COLUMN: Sorry seems to be the hardest word

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Your letters, emails and opinions - Boston Standard, Lincolnshire:, on Twitter @standardboston
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Editor Stephen Stray’s column on some issues where the council really ought to be saying sorry...

Sorry. A simple five letter word. Too often said without sincerity and too often never said at all.

Recently, Boston Borough Council requested I apologise over a tongue in cheek comment made by Observer about dog poo, flags and the authority’s West Street HQ.

And apologise I did, to anyone who may have been offended or insulted, as was the suggestion.

However, I think if the council is going to start demanding apologies then we, the taxpayers, maybe entitled to a few.

For one, where is the apology for the saga over the refurbished Market Place which, as far as I am concerned, is yet to be resolved? Confusion reigns over where to park and pedestrians taking their lives into their hands every time they attempt to cross.

The council’s official line from the member responsible for town centre issues was effectively ‘if you’ve read the Highway Code you should know where to park’.

I know many people were left feeling insulted and belittled by such comments, but yet still there was no apology. All we have had are promises the situation will be improved...well, we are still waiting. Why not just say sorry, we got things wrong but we will try to make it better?

There is also the obvious argument that such developments are a county council issue, and to a degree they are, but this project didn’t go ahead without borough consultation and agreement. Indeed some of our money was used.

Another issue requiring input from Lincoln is of course a bypass. Will we/ won’t we ever get one?

But can those in power (both past and present), hand on heart say, they have banged the drum loud enough to ensure it is little more than a few lines on a transport plan? If not, then where is the apology?

I am also yet to hear anyone say sorry over the situation at the Princess Royal Sports Arena. Before I go on, I should declare an interest in that I’m a happy member of the gym (receiving no corporate discount, I might add) and I’m very pleased with facilities on offer.

The staff are highly professional offering help and advice. I also know plenty who speak highly of what the rugby club has to offer.

But where is the apology for the fact that we are still having to pour taxpayers’ money into the centre – 10 years after it was built? We haven’t had one, much to the disgruntlement of many.

All we hear, from numerous groups in power, is basically ‘it’s not our fault, we’ve inherited the issues’.

To some degree this may be the case – and we have now been promised it will be resolved – but it still doesn’t stop someone taking some responsibility – they can still apologise as a council for what has been allowed to happen.

Now, before some at the council start to take umbrage with what I have written and moan that I am just being negative, then I would like to say there is plenty of good work which councillors and officers carry out.

For example, it is to be commended that many councillors freely give up their time to support the communities they serve, whether it be gritting the paths when they are icy (I have seen this several times) or listening to residents’ concerns and taking action.

There is also much good work done behind the scenes (I have previously been out with officers on jobs) to benefit all those living in the borough – and I offer thanks. So if we can say ‘thanks’, can someone at the council apologise when things go wrong – after all, we all make mistakes?

I take note, after writing this, that the council has issued an apology over the speed which it chased a dead man’s council tax arrears.

But sometimes, sorry seems to be the hardest word...