We offer our take on the ‘crap town’ debate...
Whether it appears in ‘the book’ or not, Boston is not a crap town.
However, we cannot wear our blinkers and pretend that the town is perfect. We all know that we have issues with the impact of immigration, obesity and traffic.
Those in authority must (with us in the press/public in a supportive/cajoling role) put all of their efforts in to solving those issues.
But the positives? Well, let’s be optimistic (without straying into happy-clappy territory) and look at the fact that the ‘negative’ things in Boston can and should be improved.
Yes, they will take time but they can be tackled. The positives we have in Boston, however, must be the envy of the majority of towns and are things that are not easily won. Top of anyone’s list in Boston when it comes to good points has to be The Stump. It is probably easy to wander past each day without craning your neck to gaze up at it but sometimes it is worth taking a step back and appreciating its undoubted beauty.
Most towns have churches, many of them quite nice, but few are as impressive as ours and few benefit from being seen for miles around as a picturesque signpost that you’re ‘nearly here’.
And while some places have a pretty dubious claim to the ‘historic’ bit of the ‘historic market town’ heading on brown signs - surely we have a rich past that is well worth celebrating, including our Stateside links that have much potential. We also have the natural beauty of the river (which we could make more of) and the wonderful wide open skies that make this one of the best places in the country to view sunsets.
The relative lack of pollution also means we’re blessed with being able to gaze much more clearly at the stars at night than city dwellers.
Are these small things? Maybe - but we couldn’t ‘buy’ them and many people elsewhere will be envious of the natural joys of life in The Fens.
Our high street has, undoubtedly, suffered in the recession – especially with the exodus of a number of chain stores.
But our independent traders have largely clung on and our array of shops from butchers, pubs, chip shops through to our own home grown department store mean our town is still in better health than some.
Plus while we have some ‘gaps’ it’s good to see the prominent former Kwik Save and Somerfields sites snapped up by national chains that must have some degree of confidence in our economy.
And, on pubs, a visitor from Nottingham once said to me ‘you’ve still got pubs here!’. We may have lost some but we should cherish the ones that are still standing.
What else do we have? Cinema, theatre, two football clubs and countless other sporting outfits, two papers (I’ll avoid a shameless plug), RSPB reserves, the Maud Foster windmill, our own hospital and close proximity to the seaside.
That’s not an exhaustive list but it’s not a bad start, eh?
The point does stand, however, that many people are not as proud to live and work here as we’d all like.
A lot of that goes back to those looming ‘big issues’ and the fact that we are pitifully under-resourced. You can arrogantly write off those people as the ‘disillusioned few’ if you like but that won’t help - their concerns need to be addressed.
We need a loud voice. A voice that bellows until it is hoarse for a better deal for Boston and one that proudly stands up for the town to say what is good here.
The book’s authors may have made a clever marketing stunt but let’s use this as an opportunity to have a proper, honest debate about the good and bad. We’ve got both - but we’re definitely not crap.