Boston could be in-line for an ‘image re-branding’ as part of plans to spend a £1m Big Lottery windfall awarded to ‘forgotten towns’.
A Pilgrim Fathers’ statue, public toilets in the Market Place and a Polish disco were just some of the ideas put forward by the public during consultation events held in the town.
The 80-plus suggestions for the cash were discussed at a Lottery Fund Big Local planning meeting last week at Black Sluice Lock Cottages.
Ivan Annibal,the Big Local rep for the Boston area, described the public feedback as a ‘huge wishlist’.
“Big Local should be about re-energising people and making them motivated and enthused about living in Boston,” he said.
He asked the group whether it would be wise to spend some of the money on improving the image and identity of the town, of ‘building Boston as a brand’.
Ex-Californian and Boston music festival organiser Tim Norman spoke about creating a ‘spirit of pride’ and involvement among young people.
“Young people are our future and Boston’s future. We need to create a sense of pride in the local area,” he said.
He also spoke of his wish for the town to reconnect with its ‘American cousins’ and attract tourism from the states.
Mandy Exley from Lincs CVS said: “We are looking for sustainability so the money can earn us some more for future projects.”
She added that things that are ‘statutory obligations’ of the authorities – such as policing and highways improvements or those that come under the borough council’s remit – will not be put forward.
Lincs CVS, TaylorITEX and Lincolnshire Community Foundation have each pitched to be selected as the organisation responsibile for administering the fund. A panel of residents is also to be formed to oversee the spend.
The town centre was one of 50 areas nationwide to get the cash and was selected due to the high levels of poverty and obesity as well as the low number of adults with qualifications.
Facilities exist on your doorstep
Many of the ideas put forward for what to spend the million pounds on shows ‘many people don’t know what’s already on their doorstep’.
That was the view of people at the meeting after it was revealed suggestions put forward during public consultations asked for facilities and amenities that already exist – or are well-publicised developments already underway.
Mandy Exley added: “A lot fo these services are already happening in Boston, it’s just some people are obviously not aware of them.”
Among those suggested, include: ‘improve flood defence’, (Boston is already in line for a £45m flood barrier) ‘provide a skatepark’ (Skirbeck Road has one, along with Donington, and plans for another in Wrangle), ‘provide aid and sanctuary for Boston women suffering from violence at home’ (Boston’s Women Aid does this), Provide relationships advice and help’ (Relate, situated at the Len Medlock Voluntary Centre) and ‘provide indoor and outdoor sports facilities for paraplegics’ (PRSA).