COUNCIL LEADER: We’re supporting Boston in many ways

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Boston Borough Council leader Peter Bedford outlines what the authority is doing to boost investment and business...

We are supporting investment and businesses in Boston, and so should you. We need to invest in Boston in all ways we can to ensure the area continues to prosper. All can do their bit – shop locally, use local services, volunteer your services to help make Boston a nicer place in which to live, do business and visit.

One way in which the borough council is helping promote Boston better is with the new brown tourism signs. We wanted to be sure that travellers did not miss out on the opportunity of driving into Boston to visit rather than driving round.

The historic market town signs highlight five main visitor attractions – Boston Stump, the Guildhall Museum, Maud Foster Mill, Fydell House and Blackfriars Theatre.

They have been paid for as part of the Market Place regeneration scheme – part of an overall project to make Boston a better place to visit.

We have been listening to comments about the Market Place and its open nature, deliberately designed in such a way as to not suggest that the car should be king.

Many people like the open aspect, which is a return to the traditional layout, complete with the Five Lamps.

But some have complained about insecurities they feel when crossing the Market Place, claiming a lack of guidance for the route that vehicles should take.

It is a difficult balancing act to accommodate vehicles while at the same time giving pedestrians priority. So we are going to place planters in the Market Place to help better delineate the areas.

We are also backing Boston with improvements to our town-wide CCTV system. We want people to continue to feel secure and protected.

The system was state-of-the-art when it was installed in 1996. Now it is to be even better thanks to an invest-to-save project which will cost £229,000, but repay in operating and maintenance savings in three years.

The 81 cameras will continue to be monitored locally by local operators with essential local knowledge. It’s part of what make the Boston system so effective.

In the year to May, 2013, our CCTV system assisted in 723 arrests and was used in 1,754 incidents. In April alone CCTV contributed to 46 arrests with 19 of those incidents dealt with by restorative justice. That’s offenders caught and repairing the harm they’ve done.

There has been much comment down the years about the Princess Royal Sports Arena (PRSA) and I am pleased to say the council is also pressing ahead with plans to ensure its future without it being a burden on council taxpayers.

There is no doubt the facility is needed. It is well used and those who use it regularly sing its praises. As an exceptional sports facility it even hosted the Paralympic Egyptian team last year.

We are now negotiating with the Boston Sports Initiative (BSI) over a lease which will mean no need for further council involvement, financial or otherwise, until 2051.

Mothballing the PRSA would still have cost the council more than £150,000 a year in business rates, insurance and security.

It was this administration’s election promise that we would sort out all issues so the PRSA could trade successfully and independently without any further council involvement. We are delivering on that pledge.

We have also brought the budget for leisure down from £1 million a year to £300,000 thanks to good management and the success of the Geoff Moulder Leisure Complex, where more people than ever before are getting fitter and healthier. More of all ages are swimming and using the gym and more are joining our healthy walks programme.