Boston Borough Council leader Peter Bedford pens his latest column...
Two recent events spell good financial news for the borough. More cash for Boston to cope with the flood has been pledged from the Government and cash from the sale of the Assembly Rooms will soon be converted into bricks and mortar – an investment which will save money.
Boston Borough Council is to receive another £205,000 from Government, bringing the total now made available to help local people affected by the December flood to more than £4 million – the most awarded to any flood-affected area in the country.
The awards to Boston followed a very constructive meeting that I, the council’s chief executive and MP Mark Simmonds had with Brandon Lewis MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government. It reflects quite rightly the numbers of residential and business properties affected by the flood of December 5.
The council is now putting together a special team to administer the different flood funds in order that the money can be put to best use as quickly as possible.
The council had already been informed by Government it would get £320,000 to help businesses. Now, a further £200,000 has been earmarked for Boston to administer business support funding for businesses which suffered significant loss of trade.
The council has already written to all businesses affected by the flood so they can be considered for business rates relief. If you are a business in the borough impacted by the flood and have not received a letter and application form, please do not delay. Contact 01205 314413 for an application form.
All 590 flood affected homes and 105 businesses will also qualify for up to £5,000 each to help pay for work to make properties more flood resistant. This scheme will be launched on April 1. There will also be £397,000 to help with the cost of recovery from flood damage.
Residents whose homes were flooded are also now being considered for eligibility for council tax relief.
We also gained, at the meeting with Brandon Lewis, agreement for talks with the Office for National Statistics to discuss Boston’s growing population. A more accurate assessment of our population is key to increased funding from Government.
Planning permission has now been granted for the council’s new depot at St John’s Lorry Park. This will see our environmental services operation, mainly refuse collection, move from our rented depot in Fen Road to land we own. We will be using the funds raised from the sale of the Assembly Rooms to develop our new depot, generating annual full-year savings of more than £100,000.
The Assembly Rooms were subsidised when in council ownership and so using money from the sale of a venture which cost us to finance a venture which will save substantial amounts every year has to make good sense.
Construction work will begin early next month ( April 2014) with an expected completion in June, 2014.
Work is under way to transform the way customer care is provided for depot activities including refuse, street cleansing and grounds maintenance.
Anyone can now make bids for redundant assets at Fen Road at www.bidspotter.co.uk Public viewing day is April 2 with the auction closing on April 3. There is some useful kit available – from tools and workbenches to a weighbridge.