Improving landscape for town’s prospects
The future is looking bright for businesses in Boston, where Melanie Burton finds a wide range of initiatives on offer to help attract investment, boost the local economy and increase footfall in the town.
There are plans in the pipeline for £100,000 worth of improvements to Boston’s outdoor leisure facilities, to help bring more people into the area and make Boston a more attractive place to live. In addition, more jobs are being created as existing companies expand and new ones move in.
Proposals are also being drawn-up to make better use of the thriving Market Place, so 2018 looks poised to be a good year for the town.
A schedule of improvement works has been made by Boston Town Area Committee (BTAC). This includes changes to public space across the town, as well as to Central Park. BTAC chairman, Councillor Nigel Welton, who is also the town centre portfolio holder on the council Cabinet, said these essential jobs were listed following a BTAC tour of all local public open spaces.
The planting of 9,000 snowdrops and bluebells under the trees in Woodville Road Playing Field has already taken place, courtesy of Boston in Bloom. The project received £1,000 worth of bulbs and seeds from Boston Seeds. And there are plans to plant more early-season bulbs, snowdrops and bluebells at other sites next autumn.
Two bug hotels (for insects), designed and made by Boston College students and donated to Boston in Bloom, will be made available for Broadfield Lane and the Central Park growing space.
New projects costing £91,286 will include new swings, plus a swing for those with disabilities, in Central Park (part-funded by Boston Big Local) and new goalposts, rubbish bins, a slide, an extended path to the swing and roundabout area, new roundabout, fitness equipment and a multi-use games area on the tennis court site.
There will also be landscaping works costing £8,910, including an extension of the existing orchard and wildflower area in the St John’s Play area and Burgess Pit and creation of orchards and wildflower areas in Garfit’s Lane, Woodville Road and Shelton’s Field.
Traders in the Market Place, along with shoppers, have been asked for their views about how the market could be improved.
Councillor Welton said there is an important link between the Wednesday and Saturday market businesses and the wide-ranging town stores which trade permanently seven days a week.
“Boston should be rightly proud of its traditional Market Place,” he said.
“It has been described as one of the best medieval market places in the country and retains the look and feel of a traditional open public space. It had a £2 million refurbishment in 2011/12.
“At a time when many traditional markets are struggling and reducing, Boston’s remains one of the biggest and best and a favourite with both traders and shoppers from near and far.
“What many people may not realise is that the County Council and not the Borough Council has control of the Market Place, although it is the Borough Council which organises the markets and the events.
“Car parking in the Market Place is also the responsibility of the County Council but I’d like to see a new local arrangement in which the Borough Council had more control of the Market Place.
“There has also been a significant increase in use of the Market Place as a space for public entertainment,” said Coun Welton.
Working with the Boston arts organisation Transported, the council has increased the use of the event area over the past few months. It has hosted everything from craft events and entertainment – especially for children – through to family-focused attractions, such as the popular farming day.
The Market Place is also the centre for the May Fair and the bumper Christmas event.
“We already have a growing list of events for this coming spring and summer,” said Coun Welton.“But we are far from complacent and we are constantly looking for new ways to make better use of this marvellous space.”
BTAC has also opened its call for round-one submissions from groups looking for financial support for community projects.
“Town-based community groups and organisations (which have been formally constituted) can apply for up to £1,000 for projects which benefit the town centre, BTAC area, and its residents.”
Grants can be used for a wide range of purposes, from project start-up costs to the purchase of goods and services.
Projects which have received BTAC grants have included activities for children and young people, neighbourhood groups’ community events, environmental enhancements – such as a bike track for a playing field – the refurbishment and renovation of war memorials and the purchase of equipment for sports groups.
There will be four application rounds during this financial year – starting with the first on 9th May.
Further submission deadlines are 15th August and 14th November 2018, and 13th February 2019.
There is also good news on the jobs front with more than 100 new positions up for grabs across Boston.
Fresh prepared food manufacturer Bakkavor’s Cucina Sano was given the green light to expand its production and parking area and plans for a new Second Cup coffee shop in the former Clarks shoe shop in the town centre has been given the go ahead by local planners.
A new Lidl store recently opened at Wyberton Fen creating around 40 new jobs and development at The Quadrant in Wyberton – to where Boston United will eventually relocate – continues with plans for a new hotel, restaurant.
Boston recently saw the creation of jobs at the new DIY store Screwfix which opened in the town, as well as at the new Duckworth Landrover and Jaguar car showroom at Kirton Distribution Park.
Helping the area to prosper has been – and remains – a key strategy for Boston Borough Council.
