Boston Borough Council reflects on first 100 days since it was elected
Posted on Saturday 12 August
As today (12 August) marks 100 days since the new Boston Borough Council was elected, Councillor Anne Dorrian, Leader of Boston Borough Council, has spoken of her pride in what the new administration has achieved so far.
She said: "We were delighted to be elected in May and have already begun making improvements and changes to the town which are part of our goal to make Boston a vibrant, thriving and well-kept borough.
"We are keeping our manifesto promises at the forefront of our minds and we've already made impressive improvements on each of those points. You can read more about those below.
"I have had meetings with a range of different people including our MP, the Police and Crime Commissioner, the Chief Constable, the Minister for Levelling Up, the Leaders of all the councils in Lincolnshire, several local community groups, many officers of the council and quite a few business owners too.
"It was also lovely to be invited to have tea with a retired couple from Bicker as I am always exceptionally keen to meet local residents - and to try their homemade cake!
"The Boston Independent team have worked incredibly hard from day one when we all hit the ground running! I am incredibly proud of the way in which they've all undertaken their mandatory training, busily attending to their ward issues and fitting in several council meetings too.
"In addition to supporting my own team, I have developed a good working relationship with members of the opposition too. I am actively trying to cultivate a collegiate approach to local government and to discourage the 'Punch & Judy' politics of the recent past. By working in consultation with all elected members, I believe that this will lead to sound decisions being made and in turn, that will benefit our residents, who we are there to serve.
"The cabinet have worked on many different areas including, but not limited to, arranging colourful floral displays, working on projects to boost tourism, planning exciting events, opening accessible Changing Places Toilets, focusing on increasing our housing stock and targeting fly-tippers - we certainly have achieved plenty to be proud of.
"Of course, this is just the beginning and we hope to make great strides in the coming weeks, months and years."
To mark the milestone, each cabinet member has given a snapshot into what they have been working on during their first 100 days in their roles.
Dale Broughton - Deputy Leader
In terms of town centre development, a strategy is being put together with a vision to better promote the town, engage with the community and retailers, clean the streets, and how we want the town to look in the future. We have also initiated plans to set up a business forum both with retailers and market stall holders.
We are delighted with the large floral planters which were purchased in June to help brighten up the town and we are now looking at further opportunities for future floral displays, as a joint project with Boston in Bloom.
I have participated in the planning of a huge 'Clean Up' event with the Wyberton Wombles; and in the development of a new, volunteer Park Community Group. Further details of these initiatives will be made public very soon.
Two Changing Places Toilets have been opened in Central Park and Lincoln Lane with one more planned to open in the coming months; meanwhile the cemetery toilet is to be refurbished by the end of the year.
Work is currently being done to improve the market and how it is run; and I am looking at the possibility of introducing a farmers' market once again. In addition, the Teenage Market which I introduced has been a great success, and the next event is planned for 19th August 2023. These young people are showing their entrepreneurial skills and could well be the future traders for Boston.
The Boston Independent manifesto promised that our Christmas event would be something to be proud of and I am determined to make that happen! Our plans are well under way now and we have ensured that the public will be able to enjoy an exciting and vibrant four-day extravaganza!
I have attended many meetings as deputy leader, and Cllr Sharpe and I were pleased to help a local couple from the 'We'll Meet Again' museum in Freiston to submit a successful bid to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to fund a WW2 Hurricane aircraft. This purchase aims to bring added tourism to the area and the museum.
Andy Izard -Portfolio Holder - Communities (Place)
We have secured new play equipment in three of Boston's parks and replaced the pirate ship in Woodville Road. This is a great incentive with the cost of living affecting all families to allow somewhere to go and entertain children with no additional cost.
Additionally, I've attended the free events the council organise in Central Park, from Teddy Bears Picnics to Sand Sculpturing. Our free beach is made from 36 tons of certified sand and is always a big draw to children every day.
I am working with officers to deliver the £7.14M transformation project at the Geoff Moulder Leisure Complex.
I am supporting a local area campaign against booking offices closures.
I have met with many community groups including Boston Woods Trust, Friends of Boston Cemetery, Witham Action Group and helpers in Witham Way Country Park and am looking to start up a new community group to help take care of Central Park.
John Baxter -Portfolio Holder- Housing & Planning
I spent several weeks after the election meeting with around forty officers who undertake various jobs within my portfolio, and all of whom were very helpful.
The main project which I have worked on has been Stage 1 and 2 of the Local Authority Housing Fund. This has involved carefully studying the business case of a government-led, five-year project; and then getting Cabinet and Council agreement to go ahead. The aim is to purchase thirteen, new-build houses for refugees from Ukraine and Afghanistan; and to provide at least one new home for a local family. I am delighted to say that after five years, all of these properties can be used to house local residents who are in need of accommodation.
I receive regular updates about any large-scale developments and any planning applications.
We are working to ensure that people in our community are aware of how to report rough sleepers and we are also looking at a medical referral system which can be utilised by the Outreach Team.
