarations for the County Council elections has come to nothing after all.
At the beginning of the year, former Boston Borough Councillor Yvonne Gunter was photographed alongside Councillor Barrie Pierpoint to announce that that they were standing for the Lincolnshire Independents.
However, the name of Ms Gunter – a former Boston cabinet bigwig – is not on the list of candidates … whilst Councillor Pierpoint appears as an Independent candidate, when Lincolnshire Independents are, contradictorily, a party in their own right.

***

Back to where we started – and the resignation of Councillor Bedford as leader of the Tory group.
Although it was announced that he would step down the council’s annual meeting on 15th May, his successor has already been declared.
A statement from the Tory group named the aforementioned Councillor Mike Cooper who represents Five Villages ward as the new leader.
The council will also need a new cabinet member – but where to find one among the lacklustre remains of the Tory rump?
One final point of interest is that the Councillor Cooper’s address – whilst appearing as Langrick, Boston – is … according to the Write to Them website … located in the East Lindsey District Council area, where council tax is cheaper than Boston.
We have to say that a leader from elsewhere appears something of an incongruity – rather like a king in exile.

***

Even though lighter nights make little if any difference to the problem, Worst Street tells us that now the clocks have changed the council and Boston Police have “stepped up” action to deter street drinking.
But their stepping up falls little short of what might otherwise be called vandalism!
“Notices have been posted around Central Park in English, Polish and Russian warning that consumption of alcohol and taking of drugs will not be tolerated and offenders will be reported to the police,” says the Worst Street bumph.
“The high-visibility presence of a mobile police station in the park … will underline the message.
Underlined – or understaffed?
Criticism has already been made that despite the “high-visibility” presence, answer came there none on at least three occasions when attempts were made to report drinking in a public place …

 “Owners of off-licences throughout the town have joined the campaign to reduce under-age drinking. 
“… A team of police and a community safety officers from the borough council were out in force spraying a chalk-based stencil outside off licences warning of the clampdown on under-age drinkers …"
Have the licensees really joined so enthusiastically – or have they simply caved in after the arrival of a tough-talking bunch of jobsworths and agreed to let the powers that be spray willy-nilly?
Nothing that this impotent bunch has come up with so far has made any difference – and we have little faith that this latest load of nonsense will do anything much either … aside from tuning the town into a graffitist’s dream!

***

It also prompted an e-mail from our occasional contributor Boston Yorkshireman who wrote: “I couldn't help but comment on news in the Boston Borough Council's  'RagMag' (which I assume was not an early attempt at an April Fool’s joke from Worst Street!) regarding police volunteers and council safety officers no less 'out in force' chalking on pavements outside off licences in an attempt to deter underage drinkers purchasing  alcohol.
“I would think that this attempt will last as long as the chalk on the pavements!
“Why does everything in Boston have to be done at arm’s length instead of using valuable time and resources to stake out and ‘collar’ the guilty parties who sell alcohol and drink in the streets (many of whom are not under age) and make them or their parents pay a heavy fine and remove the drinks licence from the shops selling the alcohol.
“I suppose the problem is that most of these miscreants are nocturnal and hence avoid council staff and volunteers who only work in daylight hours.”

***

The bottom line of all this is that it makes us seem to be a town under siege – and amidst this comes news of another campaign that appears further to isolate the indigenous population.
Something called the Migrants' Rights Network is looking for migrants living in Boston who are “passionate about the rights and experiences of the members of your community”
Applicants will receive training, and work until the end of the year organising and campaigning as well as collecting the views and experiences of migrant communities, which will be used to shape local campaigns.
They will also be supported to “organise and mobilise local migrant communities to take action around common concerns,” and “build bridges between migrant and non-migrant communities, to share the positives of migration with the wider population.”
***

 

Our regular contributor Quadranteer has sent yet another of his observations – this time following the recent Look North report from Boston – delivered on the day that Brexit was declared …