It has developed the Boston Enterprise Centre to offer managed office space for new and developing enterprises. The town also benefits from other dedicated office developments, such as the Boston Business Centre and Morgan House, in addition to the more traditional office accommodation, which is widely available.
By working in partnership with both private and public sector stakeholders, Boston has been able to develop Endeavour Business Park with Broadgate Commercial – as the only purpose-built office development area in Lincolnshire – and Kirton Distribution Park with Lincolnshire County Council. Both locations offer serviced land.
Boston has a strong retail offer. Pescod Square, a £28 million scheme in the heart of the town, has helped to increase footfall and recent schemes such as Boston Shopping Park, regeneration work around Pump Square and the £2m Market Place refurbishment have boosted the appeal of the town.
The promotion of Boston Borough as a visitor destination could also receive a near half-a-million pound boost. For a £30,000 contribution the Borough could receive £465,000 towards projects over the next few years.
Initiatives will be linked to the 400th anniversary in 2020 of the Pilgrim Fathers’ Mayflower voyage to America and the 400th anniversary in 2030 of the mass exodus from Boston to found Boston, Massachusetts.
And there could be potential levers for further investment in Boston’s cultural offer beyond the Pilgrim Fathers’ link.
A half-a-million pound grant from Visit England has already been provided to promote the national Mayflower Pilgrims story overseas. Boston has benefited from this even though it has not had to make a financial contribution.
International travel operators have visited the town and research in America has shown Boston to be among the top three destinations that visitors would be eager to explore in connection with the Pilgrim Fathers.
A further half-a-million pounds has been secured from the Discover England Fund for a national project wider than the 2020 anniversary, which may enable Boston to capitalise on the foundation of Boston, Massachusetts. Again, no cash contribution has been necessary from the Borough Council.
Councillor Richard Austin said: “What a great story Boston has to tell; greater than any other town in the UK. This is a huge opportunity to increase visitor footfall.”
EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE FOR OVER 200 YEARS
Established in 1804, Oldrids began its retail journey by serving customers in the town of Boston. With years of continued excellence in trading, the business has expanded, with multiple stores across the county.
“Our department stores, superstores and garden centre deliver memorable and matchless services, hence often referred to as ‘Lincolnshire’s John Lewis’. We pride ourselves on our wealth of products that we offer. Oldrids & Downtown is a destination delivering everything for you, your home, your garden and even your pets.
“From Barbour to Burberry, Frugi to Fred Perry, Weber to White Stuff – we take satisfaction in providing our customers with a plethora of brands to indulge in.
“Fridges, fragrances, fish. Whatever it is that you wish to purchase, our exceptionally attentive staff are here to ensure that your customer experience is a remarkable one, and of course one to be remembered!”
For more information, please visit: www.oldrids.co.uk
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BRINGING HISTORY AND HERITAGE TO NEW LIFE
Boston was once a centre of trade, and second only to London. Much of the rich history of the town is still evident today as visitors navigate their way around the tapestry of streets and walkways. ‘The Stump’ (St Botolph’s Church) is a must visit. Nearby, Boston Guildhall is a magnificent medieval building built in the 1390s and is now a fascinating visitor attraction.
Boston’s weekly markets are Wednesday and Saturdays. The medieval lanes are filled with independent shops and many of your favourite High Street stores can be found in Pescod Square. There are plenty of places to eat, with an eclectic mix of English and European restaurants and cafes.
For evening entertainment, look out for events at Blackfriars Theatre and Arts Centre. Around Boston you’ll find yet more heritage with Hussey Tower, two RSPB nature reserves (Freiston Shore and Frampton Marsh) and within easy reach is the coastal resort of Skegness.
THE REAL FARM SHOP DEAL
Located on Church Lane, Algakirk, Boston, close to the junction of the A17 and A16, Pinchins Farm Shop has been the proud winner over the past four years of more than 70 awards for their outstanding farm shop and butchery.
Owners Henny and James Pinchin grow and supply their own eggs, lamb, mutton, beef and goat as much as possible. They also use local producers, depending on the season, to top up their own grown vegetables, fruit etc.
“We are a proper farm shop, using our own and locally sourced produce to make the pies, sausages, smoked bacon, homemade cakes and a range of ready meals using fresh ingredients,” said Henny. “Call into our café where all the food is homemade using our award-winning produce.”
Pinchins hosts a range of different events throughout the year. This month Sheep Shearing Day is on Saturday 26th May, 10am–3.30pm. You will also be able to see spring lambs.
Breakfast will be available from 9am till 10.30am and after that there will be a hot and cold buffet with all Pinchins’ own homemade foods. Pinchins are open 9am–5.30pm Tue to Fri and 9am–3.30pm Sat. Closed Sun and Mon.