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Top-level summit: Enhancing Boston's image

Key leaders from across Boston have met to discuss plans to strengthen the community and address negative perceptions of the town.

Plans to reinforce community safety, improve the quality of rented accommodation, create new projects to attract Government and lottery funding to bring inward investment and enhance the image of Boston were all discussed by the assembled team.

The meeting was called jointly by Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones and Boston MP Matt Warman, and those attending included senior officials from Lincolnshire Police, Boston Borough Council, Citizen's Advice Bureau and Lincolnshire County Council.

Delegates were told that challenges should be addressed in the context of an overall crime rate that is falling - down two percent on last year - and a town centre with shop occupancy higher than other towns in part due to the diversity of the Boston community.

There was recognition of the work carried out by partners already to tackle street drinking but also a commitment to do more to clean up Boston's streets and add to the feeling of safety.

The discussion also centred on ensuring all the organisations knit together resources, spending and projects to ensure the best outcome for the borough and its residents.

"Like any town there are issues that need to be tackled and we absolutely understand that - this meeting looked at how we identify what concrete action can be taken, and also how we also make sure we don't lose sight of the fact that there's a great deal to celebrate in Boston," said Matt Warman.

"The gathering was really about setting out how we can work together better to make our community even stronger and it's very much the first step for a brighter future."

PCC Marc Jones said he was confident that the force was making positive strides to tackle issues concerning many residents but pointed out that, contrary to the perception, crime in the area was falling.

"We have to continue our good work in tackling crime but, all too often, the perception is far adrift from the reality and we must address that issue too."

"My office will ensure we continue to listen to the priorities of the residents and help deliver policing that makes a difference and we hope that this will play a part in a growing confidence about the future of the town."

Cllr Peter Bedford, leader of Boston Borough Council, said: "It was a very positive meeting. It was agreed maximum enforcement is required in some areas and we are looking at ways we can do even more, particularly on littering as anti-social behaviour, which most people find unacceptable."

The partnership is now developing plans for a series of projects to improve the town and its sense of community and is due to reconvene later this summer.