I have met with the staff of both the Restore Church and the Centenary Methodist Church, to learn more about the support they give to vulnerable people.
I continue to work with councillors from South Holland and East Lindsey District Councils.
Sarah Sharpe -Portfolio Holder-Culture
My vision for my portfolio is to have more people 'Proud to be part of Boston.' We have an amazing story which needs to be told far and wide, beautiful buildings to be showcased, and arts programmes that engage and deliver a brilliant variety of projects.
With this in mind I have joined the 'Heritage Forum' the 'Public Realm Committee' and the 'Cultural Quarter' group. All of these groups are filled with people who are as enthusiastic about Boston as I am! They have great ideas with many projects already in the pipeline. I am excited to help these progress and in time I can help to shape future projects too.
I am also on the 'Culture Board' to help deliver the aims and objectives of the National Portfolio Organisation funding which the S&ELC Partnership received earlier this year. This will combine culture, heritage and the arts, by delivering projects throughout the community during the next three years.
I am working closely with the officers from the Guildhall Museum to ensure that the offer at this historic building continues to grow, and am keen to develop the Tourist Information facilities in order to promote our town and borough.
Callum Butler -Portfolio Holder- Environmental
During my first one hundred days, I have personally been out with the waste teams (Road Sweepers, Refuse Team, Flyswat and Litter Pickers) where I gained a valuable insight into the roles these operatives do and I was impressed with the positive attitude of all of these teams.
One of my first projects was to request a full bin review in order to make sure our street bins are in the right locations. In addition, we are in the process of scoping a new project, to install new mobile cameras to help us catch those dreadful people who constantly engage in fly-tipping and dump rubbish around our beautiful borough. We are determined to catch as many offenders as possible. I would like residents to know that reporting fly-tipping is now easier than ever before, thanks to a dedicated 'click box' on the homepage of the council website.
I have also met with my Lincolnshire County Council counterpart Cllr McNally, to discuss the Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC). I have been assured that the issues regarding the skips being full has now been rectified, however, he tells me that even though some issues may still arise from time to time, they will work closer with us to keep us informed.
I have been working with the officers to introduce a deep-clean of the town centre. Currently works are to be tailored on the market place, but subject to funding this could be rolled out into other areas. I have also asked for more signs to be installed on bins and other street furniture in 'Hotspot' areas, to remind residents that black bags and other waste cannot be put next to street bins.
I am delighted to be part of the working group, along with other councillors and the Wyberton Wombles, to deliver a large 'Clean Up' event during October this year. We have also decided to merge 'Upcycle Sundays' with the national Freecycle campaign to make it easier for residents to advertise where and what they are offering for upcycling.
The second round of the sustainable warmth Home Upgrade Grants scheme (HUG2) has been launched which will hopefully aid with making properties in the borough more energy efficient.
Working in partnership with Lincolnshire County Council, an education program will be launched in the coming few weeks to remind residents of their responsibility to put the correct items in the correct household bins.
A proposal has been sent to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) for the trial of solar bins within Boston Town Centre. These bins have been installed in Lincoln City Centre and seem to have been received well and seem to be saving costs too.
Emma Cresswell -Portfolio Holder - Communities (People)
I have been working on several projects including a Junior Council - to be based on the Hear by Right initiative - to allow young people to get involved and add their voice to proposals. Additionally, the Community Lottery and Crowd Funding, looking at how the funding - which is going back to communities - could be split among elected members.
I will be attending the Annual Town and Parish Liaison meeting in late September to encourage feedback from the parishes, and look forward to putting plans in place for the coming six to twelve months.
In terms of Empowering Leaders, I'll be working on this later this month to ensure a local area connection, and I'll be looking at Future Leaders and links with schools to see how work experience might look and links with businesses.
In my own ward I've been focusing on chasing county councillors regarding parking, street sign replacement and general concerns such as fly-tipping, planning and overgrown hedges.
Sandeep Ghosh -Portfolio Holder-Finance
I have worked on new payment machines for car parks, which will bring in a cashless system to include Wave and Pay along with Chip and Pin. It is important to note, that people will still be able to pay in cash.
These new machines, which are powered by solar panels, have bright LED lighting above the display and provide enhanced visibility for motorists, service personnel, and collection staff. They will also be more reliable than the older versions, which are nearing the end of their working lives. This means that for the council, there will be no loss of income in the event of constant breakdowns, and we anticipate capital cost savings of £44,000.
It is hoped that any move to cashless payment methodology will mean there will be less cash to steal in the event of an attack, and the machines are constructed from high-security stainless steel housing with anti-graffiti coating, making them both durable and easy to maintain.
I have spent several hours studying the council's financial input into the new-build properties for the Local Authority Housing Fund and procurement quotations for the Christmas lights to ensure that we are making sound investments. I have also been concentrating on my ward work, liaising with Lincolnshire County Council on bad parking situations and road conditions.