I am fully aware I’m going to upset some of my ‘friends’ in West Street but I feel I have to make comment on Coun Bedford’s recent Viewpoint. Hands up all those who had the slightest idea of what he was on about!
Apart from dazzling us with figures – and we all know you can make your own ideas on how they can be used – we had nothing more than a rambling about Boston and what is and isn’t here: apparently. Needless to say I have to take issue with him about the ‘vibrant Saturday and Wednesday market and Thursday craft market’. The ‘figures’ may point to these being vibrant – the reality, as many of us are aware, does not back that up. Let’s hope the council isn’t allowing itself to be complacent about what needs to be done due to a set of figures.
For a council which is trying to attract visitors it seems ludicrous to say we need ‘destinations’, not necessarily shops. What a boost to those businesses trying to make a living! He says we need to be able to offer something new and different – we can’t stay as retail centres. Well, by the number of shops closing – and please don’t try to make sense of the figures regarding these – it certainly seems the council is well on the way to getting its wish.
Coun Bedford appears to be telling us the town is ‘vibrant’ because footfall is up three per cent on last year and 14 per cent up on five years ago: I suggest this might be more to do with the arrival of migrant workers than with the attractiveness of the town as a shopping centre.
His final claim that the council is providing car parking can’t be questioned; but it doesn’t ‘facilitate business’ because it’s too dear compared to other towns in the area. Perhaps he hasn’t read the many letters on this subject over recent weeks. But don’t worry: provision and charging is always under review, so perhaps we can hope for charges to go down. That would ensure the town ‘remains vibrant and competitive.’
What would make it even more so would be to revert back to the original layout of the Market Place (and parking).