NEW YEAR’S MESSAGE: Peter Bedford, Leader of Boston Borough Council

Coun Peter Bedford, chairman of the South East Lincolnshire Joint Strategic Planning Committee. ANL-161209-142730001 ANL-161209-142730001
Coun Peter Bedford, chairman of the South East Lincolnshire Joint Strategic Planning Committee. ANL-161209-142730001 ANL-161209-142730001

If I was able to make a New Year resolution for Boston it would be for a positive 2017, with everyone engaged in doing what they could to enhance the town’s reputation.

Talking the town up, not down, would be my wish; for us all to celebrate the positives and toast Boston with a cheering glass half full, not half empty.

Let’s be honest – Boston takes enough of a bashing without any of us who live and work here joining in with self-deprecation. Fattest, most murderous, least integrated, most segregated – just a few of the labels and league table highs and lows that Boston has been saddled with in recent years. However inaccurate they may be, and some are, these labels stick and they do damage.

Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. Negativity is the oil greasing the engine of despair which can choke with its black fumes of desolation.

Let’s park that engine in the sidings for 2017 and emerge onto the main line with a modern, sleek, green machine to take us to pastures fresh and new and full of optimism.

Work on the Quadrant project will continue into 2017. A good start was made in 2016 with construction of a new roundabout on the A16 to open up the development land on both sides. For me this was a highlight of 2016, as it laid the foundations for a solution to some of the town centre’s traffic congestion problems. It will enable the first part of a distributor road, taking some traffic around, instead of through, the town centre.

One of the most important documents for a long time will be adopted in 2017. The local plan will provide us with guidance for future development, provision of new homes and job creation for the next 20 years,

A planning inquiry will be held into the important £100 million Boston Barrier flood protection project. This will settle some of the contentious issues and clear the way for its construction and for it to be in place and doing its job by December 2019.

The council will continue with its ground-breaking Rogue Landlords scheme – improving housing conditions throughout the borough and will do all it can to encourage building of more affordable homes. Provision of modern, decent accommodation remains a priority for the council.

It is a long way off, but at the end of 2017 we can look forward to another spectacular Illuminate event to launch Christmas. These annual events, which began in 2015, will continue to a climax in 2020 when Boston joins in and takes its rightful place as part of the global Mayflower 400 celebration.

Of course, as a lifelong Boston Utd supporter I look forward to a successful season... and promotion.

A happy and prosperous New Year to you all.