‘We’re a well run council now’ - Boston borough leader hits back at critics

Boston Borough Council leader Peter Bedford flanked by deputies L-R Raymond Singleton-McGuire and Michael Brookes. Pictured outside the Municipal Buildings, Boston.
Boston Borough Council leader Peter Bedford flanked by deputies L-R Raymond Singleton-McGuire and Michael Brookes. Pictured outside the Municipal Buildings, Boston.

THE leader of Boston Borough Council has hit back at a chorus of complaints at the way the authority is run.

Coun Peter Bedford argues that the top team in West Street has done a good job in tough times, and says the council is now receiving praise for the way it is run.

Last week The Standard revealed the attendance records of council members – and quizzed those with the poorest records.

Those members argued that many of the meetings at the Municipal Buildings are a waste of time, with the cabinet dictating all decisions.

The critics even included Coun Aaron Spencer, a member of the ruling Conservative group.

Along with Coun David Owens, who showed up to just four of 33 meetings since May 2011, he also blamed evening work commitments for missing many meetings.

Coun Bedford stressed that just two meetings – planning and licensing -–are held in the day because the times suit licensees and potential developers.

He admits that cabinet make most of the decision but says all members are kept up to speed.

He said: “I think it was like that for the past four years under the BBI.

“Ever since there has been a cabinet the majority of decisions are taken at cabinet but as far as we are concerned all councillors are informed all the way down the line.

“The opposition groups have the chance of chief officers briefing them on what’s going to the cabinet 
beforehand.

“It means you have got another meeting to attend but that comes down to how much you want to put into it.”

When asked if he could think of an example where input from the opposition had changed the cabinet’s mind Coun Bedford replied: “No, in all honesty. It’s not the fact we haven’t changed course.

“The fact is the administration has had a lot of hard and important decisions to take after four years of no decisions.”

He added: “We are now a working model of good practice.

“That, as far as Boston is concerned, is a very big pat on the back for the members and for the chief executive and the rest of the staff.”

He hailed his members for performing ‘very, very well’ and revealed that the next priority for the council will be the Princess Royal Sports Arena.

Coun Bedford added: “We will put proper leases in place with all the partners so that the place can trade correctly.”