M
ost of us will have witnessed the re-emergence of that never say die 'local politician' Paul Kenny, as he mumbled and bumbled through a largely incoherent, and unintelligible response to yet another immigration question, yet again posed by the irascible Peter Levy, of Look North fame.
The piece was 'tellified' near the entrance to the recently refurbished White Hart Hotel, and it looked really great, as it sits next to the Town Bridge.
But, two minutes later, the bold Mr Levy had changed location, and whilst staying on the W.H. site, treated the world and his dog (well Yorkshire, Nottingham, and the rest of Lincolnshire) to a 'fully loaded' camera shot of the rear of our once majestic Assembly Rooms!
Beyond the chatter we saw broken and bunged up windows, tatty blinds strewn across the panes, barrels and beer crates, unscreened, and openly displayed, some tossed aside, some leaning against the peeling painted walls!
As they say when describing disasters...it is not a pretty sight!
Nor, might I say, is it an awfully good view for guests, and visitors to the hotel.
As well as which, how will we ever never know how many visitors take one look at this mess, and carry on taking their pocket full of new pound coins to Skegness or Lincoln or Sleaford!

***

Boston Borough Council was recently left red-faced, when it sent out scores of duplicate stickers worth £30 a time to taxpayers wanting the garden waste collection service.
The usual “human error” excuses were applied, and doubtless the borough hoped that the cock-up would sink without trace.
A week ago, though a reader ordered a green waste collection service for the coming year – and duly entered his postal code in the drop-down box provided on the Worst Street website.
There then followed an e-mail telling him that he should leave his brown bin in the car parking spaces at the rear of 133-135, Hammersmith Road, London – 137 miles away from the house.


We wonder how many other Bostonians are heading for the city having been similarly misinformed.

***

There will be no Boston Eye next Monday, as it is Easter.
We’ll be back online on Wednesday 19th April with a lot of good stuff. Please don’t forget to join us.


You can write to us at boston.eye@googlemail.com  
E-mails will be treated in confidence and published anonymously if requested.
Our former blog is archived at: http://bostoneyelincolnshire.blogspot.com 

We are on Twitter – visit @eye_boston



Saturday, 1 April 2017


Boston Borough Council is calling in a circus animal training expert in its latest war on litter in the town.
Starting soon a squad of pigeons equipped with cameras will be circling high above Boston Market Place as part of project Sky High In The Town to spot litterers and mark them for staff to track down and prosecute.
The pigeons will be based in Central Park aviary, but seven days a week will soar above Boston on a never-ending lookout for people dropping litter.


And when they spot someone they will launch a two pronged attack.
First the camera attached to the birds will capture the offenders in the act – but in case they try to deny their guilt, Worst Street has a Plan B to back things up.
“Our campaign to spray pink circles around dog poo left in the street by thoughtless owner was a huge success,” said council spokesman Òlaf Lopĩr – a trainer with Lopĩr 's Marvellous Menagerie  who is on a six-month contract with the council to train the pigeons and other animals.
“Our little flockers over Central Park will be taking it further.
“We are feeding them a diet containing the food dye cochineal, and after they have taken their incriminating picture they will do what pigeons everywhere do without any training at all – and drop a pink dollop on the offender’s head which can easily be identified by our CCTV cameras on the ground."
Worst Street has come up with a slogan for the Market Place campaign – Think Pink, We’ve Got You Spotted, which will be appearing on T-shirts and badges to go on sale from the council offices and the tourist information centre shortly.
A council spokesman added: “We want residents and visitors alike to know that when you come to Boston, you will be shat on from a great height by the borough council.”
But the campaign doesn’t end there.
Once he has trained the pigeons, Mr Lopĩr will be turning his skills to the squirrels in the park …


… Dogs apparently roaming innocently in the street …



Cats both indoors and out …



Even  the mouse behind the hole in the skirting board  and your budgie in its cage will be watching for litterers.



And finally, the project has caused so much excitement in Worst Street that even members of the cabinet are trying it out ...


 We'll be back on Monday 10th April


You can write to us at boston.eye@googlemail.com  
E-mails will be treated in confidence and published anonymously if requested.
Our former blog is archived at: http://bostoneyelincolnshire.blogspot.com 


We are on Twitter – visit @eye_boston






Monday, 27 March 2017


It is said that rare-ish events happen once in a blue moon – but for the Conservative council leaders in Lincolnshire it’s a case of double vision.
Blue Moon number one is the annual council tax increase, which everyone apologises about and makes excuses for but goes ahead and increases taxes exactly as they had planned.
Blue Moon number two is the one that will really affect the political tides in Lincolnshire, as it is the one that will see local elections on Thursday 4th May.
Both affect Boston in one way or another.

