OBSERVER: I’m worried about empty shops in Boston

Opinion
Opinion

It was unfortunate that I had already submitted my copy for last week’s paper before I managed to get round to reading our Leader’s New Year message. I pointed out last week that ‘there’s even more shops becoming empty – if anyone is looking!’.

It was unfortunate that I had already submitted my copy for last week’s paper before I managed to get round to reading our Leader’s New Year message. I pointed out last week that ‘there’s even more shops becoming empty – if anyone is looking!’.

Yet according to his message: “The town has rallied, with shop vacancy rates better than most and footfall in the town centre at a four-year high.”

I presume he wrote this before being aware that Evans is closing its shop (although the business has moved across the road), Age Concern has moved leaving its old premises empty, the small shop next door is now empty and Rymans has closed – four premises within 100 yards of each other.

Add these to the shops already empty in the Market Place and it seems businesses are voting with their feet. ?

And we still have the mess with the Market Place with no one knowing where they should be: drivers not knowing where they can and can’t park and pedestrians taking their lives in their hands every time they wish to cross from one side to the other.

It was interesting to see on local TV news last week that Belper in Derbyshire has bucked the trend for market towns and is flourishing.

Interviewing some of the shoppers, one comment stood out a mile: the fact that their Market Place and associated side streets has free parking: time for the borough to get their maps out and visit to see how it’s done?

As expected the borough is not proposing a council tax rise: they are still to cut services and ‘save’ the money. I was discussing this with a friend and he pointed out that if they ‘saved’ money by cuts should they not give that saving back to residents?

No, of course, it doesn’t work like that.

Meantime, according to their own figures on next year’s proposed budget, the council has just over £6 million in ‘reserves.’

Are ‘reserves’ not for a rainy day?

If they look they might see those days have been here for some time!