OBSERVER: Where was Boston’s Mr Big idea for Portas Pilot bid?

THERE was disappointment for the town last week with the news that the Portas bid had been unsuccessful.

Having said that, after watching the video submissions from Boston (lasting just over four minutes) and Market Rasen (over seven minutes), it’s not surprising their bid was accepted but not ours.

The Boston video had not one word of commentary in it, relied throughout on what can only be described as an ‘amateur’ and unflattering sound track, and used a number of still photos.

It gave no indication of what the town would do if it received the money but relied on what can only be described as a ‘tourist’ view of the area. That might not have been so bad if more people had been shown; apart from the market day scenes it gave the impression of a ghost town.

Anyone not knowing Boston really well – and I assume Mary Portas could be classed as one of those – would have given it poor marks; in fact, it appears that’s what they did!

In short it was very uninspiring.

Compare this with the Market Rasen version, put together very professionally and with interviews from shopkeepers and residents throughout. There was an abundance of enthusiasm, with ideas of what they could do.

It was admitted organisations in the town had drifted apart from each other but thanks to the introduction of the Market Rasen Business Improvement Group (MR BIG) made up completely of business people – not councillors – they all came together to produce their video, explaining their big ideas, big potential and big actions.

At the end they made an appeal, direct to Mary Portas, to help them.

They were successful.

So a little town with about a 5,000 population can show a town with over 30,000 and rising, how to do it. Rasen had originality and thought in their submission. Perhaps it’s not too late for Boston to rethink their next bid and take a leaf out of their book.

Surely we have enough local business people in the town to take the bull by the horns and show the council how to do things. We might at least then have a chance.