***

Blue Moon #1 has seen Worst Street scrabbling to justify a council tax rise that is bigger that it is making out – with a clear willingness to be economical with the truth if that is what it takes.
A recent exchange on Twitter saw the council respond robustly to assert that its claimed figure of an increase of just 9p a week was for the “BORO” part of the bill.
This glibly ignores the conniving of recent months which has seen “non-statutory” duties such a toilet provision, street lighting and the managing of Central Park farmed out to parish levels and – technically – therefore allowing our so-called “leaders” to claim that these charges are “nothing to do with us, guv.”
Doubtless, this leads to much backslapping and self-congratulation in the hierarchy, whose inhabitants think that they have cunningly hoodwinked us into believing their nonsense. Worst Street even tried pinning some of the blame on the drainage boards, declaring that their selfish actions to save our homes, businesses and farmland from flooding swallow up half of the borough’s tax take.

***

What they have actually done – and not for the first time – is to highlight the fact that they think that they can treat us as idiots and get away with it.
The tweets that we referred to earlier came during a debate started by a resident of the BTAC-ky area – whose committee formerly spent a small amount each year on projects within the town centre in the way of a parish council.
But with a sleight of hand that would make an elephant appear nimble-fingered, the “BORO” is dumping hundreds of thousands more by way of charges for these already hard hit residents.
A Band A taxpayer last year paid £8.48 to BTAC.
This year it has risen to £46.63 – which Worst Street claims is a mere 182.5% increase … although it looks like a lot more to us.
By the time you include the demands of County Hall and Lincolnshire Police, the total for the year is £1,084 compared with £976.46 – an increase of £108.28.
Boston Borough Council’s “9p a week” is part of its 2.9% rise – making its demand for the coming year £118.86.
But the bottom line is that out of the £108 total increase, almost another half returns to Worst Street via BTAC-ky – an unfair tax levied on the borough’s poorest wards to fund facilities enjoyed by the whole borough and beyond.

***

So what remains that is now classified as the “BORO?”
Well, the dregs include processing planning applications, sweeping the streets once every few weeks, licensing, the “tomb it may concern” duties at the crematorium and cemetery, and a lot of money thrown at the Moulder leisure centre and – amazingly still – the PRSA.
Most importantly, the biggest remaining role is to collect the council tax on behalf of Lincolnshire County Council and Lincolnshire Police – an exercise that uses the bulk of the £8 million extracted by Worst Street for staffing and the allowances of our councillors.

***

 

On now … to Blue Moon #2.
With elections on the way, the Conservatives will doubtless wish to retain their hold on the county of Lincolnshire.

Click to enlarge
And the campaign appears to have begun with a series of publications on social media with an “Investing in …” theme.
Whilst they are tweeted from “Lincolnshire Tories” they are actually promotional items under the Lincolnshire County Council banner – but perhaps the leadership thinks that it has exclusivity rather than a majority.
Sadly, like so much material forthcoming from the powers that be these days there is certain elasticity with the information provided.
Arriving on our computers at this particular time, and beneath the Tory rather than the county banner, and with the hashtag #VoteConservative4Growth we assume they are meant to persuade us to maintain the political status quo.
However, whilst the last elections were in 2013, the spending covers a period well before that in the case of some of the £32.9 million quoted for Boston.
The list includes the £2m Market Place improvements, which were completed in 2012 and which contained more than £1m from the European Regional Development Fund.
Then there is £1m-plus for things to do with bus services – including the Into Town farce – which date as far back as 2008 and were completed around the time of the last elections.
 But perhaps the most misleading claim is to have spent £11 million on the Boston Barrier economic investment development.
This was never more than an investment of money on paper – rather than one of paper money because – by an odd coincidence just as County Hall became seriously strapped for cash – it was decided that the water level management plan that would have boosted Boston’s tourist trade and improved the appearance of the entire waterscape in the town was kicked into touch.


