Sunday 8th December 2019
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Words: Melanie Burton
Photography: Mick Fox
Featured in the May 2019 issue

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Preserving a proud heritage

Agriculture and the food processing industry are the dominating elements of Boston’s local economy but retail is one of its largest sectors in terms of both employment (23% wholesale and retail) and the number of enterprises (13%).

The town and its surrounding rural areas are part of the same functional economic system and, as a result, numerous different types of linkages exist between them.

Boston town centre has a diverse economy covering a range of important factors that drive economic output for the whole area including employment, education and training, shopping and commerce, cultural activities and recreation and tourism.

It is geographically well placed to provide much-needed housing and economic development in an attractive historic setting, supported by both primary, secondary and tertiary retail areas serving a catchment across south-east Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and parts of Norfolk.

The town centre itself has more than 63,000 square metres of shop, financial and professional service and restaurant and cafe use – of which over 35,500 sq m are national providers, creating an exposed vulnerability to the national decision-making process and in most cases, limiting local collaboration and support.

In 2012 a project to restore a building on the ‘at risk’ register, developed a centre, supporting start-up businesses on the High Street. 

A ‘Partnership Schemes in Conservation Areas’ project then followed, resulting in business premises on the western fringes of the Market Place being sensitively refurbished. 

In 2013, to encourage a higher priority for pedestrians and businesses to use the space differently, Boston’s Market Place was partially pedestrianised and 2014 saw a new, contemporary footbridge opened over The Haven, to provide a ‘gateway’ between the town’s train and coach stations and the Market Place.

A Transported Arts led, community-focused programme with Boston Big Local and a group of dedicated volunteers – Boston in Bloom – has enhanced the route, as has an Explore and Discover project in 2016 to improve pedestrian wayfinding and interpretative schemes to direct visitors and residents to the richness and extent of the historic environment.

And a £1.8 million scheme to be launched in the spring will build upon the momentum gained from those recent heritage-led regeneration initiatives in the town.

The Boston Townscape Heritage Project will provide grant funding to help with conservation repairs and reinstatement of buildings within the scheme area. Grants of 50 per cent for repairs and 85 per cent for reinstatement are available until July 2022.

The project will be delivered through a partnership between the council and the Heritage Trust of Lincolnshire, with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). It will also work with local partners on activities relating to the Hanse League membership and Mayflower 2020.

Boston’s Hanse Group, as members of the Hanseatic League, has also supported Boston’s heritage through archaeology projects, events and with councillors and students travelling to the International Hanseatic Festivals to promote Boston.

The town of Boston is the administrative centre for the Borough of Boston and is the main economic hub for both retail and commercial activity.

The Borough’s broader geography includes eighteen parishes, each of which has its distinct economy. These settlements have strong relationships with the town of Boston in terms of employment, business and retail.

PE21 – Connecting People and Place, along with the adjacent West Street aims to recreate and consolidate the links that existed hundreds of years ago between the east and west of the River Haven.

Developed in collaboration with both public and private sectors, PE21 capitalises on existing community assets, the train, bus and coach stations and the creation of an engaging and inspiring physical mixed-use space that will contribute to the community’s health, happiness and wellbeing, reinforcing the town’s economic competitiveness by bringing greater numbers back into the town.

Boston Borough Council recently held a series of workshop consultations where retailers, residents, schools, the local college and stakeholders all took part in a bottom-up approach to re-imaging what the town centre should be like and become – to enable it to be future-ready collectively, developing the vision which is “to deliver a town that is fit for the future, creating a vibrant experience that builds upon the distinct identity of Boston whilst encouraging a versatile and connected use of the centre throughout the day and into the evening.”

In addition, a strategy that provides a blueprint for all future development in the district has been formally adopted.

The South East Lincolnshire Local Plan, which also covers the South Holland district, will identify opportunities for growth. It will set out clear policies to guide proposals for new developments across the two areas up until 2036.

Member and vice-chairman of the South East Lincolnshire Joint Strategic Planning Committee, Claire Rylott said: “This is a major milestone for the future of Boston in bringing forward new homes, businesses and infrastructure.”

Encouraging new businesses to set up in the area is key to a town thriving and for more than ten years Boston’s business sector has had help at hand in the shape of the Boston Enterprise Centre.

