£500 million investment hope from barrier

AN ECONOMIC boost of up to £500 million could be unlocked by plans for a tidal barrier in Boston, according to a council report.

The Boston Barrier aims to reduce the risk of flooding from a 1 in 50 chance to a 1 in 300 chance for 10,000 homes and 900 businesses – and is also the next stage in ambitious plans to open up the region’s waterways for tourism.

The barrier would be the second phase in the Fens Waterway Link which aims to connect Lincoln, Ely and Peterborough and transform the area into a Norfolk Broads-style attraction.

The barrier itself will cost about £85 million but a report to next Tuesday’s Lincolnshire County Council’s economic scrutiny committee outlines the potential benefits.

The report states: “The total value of the Boston Barrier and the potential regeneration of the waterways, waterfront and the town centre, is estimated to be over £100 million.

“Government estimates that such an investment is likely to yield a benefit to the community of at least £230 million, and potentially up to £500 million.

“The new barrier in the Boston Haven will provide a catalyst to encourage tourism and regeneration throughout Boston town centre and further afield.”

It goes on to say that benefits from the barrier will be to improve the town’s character, increase opportunities for riverside walking, cycling, angling and marinas, encouraging waterfront businesses, increase water-based freight and boost tourism.

On Tuesday councillors will be asked to support an £11 million investment from Lincolnshire County Council towards some of the waterways costs of the project.

Last year a location just downstream of Black Sluice Lock in the town was chosen for the barrier.

It would be the second phase of the waterway link project. The Lincoln to Donington Bridge work was completed in March 2009 and feasibility studies are underway for the Donington to Surfleet section.