Tuesday 21st November 2017
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Words: Melanie Burton
Photography: Mick Fox
Featured in the May 2017 issue

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Look beyond the headlines and Boston has much to offer the day visitors, the short-break holidaymakers and the locals.

From unique tourist attractions such as the Stump, the Guildhall Museum and the Maud Foster Windmill, to its vibrant market, shopping malls and town centre, Boston should be on your radar.

Investment confidence in the area is growing amongst the business sector, proved by the fact that one of the country’s major motoring brands has returned to the area after an absence of nearly a decade.

The opening of the brand new Duckworth Jaguar Land Rover showroom on the A16 at Kirton sees the Jaguar brand back in Boston.

It is around ten years since the last Jaguar franchise operated in the area, and this iconic British brand is making a roaring return. The new facility is designed to be timeless, and its modern, contemporary environment provides a fitting showcase for the impressive line-up of premium vehicles it will hold; with enough room to display nine vehicles from each brand.

Duckworth was initially established in 1962 as James Duckworth and Son, specialising in repairs to Land Rover vehicles. They moved to their current site in Market Rasen in 1980 and became a full Land Rover retailer.

Initial expansion into Boston happened in 2007, when the managing director Ben Duckworth, took over Parkside Land Rover at the old site on London Road, Kirton.

2015 saw a milestone for the business: thirty-five years as Land Rover retailer and they are fiercely proud to be one of very few remaining family owned Land Rover retailers.

The investment in Boston is a vision of the future for the family and they have worked closely with Jaguar Land Rover to build this important facility.

Ben Duckworth said: “Our new Jaguar Land Rover Showroom is a standout building in the community, with class leading customer and staff areas, a luxurious, timeless and stylish interior with plenty of space to park when people visit.

“We are proud to be involved in bringing Jaguar back to Boston and this facility allows us to give these models the premium setting they deserve.”

The whole project cost more than £7m and the new site has meant an expansion in the number of staff employed by the firm.

Andrew Shaw, head of business for Jaguar Land Rover Boston, said: “This has been a massive investment and we are pleased that we are able to support the local community by offering further employment opportunities. The interest has been overwhelming and we have now employed additional people with exceptional skills who are currently training to fulfil their potential and to offer the levels of service expected by the brands and the Duckworth customers.”

Alongside this, much is being done in the town to improve traffic flow, increase footfall into the centre and boost visitor numbers generally to help make Boston an even more successful and vibrant town.

To push Boston out to a wider audience, the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce has appointed a new Town Team co-ordinator for the town.

Hatty McShane will help to promote Boston as a tourist and business destination, liaising with businesses, authorities and residents in the town, and implementing small projects to support local growth.

Hatty brings a wealth of knowledge to the post from her previous roles in tourism and marketing in both the private and public sector. Her previous roles have included working as the tourism officer for Discover Rutland, as well as Leicester Shire promotions.

“I am delighted to be working in Boston, and working with the local community to promote Boston and put it firmly on the map,” she said.

More than £1million raised by National Lottery players has been invested in the past year into the ongoing regeneration of the town centre.

Two projects led by Boston Borough Council and one led by Heritage Lincolnshire have benefited from Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) support, putting heritage at the heart of the town’s development.

Since 2013 Boston has been a priority development area for HLF and in that time twelve projects of all shapes and sizes have shared more than £8million, celebrating Boston’s pubs and churches, young people and soldiers of the First World War, and a history stretching back to the Middle Ages.

In the past year alone, Boston has climbed twenty places up the RSA’s Heritage Index, and is now one of only eight local authorities in the East Midlands to have received more than the national average of HLF investment per capita.

Jonathan Platt, head of HLF East Midlands, said: “These latest grants are a fantastic demonstration of HLF’s commitment to Boston’s heritage, and a real indication of how far the town has come in the last five years.

“We are thrilled that our investment of more than £8million of National Lottery players’ money has had such an impact.”

HLF-supported projects have created volunteering and training opportunities for hundreds of local people. A project to restore the Grade I-listed St Peter and St Paul Church in Algarkirk alone created 320 formal training opportunities, and another, smaller project exploring the history of Wrangle village recruited over 250 volunteers.

Heritage also makes a major economic contribution – a 2013 HLF report showed that heritage-based tourism is now worth £26.4billion to the UK.

Cllr Peter Bedford, leader of Boston Borough Council, said: “These awards from the Heritage Lottery Fund represent another exciting step in securing the future of some important aspects of Boston’s historic environment.

