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SENTINEL: Lottery money, council staff, barrier, roads

Sentinel

Sentinel

Sentinel offers his take on the latest events in and around Boston...

*So Boston’s £1 million then. How would you spend it? Some of the ideas raised are pretty interesting. A million quid sounds a lot (it would take Sentinel a decent career to earn that much) but in the grand scheme of things it is, for example, 100th of the cost of the barrier or the wages of a Premier League player for probably less time than it takes you to read this column. Of course it can only be used for things the council, police et al shouldn’t already do as well. But all that means we have to be creative and positive about the way the money is used, in a way that has visible benefits for ordinary folk. So, I hear you ask, put your money where your mouth is and tell you what you think. Alright then, here goes...

*Why not look into free wifi for all in Boston town centre? Why? Well, for one, it would make us look like a forward thinking tech savvy town that is a decent place to do business - giving firms a, hopefully, easy and cheap way of hooking up to the net. It should also appeal to young people and might encourage them to actually visit the town centre in bigger numbers. There’s a reason why these cafes offer free wifi - they want you to hang around a bit. So what? Well, we can’t afford for young people to get out of the habit of coming into the town and, while I understand that some people will wilfully use the internet in shops to see how much cheaper they can get goods online (guilty your honour), if they’re in town that’s at least half the battle won. And the cost? Well, Sentinel understands the transmitters needed to install such free wifi for Peterborough city centre cost £38,000 with a £5,000 a year maintenance bill. You’d like to think that the set up cost might be a tad smaller in Boston. Is that too much? Sentinel is no financial expert but certainly seems worth bunging on the list?

*What else? Well, a perennial favourite seems to be the Party in the Park. And why not? The town needs a decent party and aside from the May Fair and the Christmas market - which is up in the air after last year - there’s not too many big things for people to look forward to. It’s difficult to know how much this would cost but, with the right people and sponsors on board, there’s no reason to suggest an attempt couldn’t at least be made to get some of the cost back. Just down the road Market Rasen’s Rasen Rocks will be headlined by Wet Wet Wet. Sentinel is no particular fan of Pellow et al but surely this shows that such an event could work in this neck of the woods. One decent ‘famous’ headliner and a day packed full of up and coming local acts should get the punters in.

*Anyway, that’s Sentinel’s neck on the block - feel free to shoot down in flames if you so wish...

*Council staff are facing up to a cut in ‘terms and conditions’ to save another £1.1 million from the West Street coffers. Maybe those staff feel relieved at least to keep their jobs but its clear that the unions feel that what is on the table (Sentinel doesn’t know the full terms) is poor compared to other councils. Sentinel just hopes that the council’s £675-a-day chief executive is taking his considerable share of the cost-cutting burden...

*Do we need a name for the Boston Barrier? How about the ‘hokey cokey barrier’. First this week came the news that the barrier project would be cut by 18 months thanks to work to quicken up the planning side of things. ‘Get in’ you - and our delighted MP - might say. A boost and relief for those businesses and families still coming to terms with the December damage. Then came the news the following day that that very same 18 month ‘cut’ was already part of the previously agreed schedule and it, apparently, can be delivered no quicker than 2019. So, out with the enthusiasm and bunting and back in with the cold realism. Politicians probable still want to try to ‘shake it all about’ (Ok, apologies for woefully stretching an ill-conceived analogy) to getit quicker...but can they have an impact?

*Reports this week suggest some campaigners fancy extending the M11 up from Cambridge to the Humber to ensure the east of the country is better connected. The campaigners also reckon it’d be a cheaper and more effective use of money than the HS2 rail project. So, a whopping three lane motorway ripping right through the borough then? Well, Sentinel is taking this with his recommended daily intake of salt. After all a brand new road was recently built from Peterborough to Spalding in order to try to make the A16 the link that the M11 crew want. That link was a single lane and took more than its fair share of ‘hoo-ha’ to build, it would be odd to see yet another road project there. It’ll be interesting to see if anyone takes this beyond a mere idea. Sentinel understands it is one of those being weighed up for entry into a possible UKIP manifesto...

 

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