October 3, 2019 3.46 pm This story is over 24 months old

Councillor Aaron Spencer: A month of ups and downs in Boston

Hear from the leader of Boston Borough Council in his first column

Whilst the town is devastated about the closure of Thomas Cook, meaning the closure of its store in Pescod Square and loss of jobs for staff, vandalism in the town’s toilets following our agreement to open them 24/7, along with mindless vandalism of a community play area in Kirton, the town has also featured a multitude of positivity.

Boston in Bloom achieved its fifth consecutive gold award in the 2019 East Midlands in Bloom competition, Geoff Moulder Leisure Complex turned 30, which featured a fantastic party at the complex, Central Park paid host to lots of events, including Active Boston and 999 Emergency Service Awareness Day, and two fantastic outdoor cinema broadcasts.

The unveiling of a new dedicated memorial to the fishermen who sacrificed their lives at sea was unveiled by Mayor of Boston Councillor Anton Dani, following the Boston and South Holland Wood Carvers hard work in producing a moving tribute.

I’ve been interviewed by America’s National Public Radio about how the town is coping with Brexit, and also accompanied colleagues on a tour of a new Biomass installation at Greenyard’s depot, which shows a significant investment and positive feeling about the town’s prosperity and future.

The initial consultation of the PE21 Town Centre Regeneration Masterplan proved popular with a vast quantity of mixed feedback, and I’m looking forward to seeing more comments in the next two consultations planned in October.

I’m continuing to work closely with Lincolnshire Police, and all councillors within the Borough Council, to crack down on anti-social behaviour within the town centre, and the issues faced surrounding public urination, defecation and street drinking.

I worked closely with the chair of Boston Town Area Committee Councillor Paul Goodale, and we agreed to open the three sets of public toilets, as cost to the council, on a three month trial basis, to see if this impacted on the statistic of anti-social behaviour.

Areas of the borough have recently been given a new purple bin as part of the Lincolnshire Waste Partnership trial, to separate paper and cardboard from standard recycling. Whilst this is such a new project, I’m confident that it will become a great success, and can be rolled out across the whole borough.

September has also seen the introduction of new street enforcement teams employed by Local Authority Support, working alongside the Borough Council, targeting litter, dog fouling, spitting, discarding of cigarette ends, fly tipping and more.

The council has a fantastic partnership with HMP North Sea Camp, which continues to support the Operation Flyswat project, which has started to see a decrease in the volume of fly tipping reported and requiring collection.

The council has seen an increase recently in the number of new Commercial Waste clients, which have either formed a relationship, or moved from a previous supplier to the council directly.

We’ve got a fantastic team of street cleansing operatives and town centre maintenance officers who work incredibly hard to better our town, and we’ve recently done a deep clean of West Street to look into the feasibility of doing so throughout the whole town centre. The Boston Town Area Committee’s Town Centre Maintenance Team have done a fantastic job over the past month, removing worn street furniture and installing new, attractive and modern replacements

Overall, the council has to make a substantial amount of savings over the next few years, and unfortunately, some increases are necessary on certain areas, and it was discussed at a recent meeting of the cabinet, that brown bin charges would be increased to £45 for one bin, and £20 per additional bin.

The back end of September, the Environment Agency issued flood alerts and warnings following unusual tidal activity, however I’m relieved that this didn’t escalate and repeat the devastation that the town was horrified by in 2013. The Boston Barrier is well on target now, with the first significant elements expected to arrive within the next few weeks.

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Aaron Spencer is the Conservative leader of Boston Borough Council. Aaron joined the Conservative Party in 2008, becoming a Borough Councillor for Boston in 2011, followed by a County Councillor for Boston in 2017. Following being elected to Boston Borough Council in 2011, Aaron joined the Council’s Cabinet in November 2013, followed by appointment to Deputy Leader in May 2015, and most recently, becoming Leader of Boston Borough Council in June 2019.