“Two of these grants will help regenerate and restore a number of important town centre listed buildings, whilst the other grant for the Boston Heritage Forum will endorse its position as a key decision maker in the future of Boston’s historic environment. We are extremely grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for supporting these projects.”

The council was awarded £996,000 towards the Boston Townscape Heritage award. Working together with Heritage Lincolnshire, this project will provide opportunities to significantly enhance the eastern area of the town’s historic market place for the benefit of local businesses, the local community and visitors to the town.

This builds on the success of a number of heritage led regeneration and public realm improvements which have already taken place thanks to Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic England support.

The project will also look to involve a number of local partners in developing activities to engage the wider community to celebrate Boston’s heritage, especially their recent Hanse League membership and preparations leading up to Mayflower 2020.

The town is making significant progress in its regeneration programme – but there is still much more to be done.

The council has invested in recent years in a range of detailed studies and research projects to establish strategies and draft proposals for taking the town centre forward and as a catalyst for further investment and regeneration.

Currently the condition and appearance of many of the public spaces and some buildings and shopfronts in Boston Town Centre are in need of improvement while the link between the town centre and the River Haven which meanders through the town, is currently not obvious with limited or constrained direct access to the waterfront.

Some of these issues are currently being addressed through the comprehensive refurbishment of the historic Market Place and through the water level management proposals that will come forward as part of the Boston Tidal Barrier project being led by the Environment Agency.

Boston Market, which operates in the Market Place every Saturday and Wednesday, has been established for more than 450 years. The market is a recognised tourist attraction in its own right, with more than 120 stalls offering a diverse and attractive range of goods, services and fresh local produce.

In addition to the market, the Bargate Green Market is held every Wednesday on Bargate Green. It also offers a range of goods and local produce and includes an auction starting at 9.30am each week selling everything from plants to cars.

Trading fairs or ‘marts’ have been held in Boston as early as the twelfth century with the earliest historic record in 1132. It ran from St Botolph’s Day (12th June) to 24th June.

In 1218 a patent was granted for Boston’s Fair and in 1545 Boston obtained its Charter of Incorporation from Henry VIII, via his son Edward VI.

On 1st June John Robinson took office as the first Mayor of Boston, the twelve aldermen were sworn in and the Recorder and Town Clerk appointed. Amongst his other roles the Mayor was declared ‘Clerk of the Market’.

BOSTON ENTERPRISE CENTRE
The inspiring Boston Enterprise Centre has been serving the business community in the town for eight years and continues to go from strength to strength.

Set up by Boston Borough Council in 2008 to encourage new business development, the centre in Enterprise Way on Endeavour Park in the town, aims to provide that first all-important step for start-up and growing businesses.

Property manager Jason James said: “There haven’t been any big changes here over the past year or so but we reached 100% occupancy just before Christmas and are going from strength to strength. Things are constantly changing and evolving which goes to show we are popular with local businesses and there are always opportunities here.”

Boston Enterprise Centre has established itself as one of the leading training and meeting venues in Lincolnshire, with a wide range of notable clients ranging from Lincolnshire County Council to the British Red Cross.

Open all year round, it has four meeting rooms, one of which has been expanded in the last three months. They range from specialist rooms with video conferencing facilities to meeting rooms that are flooded with natural light.

The managed office space, ranging from 254 square feet to 760 square feet, allows business owners to get on with what they do best – running their businesses – while centre staff deal with the meeting and greeting of visitors, setting up meeting rooms and the general management of the facility and grounds.

BLACKFRIARS THEATRE AND ARTS CENTRE
Boston’s Blackfriars Theatre and Arts Centre has been part of the fabric of the town for more than fifty years and still plays a major part in pulling in the crowds and creating employment for local people.

Home to two very successful local amateur dramatic and operatic groups, it also plays host to a varied programme of professional stage productions that come to Boston from all over the country. Its history as a venue for the arts dates to a meeting of the local drama and arts groups in 1959 but it didn’t open as a theatre until 1966 and that was just the first stage in the development of a complete Arts Centre.

Over the following years two studios, a kitchen and office were added, and in 1980 the first full-time professional director was appointed.

Today Blackfriars has a full-time theatre manager and relies on a dedicated force of volunteers who provide vital support in the box office, administration, as front of house stewards, bar staff and various other duties.