The state-of-the-art business enterprise centre was set up by Boston Borough Council in 2008 to encourage new business development. It provides high quality and flexible office space ideal for both start-up companies and also more established businesses.

Once a centre of trade second only to London, Boston has a range of long-established independent retail businesses that help put the town on the shopping destination map.

Take Cammacks furniture store in Wide Bargate, for instance. It is one of Boston’s oldest businesses and is marking its 100th anniversary this year, having been established in 1919.

Oldrids department store, also in Wide Bargate, has been established since 1804 and has stores throughout the county. It has a wide selection of popular brands and the Downtown store has a great range of furniture and electronics.

Then there is Hoppers, the renowned diamond specialist, which was established in 1926 by Stanley T Hopper, the son of a Yorkshire jeweller.

The business was taken forward by Stanley’s son Gerry, who expanded to a larger premises and more central location in the historic Market Place.

Boston’s famous Wednesday and Saturday open-air markets are the largest in Lincolnshire and have been held for hundreds of years in the fabulous large open Market Place in the centre of town. The Wednesday market also boasts an open -air auction and additional market stalls on Bargate Green.

It also hosted Boston’s Celebration of Farming, which was a huge success, with hundreds of people coming into the centre for the free day-long event.

The borough’s farming heritage was showcased with vintage tractors and machinery lining one side of the Market Place while new farm vehicles and trade stands showed some of the modern technology used in farming today.

Events organiser, Kristina Willoughby, Boston Borough council’s town centre services manager, said: “This was the third annual farming event and it has grown not only in size but also support. The event was well attended and people are really keen to see it return for 2020.”

LOVE SPRING SALES, LOVE OLDRIDS & DOWNTOWN
Be welcomed into both Oldrids Department Store and Downtown Superstore Boston, a destination filled with your favourite brands across fashion and furniture. As spring has now officially sprung, the Oldrids & Downtown Sale brings you closer to the desirable items that you have always wanted.

Settle down after a long hard-working day with innovative and comfortable Stressless seating; complete with elegant Scandinavian designs, this brand provides nothing but a pleasurable relaxation experience. A true reflection of quality craftsmanship, the Stressless collection enables a unique feel with its ability to understand your body’s requirements for those days when a simple sit-down is just what you need.

Indulge in a beautiful night’s sleep with bouncy beds that dreams are made of. Sleek designs with contemporary finishes, find your ultimate night-time companion and never be interrupted during your sleep again. For the perfect down-time, complete your beautiful boudoir with Sanderson’s classic duvet sets. Did someone say “an extra ten minutes”?

Finally, discover your new spring wardrobe with key fashion labels such as White Stuff, Bitte Kai Rand, Joules and more. Step out in style with a vibrant jacket to match the sunshine, a printed dress to make them all stop and stare plus, don’t forget a pair of boots, just in case spring showers are forecast.

MORE TO EXPLORE IN JOHNSONS’ 2019 MAKEOVER
Johnsons is a family owned garden centre on the edge of Boston. It boasts a massive range of quality plants including a new, extensive rose collection including David Austin Roses.

Visit the Summer Shop, which offers outdoor furniture, from traditional picnic tables to glamorous sofas and dining sets. Make the most of your garden with a pizza oven or fire pit, solar lighting or water feature.

Fancy a drink or a spot of lunch? Visit the new Coffee Shop, or the popular Restaurant where you can choose from a selection of meals cooked ‘home style’.

Every weekend throughout the summer, children can ride real donkeys around the garden centre! You can also enjoy a coffee while you watch the little ones play in the small, fenced play-garden.

Johnsons is ‘Dog Friendly’, with Tufts and Tangles – Dog Groomers, and ‘Doggie Friendly’ tables at the coffee shop.

Inside, Johnsons has had a makeover for 2019, with new gift ranges, homewares and a new greetings card department. Professional florist Fantasy Flowers provides fresh flowers and balloons, plus bouquets made to order. Johnsons is also home to Boston Aquatics & Pets, Studio 10 Hair Salon, Klass Clothing and Seacroft Mobility.

In the Food Hall you will find Hambletons butchers, a deli and a superb wine, beer and spirits department. Lots of local products are stocked, including Stokes Tea and Coffee, Pin Gin and Batemans Beers. 

