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Bid to tackle street drinkers, anti-social behaviour and other problems in Boston

By Boston Target  |  Posted: October 03, 2012

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KEY issues surrounding population change in Boston have been highlighted in a major new report.

Following a four-month inquiry, a Boston Borough Council task and finish group committee has come up with 28 draft recommendations ranging from tackling street drinking and anti-social behaviour through to clearer rules on deportation for those not meeting their EU treaty rights to live and work in Boston.

The latest Census statistics showed an increase in Boston's population from 55,750 in 2001 to 64,600 in 2011.

Committee chairman, Councillor Paul Kenny, said: "This is a serious attempt to look at some of the key issues in the town.

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"Some of the recommendations in the report we can't put in place ourselves but we are going to have to get the support of our MP, Lincolnshire County Council and health authorities etc.

"I don't think many other local authorities have tackled such a review. We are trying to say these are real issues and this is how we can work together with some of the big agencies."

During the course of the inquiry, the committee gathered evidence from the police, health departments, businesses, the press and other councils in Lincolnshire into the impact of migration, with a mixture of responses ranging from people welcoming the multi-cultural mix that population change has brought, to others demanding a halt to inward migration.

This study has then formed the basis for a series of balanced recommendations to tackle some of the main issues.

One key recommendation that the borough council can take action on themselves is the urgent adoption of a policy to licence all Houses of Multiple Occupation.

Portfolio holder for housing property and community, Councillor Mike Gilbert, said: "One of the problems in Boston at the present time is that around 95 per cent of people from Eastern Europe live in the private sector.

"One thing that's been recognised is that if we do have a licensing process it gives us a greater understanding about conditions and safeguards.

"Some of the criticisms of HMOs are parking and litter. We are not saying we can resolve those overnight but it's the start of a process where we know who owns that house and who lives there and if there's anyone not fully paying their council tax."

The draft report will go to an overview and scrutiny meeting on October 18 with the emphasis that its initial findings are not set in stone.

Mr Gilbert added: "We hope most people will think this is a brave attempt by Boston Borough Council to get to the bottom of the tensions that we identified.

"We need to make sure that issues that affect Boston are known at a local, regional, national and European level.

"Boston has changed and if it's going to move forward, we need to make sure we are talking a bit more as one."

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