The Management Committee are all volunteers, and as elected board members become the trustees/directors responsible for all activities at the centre.

When the Centre was threatened with closure, many locals were devastated to think that such a jewel in their town could be lost that a huge debt was taken on and with generous donations and a lot of hard work raising funds to simply remain solvent, the dream of ‘Keeping Theatre Live’ in Boston survived.

“Today the Theatre and Arts Centre is as vibrant as ever,” said David Grant, one of the trustees/directors.

“Costs are simply controlled by people giving their time freely. Although as success thrives, time becomes a volunteers ‘enemy’, to deal with this pressure, part-time roles have been created, which in turn is good for employment in Boston.

“The range of activities within the ‘Old Dominican Friary’ walls is massive. The intimate auditorium creates a special atmosphere for those performing, be it one of our many local societies or the professional artistes we engage with.

“The programme of shows is designed to hopefully have something for everyone and we think, for that reason, we are enjoying more ‘sell outs’ than ever, with amazing contrasts.”

Its Blackfriars Academy ‘Minis and Kids’ set the trend this year when performing Winnie the Pooh, with only a handful of seats left unsold.

Mr Grant said: “The Pantaloons are now a real favourite with their wonderful twist on the classics, Pride & Prejudice being the latest to very nearly sell out, and The Circus of Horrors brought something very different to our venue, as does our regular Comedy Tea House, both shows selling out well before the date.”

Michael Portillo spoke to an enthusiastic full house with a superb performance of Life: A Game of Two Halves, while the Vienna Festival Ballet continues to attract full houses at the venue.

The smaller performance space in the Revue Bar also hosts a range of different performances and there are a number of groups using this community space, from baby ballet, Weight Watchers and fitness classes to Lithuanian singers and Russian ballet dancers.

Blackfriars also hosts art exhibitions usually on a monthly turnaround and a wide range of work continues to attract regular visitors not only to the venue but to the town as well.

“Every town needs focal points to create a feeling of well-being,” said Mr Grant.

“We believe Blackfriars is part of this, as we witness patrons leaving the venue with a huge smile on their face having enjoyed a great night out, or maybe earlier they simply indulged in a slice of homemade cake with a coffee and good conversation.”

SPECIALISTS IN FLOORING AND INTERIORS
Conveniently located in the centre of Boston, Prestige Flooring Boston Ltd, offers a choice of products and services for homeowners and businesses.

But not everyone might realise that this business, which is based on the Boston Industrial Centre in Norfolk Street, is also worth visiting if you are looking for a new piece of furniture or decorative items for the home.

Prestige has been established for more than 20 years, but was taken over by husband and wife team, Shaun and Debbie Coote, eighteen months ago.

“We supply and fit a wide range of carpets, carpet tiles, luxury vinyls, quality brands such as Amtico and Karndean, and safety flooring to suit the needs of homeowners and businesses. We cater for householders, nursing homes, factories, offices and more,” said Shaun.

“Our services include surface preparation, making floors good where necessary, and fitting. The business has a fifty-fifty split between domestic and commercial customers, who also include the landlords of rented properties.”

Prestige is open to the public from Monday to Friday, 8am–5pm, and from 8am to 1pm on Saturdays. It is also the place to find a good selection of occasional furniture to suit all rooms of the house.

Debbie also offers a wonderful range of interiors items, from lanterns through to mirrors, which are designed to appeal to shoppers who want to add those special touches to their homes.

ELMS FARM COTTAGES - STAY SOMEWHERE SPECIAL
Everyone wants that special place to stay when it comes to a holiday or short break with family and friends and you will find the perfect solution near Boston.

Elms Farm Holiday Cottages at Hubberts Bridge offer guests a place to relax and unwind in 4 and 5 star luxury accommodation in the peaceful Lincolnshire countryside.

Set in over twenty acres of grassland, wildflower meadow and lakes, the cottage complex of nine cottages in converted barns and stables provides the ideal location for exploring not only what the historic market town of Boston has to offer, but also the county’s Fens, Wolds and the East Coast.

The cottages are set around a pretty courtyard garden and have been graded 4 & 5 Star Gold Award by Visit England. All cottages are fitted and furnished to a high standard with stylish soft furnishings, modern fitted kitchens, leather sofas and wall mounted TVs. Each cottage has a patio area with seating.

Guests can enjoy the freedom of self-catering whilst having the option to walk to the village pub for local ales and good food.