However there was an upside – the cash most likely went on miles more roads for anywhere else but Boston.

*** 

Anyway, come the election, Boston will have one seat fewer up for grabs after Boundary Commission changes.
We will have six seats instead of seven.
The names that stay the same are: Boston Coastal, Boston Rural, Boston South, and Boston West
The names that vanish are Boston East, Boston Fishtoft and Boston North West.
The new names are: Boston North and Skirbeck.
At no time has Worst Street ever provided a helpful guide in the form of a map to let voters check their addresses against the wards – but they don’t do that sort of thing, do they?
The borough’s current representation at Clownty Hall is: UKIP – 3, Lincolnshire Independents (we’d forgotten about them) – 2, Conservative – 1 and “Independent” – 1 … although over the years there has been much that is chameleonic  about these loyalties.
If you are confused, you have every right to be.
And of the less than magnificent seven, only two that we recall have raised more than one question at full council meetings and some have remained silent. There are also some feeble attendance records to enhance this lack of lustre.  
If nothing else, voters should consider who they want to represent them … and we should know very soon.

***

As we have said, the County Council elections are on Thursday 4th May.
The deadline for nominations is 4th April – Tuesday of next week.
Soon after that, we would expect Lincolnshire County Council to let us know who the candidates are …
The deadline to register to vote is 13th April
The postal vote deadline is 18th April
And the proxy vote deadline is 25th April

***

With the possibility of a vote asking whether to make Lincolnshire a unitary authority  in the offing it is more important than ever to elect councillors who don’t just want  the job because they always have been elected … or because they like the cachet that the title attracts … or because they feel that they have some divine right to the job – and the allowances of course.
We have a whole host of duffers posing as county councillors at present.
We also have a window of opportunity to change all of that, and metaphorically “burn the chaff with an unquenchable fire” as Matthew said shortly before quarter past three –  3:12 to be precise

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Our last blog contained an interesting letter which we are sure that those at the so-called “top” in Worst Street would rather you had not seen – a begging letter to the local “newspapers” pleading for “fair” coverage. This of course meant fair to Worst Street rather than fair to paper’s readers, as it would have been a less than honest depiction of the town and the mess that the council has got us into.
Now, a copy of another missive has come our way – this time from the Quadrant Action Group which has deep reservations about the proposed development in Wyberton which includes hundreds of new houses, shops and a new stadium for Boston United football club.
The letter – sent to the BORO’s Department of Development Services says: “Amongst our group are business people of the town and surrounding area, and they are picking up on rumours that disturb them – such as ‘the stadium is to be built elsewhere’ … or not to the grand scale that was originally granted.
“We have accepted that permission was granted for a community facility, all-weather pitch, indoor sports hall etc., for Wyberton provided that ‘the enabling development’ allowed the land on the opposite side of the A16 to be developed to enable funding for such a venture. 
“Other builders in the past have put in planning applications for this land to be developed, and been refused.
“Can you assure the people of Wyberton that if the community facility, with all its facets, as in the ‘full’ details do not come to fruition, and the residents of Wyberton do not receive the benefits of this facility, that the houses and if any, the retail and commercial will be asked to be demolished?
“May we draw your attention to enabling development 3.10 of the application where it states: The application seeks the delivery of a new community stadium for the club which is inextricably linked to the mixed use development on the west side of the A16 since the latter is defined by the applicants as ‘enabling development’.
“That is, that the mixed use development of housing, retail and commercial, leisure would not be being proposed without the stadium.
“We feel this would be unacceptable practice, and certainly show Boston Borough Council in a very bad light.
“We were given to believe –  and most of Boston too – that the building of a new stadium was so urgent, not granting permission was out of the question.
We await your response with interest.”
We do as well.
The reply will make most interesting reading, we are sure.

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Finally, our thanks go to Boston’s outgoing mayor Stephen Woodliffe for so kindly gifting us this picture in the worthless Boston borough weekly bulletin.

 

Not since former mayor Richard Austin was pictured with his impression of Kenny Everett’s heavy-handed Brother Lee Love, has such a delight come our way.
Other agricultural areas have their scarecrow.
But Boston has a Mayorcrow.
For once, Worst Street leads the pack!


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