SENTINEL: Crumbling roads, heartwarming tale, chuggers, picnic area, voting for policies, Big Local


Sentinel offers his weekly take on events in and around Boston..

Potholes seem to be a problem that just won’t go away. We all know of a road with a particularly bad one – some so dangerous that you try to drive to avoid them. The week The Standard reported on a slightly different take on the issue – the potential impact on pedestrians. Stephen Strassen’s case is undoubtedly an extreme one. You can’t help but feel sorry for the fact this his fall caused him to break his false leg and has left him with health issues ever since. He had warned the council but the area in question had not been repaired. Can they be held directly responsible for every poor surface across the county? Of course not. But the issue remains that it is not just cars affected by poor surfaces. Sentinel noted particularly dangerous roads on the junction of High Street and West Street and where High Street meets Liquorpond Street the other side of John Adams Away. It’d be easy, if dashing across these, to trip and fall. Heaven knows how those with wheelchairs or frames get by. Sometimes it takes an extreme case like Mr Strassen’s to bring an issue like this back to the fore.

*To be fair the Government has pledged money for potholes, with Lincolnshire getting £3.3 million - the biggest chunk of the East Midlands’ £11.7 million pot. Importantly, the county council will have to publish details of where it spends the money by the end of August - so no good just spending it in Lincoln chaps. The problem is that you fear this won’t be enough. The county’s A roads tend to get attention which is understandable given that they are important routes for here and beyond, but the surfaces on our busy back routes are crying out for attention. One councillor told Sentinel he genuinely fears some village roads might have to have restricted access soon because they are almost too poor to be used. Last year delays in starting the much-needed road fixes were blamed on the fact that the repair crews were needed to man the gritting teams. This year, thankfully, we haven’t had snow in March so lets hope we can finally catch up and get on top of this problem. The issue of potholes and road surfaces is often sneered at by the main political parties - something silly but populist to pop on the bottom of the budget to keep the great unwashed happy. The fact is it affects us all and ought to be taken a great deal more seriously.

*If you weren’t moved by this week’s front page story then you’ve got a heart of stone. What a wonderful thing the Make A Wish Foundation did to help Sky Haresign see out her final days in style - becoming the princess that she dreamt of being. Her family must have been through so much in her six years - they deserved to end on a high.

*On a more mundane note, did anyone see Nick v Nigel round two? This time the EU debate migrated on to the BBC and got a great deal nastier. Nick didn’t seem content with his polling last time around so went on the attack. If this was a boxing match then his method was the equivalent of walking into the ring and flailing his arms around like the blades of a helicopter in the hope of landing a blow on Farage. The trouble was the jokes fell flat and the analogies were contrived. Whatever you think about the content of either competitior Clegg’s was a baffling and at times cringeworthy display. And the polls? They put him down as ‘losing’ even more convincingly as last week. This was by no means Farage at his most assured, but in terms of his contest with Clegg he emerged with a 2-0 win. Will it matter a jot at next month’s election? Probably not. Maybe the only thing proven in these TV face-offs is that the Lib Dems are in for a very hard time come the General Election...

*Speaking of politics, you often hear it said that this is a very safe Tory seat in Boston. And it is. But does that mean politics here is a closed debate and everyone believes the same? Sentinel, being a sad geek with nothing better to do, has taken a look at the work done by the ‘Votes for Policies’ website. This site is run by a campaign group which wants people to set aside party loyalties and vote for whichever policies they agree with most. Visitors can take a survey where they are asked their views on a number of policies - without being told which party espouses that particular view. At the end of the survey you are told which party’s policies you agree with most. It’s certainly an interesting experiment and you can look at the results broken down by constituency. The results from Boston were - Labour 18.72%, BNP 18.62%, UKIP 17.40%, Green Party 16.17%, Conservatives 14.65%, Lib Dems 14.45%. So almost a complete split of opinion, although with a worryingly high amount liking the sound of the BNP. Sentinel accepts that with just 161 responses this probably isn’t scientific enough to draw hugely deep conclusions but is still interesting. Nationally the Greens lead the way, with just under 25 per cent of people liking their policies best. Fancy taking part? Have a go at the survey here.

*Is it a little bit of unfriendly rivalry that has landed Stickney Picnic Area at threat? The county council has been asked to look into possible traveller site locations in the area and East Lindsey District Council asked for suitable suggestions. Someone put forward Stickney Picnic Area - and that was relayed to West Keal Parish Council by district councillor Jim Swanson (not put forward by him he assures us). It bears more than a whiff of ‘if they get one, we won’t have to’ about it doesn’t it? The picnic area’s chequered past has seen it visited by doggers and cottagers but, setting that aside, has suffered from flooding so seems completely unsuitable. Let’s hope the consultation isn’t used to stir any more petty neighbour squabbles...

*Does anyone actually like ‘chuggers’? Sentinel ran the gauntlet of marketing types in Boston town centre on Thursday to great frustration. It was like that round on ITV’s Gladiators but instead of wielding pugil sticks the assailants were brandishing clipboards and forced smiles. Everywhere you looked were people desperately swerving out of the way, inventing excuses for being too busy or pretending to be deep in conversation on the phone. A quick nip out to the shops shouldn’t be that stressful - can’t they just leave us alone?

*Sentinel has mentioned a number of times how important it is that the town spends its £1 million National Lottery money wisely. It was a little alarming to hear today then that the public head of the Boston Big Local is stepping down. It’s not quite clear why she’s taken this decision but it’s a worry. With few resources elswhere we need to make smart use of that cash to give us all a boost. The group needs to swiftly move to make a new appointment. Hopefully next Thursday’s meeting can offer reassurances that everything is still on track.