Accessibility has been a key feature at the cottages with level step free access, wider doorways and several cottages suitable for wheelchair users and less mobile guests.

Both the accommodation and wedding barn are award-winning. In 2015 they won the Lincolnshire Life Taste of Excellence Award for Accommodation of the Year and the following year they won Venue of the Year in the Select Lincolnshire Awards. The cottages are currently No 1 on TripAdvisor for accommodation in Boston.

Owners Carol and John Emerson have a passion for Lincolnshire food and promote lots of other local businesses and encourage guests to shop and eat local during their stay.As well as lots of information on places to eat and visit during their stay, guests will enjoy local produce in their welcome packs including Boston sausages, Batemans Beer and Myers Plum Loaf.

“We are very popular with small groups of family and friends looking for a holiday or short break together,” said Carol.

“We have a large barbecue area with a pizza oven where they can sit outside in the evening, or move inside to the garden lodge on chilly evenings.

“Granary Wedding Barn at Elms Farm offers a more relaxed country style weekend wedding. We have been hosting weddings in the barn for about four years now. The Granary is licensed for civil ceremonies and is ideal for couples who are looking for a bespoke wedding with exclusive use of both cottages and Granary Barn. We limit weddings to twelve a year so we take time to focus on each individual couple’s needs. We want to give them the attention to detail that is an all-important part of getting it right.

“Our conference facilities in the Granary are proving popular too. We have welcomed several businesses including Sainsbury’s and Aldi for corporate and team building events. Businesses often like the privacy aspect of having exclusive use of the cottages and barn for meetings. It can be a more relaxed way for them as they also benifit from the outdoor areas.

For more information contact carol@elmsfarmcottages.co.uk or phone 01205 290840.

OLDRIDS AND DOWNTON
Boston is home to the original Oldrids store, one of the country’s longest established department stores. Originally founded in 1804, Oldrids have over 200 years of experience and expertise to help you find exactly what you’re looking for – whether that’s a sofa, a television or even a new outfit and makeover.

“We’re incredibly proud of our history and heritage and we continue to give the same great customer service today as we did then, along with our price match guarantee, so you can be confident with our price when you purchase from us, (see in store for further details).”

Oldrids & Downtown have two stores within Boston, Oldrids Department Store and Downtown Furniture Store. The stores stock top brands including Joules, White Stuff, Barbour, Jack & Jones, Frugi, Superdry, Ercol, Bosch, Smeg, Hypnos and Parker Knoll to name a few.

After a long day of shopping you’ll be able to relax in one of the cafés or restaurants, which offer delicious hot and cold food and drinks, as well as a fabulous new Afternoon Tea for Two.

PINCHINS FARM SHOP
“Our customers know what they’re getting. We have near 100 per cent traceability,” says Henny, from Pinchins Farm Shop near Boston in south Lincolnshire. Since Henny and her husband James opened the farm shop around ten years ago, they have moved into larger premises, greatly increased their product range, opened a cafe serving homemade hot and cold meals and cakes, as well as winning award after award.

Specialising in Dexter cattle and other meats, the shop also offers seasonal fruit and vegetables, chutneys and preserves, a range of cheeses, gluten-free products and much more, together of course with those award-winning sausages and pies.

The emphasis is on quality, as Henny puts it: “We know what we are eating, we know it is good quality and hasn’t been messed about with, and we know the animals have had a good life and you can tell that in the taste.”

CREWYARD HOLIDAY COTTAGES
Crewyard Holiday Cottages were created ten years ago by converting former farm buildings into three beautifully presented single storey self-catering holiday cottages sleeping two, three and four guests. They offer a comfortable home from home and are open all year round.

The cottages are fully equipped, have their own outdoor space with patio furniture and overlook mature gardens and a lake. There’s a games room on site with a full-size snooker table, a selection of books and comfortable seating area. Laundry facilities are available in a separate room.

They are ideally situated for visiting the Gibraltar Point Nature Reserve near Skegness, the local RSPB nature reserves at Frampton Marsh and Freiston Shore and the Lincolnshire Wolds. Birdwatching trips along the river are also available from the nearby market town of Boston.

This is a good base for those interested in past and present aviation, with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight based at RAF Coningsby, which is also an operational base, and the Lincolnshire Aviation Centre at East Kirkby, for visiting Lincoln Cathedral, Lincolnshire Wildlife Park or the seaside town of Skegness, which are all within easy driving distance.

There is plenty of offroad parking and free WiFi.

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