There is also free parking at Johnsons, a free to use cash machine and new electric car charging facilities.

Make a day of it!

MEADOWVALE PARK - THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
If you are looking for a touring park with excellent facilities as well as peace and tranquillity yet in a perfect location, Meadowvale Park near Boston will be your idyllic spot.

The Park has been purpose-built and opens for all motorhomes, caravans, trailer tents and tents from Easter 2019 onwards. There are 27 brand new pitches with electric hook-ups both hard-standing and grass and all pitches offer a grass area too. Caravanners and campers have the use of a luxury amenities block with showers and toilets including disabled facilities.

Located in a beautiful setting with plenty of access to open countryside there is an abundance of wonderful wildlife and good local amenities such as supermarkets and pubs within easy walking distance. Kick your shoes off and relax on site or make Meadowvale your base for exploring more of the county. There are plenty of opportunities for walking, cycling, bird watching or fishing. The site neighbours Jenny’s Walk, Westgate Woods and Westwood Lakes, while the RSPB reserves at Frampton Marsh and Freiston Shore are a short drive away.

Enjoy a day on the Lincolnshire Coast – the excellent beaches and attractions of Skegness are less than half an hour’s drive away – or take time to explore the historic market towns of Boston, Horncastle, Sleaford and Stamford. Stately homes, magnificent gardens, grand Cathedrals in Lincoln and Peterborough; these and many more charming locations are easily accessible. Great pride has been taken to create Meadowvale, which is pet friendly but no children on site please.

Meadowvale Touring Park, Five House Lane, Wyberton, Boston PE21 7JA
Tel: 07379776417
Email: enquiries@meadowvalepark.co.uk
Website: www.meadowvalepark.co.uk

Boston Market  

Boston Market, which operates in the Market Place, is a recognised tourist attraction in its own right; with a large number of stalls offering a diverse and attractive range of goods, services and fresh local produce.

There is something for everyone – including fruit and veg, plants, cheeses, toys, gadgets, fabrics, sweets, cakes, cards and household goods. In addition to the market in the Market Place itself, the Bargate Green Market is held every Wednesday.

Trading fairs or ‘marts’ have been held in Boston since at least the 12th century – the earliest on record was in 1132. In 1218 a patent was granted for Boston’s Fair. The earliest maps of Boston date from that time and the ‘Market Place’ is indicated on them in its current location. 

Once a year the London courts would close so that everyone would have the opportunity to visit Boston during the May Fair. At that time goods which were rare, such as spices and wines, could be bought fresh from the port. The town flourished and Boston Port was recognised as second only to London.

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 12 aldermen were sworn in and the Recorder and Town Clerk appointed. Amongst his other roles the Mayor was declared ‘Clerk of the Market’. The original document, beautifully illustrated and with its impressive royal seal, is kept in the Guildhall.

BOSTON 1940s EVENT RETURNS FOR 2019  

This year’s 1940s Weekend promises to be bigger and better than ever thanks to funding from Boston Big Local.

The event, which runs from 21st to 23rd June in Central Park and the Market Place, will feature live music, entertainment, an afternoon tea party and a 1940s dance, and is expected to attract thousands of visitors.

And as a tribute to the Lincolnshire-based bomber squadron, the Dambusters, the famous film, recounting their heroics, is to be shown at the open air cinema in Central Park.
Disney’s original Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will also be shown at the event.

As well as live music and entertainment in the Market Place there will be an afternoon tea party with an American twist held at Boston Guildhall and a ‘40s dance with DJ Dance hosting Jive Amour from Boston Dance and Miss Sarah Jane.

In addition there will be a vintage fair, afternoon tea parlours, live performances from Dream Belles, Sarah Jane, Kirton Brass Band, Coningsby Military Wives Choir and much more plus vintage cars, tractors and engines, re-enactments and vintage trade stalls.

Another event sure to attract the crowds is the first Boston Music and Beer Festival which will be held this summer.

The venue will be Central Park, on the August bank holiday Sunday 25th August from 1pm with a line-up of bands, including headline act, Boston-based band Revolver.

Revolver have become known for their highly energetic stage performances of all the biggest indie anthems.

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