COUNCIL LEADER: ‘We are tackling Boston’s big issues’

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Boston Borough Council leader Peter Bedford explains what the authority is doing to tackle the town’s key issues in his latest column...

Consultation is about to begin on a council scheme to tackle one of the biggest issues in Boston. We will be asking for views on licensing all private rented homes.

The scheme will be groundbreaking for a district the size of Boston in that, if it goes ahead, it will require all private rented properties to be licensed – not just houses of multiple occupation, known as HMOs.

The council is prepared to deal head on with the issues of below-standard, poorly-managed accommodation and the associated problems of anti-social behaviour by some tenants.

Tenants would benefit from greater stability and there would be better links to other initiatives tackling issues such as homelessness.

The licensing scheme will meet one of the cornerstone recommendations of the impact of population change report, but go much further by its extension beyond just HMOs.

Consultation will take place from November 1 through to January 24 before a decision is made whether to implement it.

The consultation document will be on the council’s website at
proposal from November 1.

Copies will be available from the council offices in West Street.

The current definition from central Government for a mandatory licensable HMO is so focused that only three are registered in the borough when the reality is that there are around 600 properties that people would consider to be HMOs.

The scheme would be self-financing with landlords having to pay £800 for a HMO licence and £490 for non-HMOs per property for a five-year licence. The aim would be to launch the scheme early in 2015.

lSports Minister Hugh Robertson joined us at Wyberton to officially declare open a £333,000 changing rooms extension. Some minor league football clubs would be pleased to have such facilities – a range of changing rooms, accommodation for referees and social areas that are second to none.

I have a long association with this club – latterly on the sidelines watching my son play – so it is pleasing to see the former wooden huts and a tin shed replaced with state-of-the-art facilities.

Funding for the project came from the Football Foundation which gave half the cost, WREN (Waste Recycling Environmental Limited) which donated £75,000, Sport England which awarded £50,000 and a host of local organisations, from Wyberton Playing Fields Association to the Over-60s Club.

It has been a big community effort.

It is also good news for all the other clubs from outside the village who play there and will use these first-class facilities.

l We have listened and changes have been made to Boston Market Place. Bollards and plant tubs have been added to the original enhancement works.
The project has aimed to preserve the Market Place’s open nature while complementing the area’s heritage and meeting the needs of all the users, from fair to market to trader, drivers and pedestrians.

Removable planters and bollards will enhance and clarify parking areas and pedestrian thoroughfares, helping to keep the crossings clear, and reserving a space for smaller activities such as markets and exhibitions in a well-defined pedestrian space.

l I have met with all group leaders on the council and we are writing to the Post Office to express our concerns about the proposed move to WH Smith and the future of the iconic Post Office building in Boston.