WELCOME to Boston, the only part of the country where democracy does not rule.
At the beginning of March, Boston Borough Council proposed to implement charges for disabled people using the council’s off-street car parks.
They had several meetings with members of the Boston Disability Forum, at which numerous objections were raised.
The council proposed that disabled people be given an extra 30 minutes on top of whatever they pay for.
For a disabled person to get in and out of a vehicle takes longer. The council claimed that this time would not be included.
The time actually starts when the ticket is purchased. So, this would include the time it takes to get back to the vehicle and display the ticket.
It also takes longer to get around the town and, for many, this includes the necessity to rest.
Consequently, 30 minutes is nowhere near enough.
The parking meters are not accessible by people in wheelchairs and will not be completely replaced until 2017.
Because the council didn’t like these objections, they then approached the Lincolnshire Association of People with Disabilities (LAPD) to get their support.
At a ‘special’ meeting of the council held on Thursday, it was stated that an officer from the council met with a representative of LAPD but, despite being asked several times whether this person was an officer of the group or just a member, this was not known.
In fact, although this person supported the council’s position, this was purely a personal view and not the view of that organisation.
At the meeting, various amendments were proposed, including making the additional time 60 minutes.
This amendment was defeated by 16 votes to 11.
A further amendment was proposed to charge the minimum amount for the maximum time. This was also defeated 16-11.
It was then proposed that this decision be deferred until ongoing problems with the Market Place regeneration had been resolved.
Coun Richmond claimed that this was irrelevant and the proposal was again defeated 16-11.
At the meeting, one councillor told her colleagues that she had accompanied three people in wheelchairs into town.
One wheelchair user had tried to access a parking meter and had fallen backwards out of the chair.
At the meeting, constant references were made to problems in Lincoln and Skegness and why this justified only giving disabled people in Boston 30 minutes free time.
What have Lincoln and Skegness got to do with Boston?
The original motion was carried 17-10.
It was good to see that some councillors had taken this matter seriously and voted with their consciences.
Unfortunately, the ruling majority said nothing and followed their leader like sheep, bleating as they went.
Many thanks to the more than 800 people who signed our petition which was submitted to the council. It just goes to show what the leaders of our council think of the public.
How will they feel at the next election or will they ignore the public then?