Agenda item



The Chief Executive confirmed there were three questions from Members of the public;


1.    Question to Councillor Tracey Abbott from Mr Robert Dewars

Why were 2 councillors and leader allowed to bypass the system re the Christmas lights in Boston without consulting the rest of the councillors and what will be done to stop this happening in the future? This ruined any chance the retailers had to take extra revenue during this time as it detracted the general public from making the effort to come into town.


Response from Councillor Tracey Abbott

“Last year we received a letter from the Christmas in Boston Group informing us that they would no longer be able to provide the Christmas lights for Boston. As the Portfolio Holder for Town Centre, I worked with the available budget, whilst taking into account the cost of living and the rising cost of energy. We purchased a large decorated and lit tree which was installed in the town centre in readiness for the 24th November Christmas event, which will be able to be used again for future years. I am pleased to report that over the Christmas period, verified footfall data also showed an increase on the previous three years for Boston Town Centre. Compared to December 2019, the total footfall figure in December 2022 was an increase of 12.8%”


Supplemental question from Mr Dewars

“I believe when Councillor Abbott was asked the question about where she got the figures for the football she couldn’t answer it, so I don’t know where these figures have come from. Certainly what I saw, there was nowhere near the amount of people there was in previous of years. She never answered the question which was, why were 2 Councillors and leader allowed to bypass the system so none of the rest the Councillors knew about this plastic Christmas tree thing and would have objected to it?”


Supplemental response from Councillor Abbott

“Well the leader was never present at any of the meetings, it was not just two Councillors, officers was also involved as well as the Chief Executive.”


2.    Question to Councillor Tracey Abbott from Mr Dale Broughton

“Councillor Abbott at the last full council meeting you presented a set of figures apparently showing a 65% increase in footfall in December 2022 on previous years, which you had only received minutes before the meeting.  Can I ask what are the actual figures, not percentages of this increased footfall, how were these figures calculated and was that the same method for measuring used in previous years?”


Response from Councillor Tracey Abbott

“December 2019, footfall was 134,008, December 2020, 91,107, 2021, 116,100, this December 22 151,188. BBC utilise HUQ footfall data, which uses mobile phone technology and is independently verified to demonstrate consistency year-on-year since 2019


Supplemental question from Mr Dale Broughton

“The figures you have provided your opinion, show Boston in December 22 was busy and a good foot fall, however relying on just on piece of data without checking with the actual retail businesses is both foolish and unprofessional. After stating at the last meeting it is not your job to go and visit retailers, I asked several business with over 130 years of business in our town what their thought were on these figures. James Hopper of Hoppers jewellers said “it was absolutely terrible, the worse December in over 25 years, the footfall through the door was so far down, the town was empty, the few who did venture in were so disappointed they vowed not to return. We tried our best with our own Christmas lights but the town to have come so far and make no effort was a total embarrassment on everybody. National news once again for the wrong reasons. I feel the Christmas just gone could be the final nail in the coffin for this once great town.” Linda Ashton stated, “Footfall has been down year on year, the worse December we have had. The town is dying with people going to other towns that have more choice and more to offer. The market was a joke and I don’t know how anyone who does the markets make any money.” Wendy Reed of Westlands, “Worst Christmas in 30 years, lack of people in the town, no effort made by the Council and national humiliation once again. This really put the [inaudible] of Councillors let down the people of Boston.” So Councillor Abbott, are you happy to continue using just data and not actually making any effort to contact Boston retailers for their views and concerns and if you are re-elected in May, due to the success in your opinion, and your data for December, will you repeat Christmas again with no decoration in the town just a plastic tree, as you obviously feel it worked so well?”


Supplemental response from Councillor Tracey Abbott

“I am not quite sure what part of the question that really was. The data we have is verified, 100% verified. The fact that our teams are constantly contacting retailers to help out. We have just also mentioned that we have got contacting for the Lincoln Christmas Market to try and help again to increase for this Christmas market. I think it is a case of we will obviously have to wait and see how we can improve but we are improving and we are doing our absolute upmost. You can tell by how many people here have said so”


A question was received from Mrs Paula Ashleigh Morris to Councillor Tom Ashton, however Mrs Morris was not present at the meeting so the questions was not asked.