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Two million pound Market Place scheme on target

Boston's two million pound Market Place improvement scheme continues to make good progress and is on course for main elements of the work to be completed by the end of this month.

Outstanding works are likely to be completed by Good Friday. These include paving at the former taxi rank, the footway by the Exchange buildings, zebra crossings, paving near Bank Street, street furniture, re-surfacing of South Street carriageway and general snagging work.

Isolated works such as tactile paving, some kerbing, pedestrian access through the Ingram Memorial wall and installation of the reconstructed Five Lamps is estimated for late April/May.

A decision has still to be made about the exact timing of the return from Strait Bargate of the stall market, but it is increasingly likely to be immediately after the May Fair, which will proceed as normal in the new space and be on site from Wednesday, May 2, until Sunday, May 13.

In the interests of inconveniencing the market as little as possible it was considered better to bring the market back on a permanent basis rather than in, out, to make way for May Fair, and back in again.

Work on preparing a detailed layout for the returned market is being done in consultation with trader representatives.

Work will continue to establish an extended street café, new-look market stalls, a craft market and other trading activities on non-market days and a programme of events and street entertainment.

The taxi rank has been successfully relocated to its new position outside Boots' and disabled parking provision will be made in the former taxi rank area.

Portfolio holder for the town centre, Cllr Derek Richmond, said: "For more than 500 years Boston's Market Place has been a jewel in its crown.

Now this project has given this beautiful and historic area a new lease of life, ensuring it continues to attract new shoppers, visitors and investors for decades to come.

"The heritage of the Market Place will be brought to life with the simpler, more spacious layout.

"And with the improvements being carried out using high-quality natural materials, the area retains its unique character."

The £2m project has been made possible thanks to a £1.1m contribution from the European Regional Development Fund, in partnership with Lincolnshire County Council and Boston Borough Council.

And further investment is already on the cards, with an additional £500,000 coming from English Heritage to help refurbish buildings in the town's conservation area.

The scheme to help improve the appearance of shop fronts has received 32 expressions of interest from potential applicants. These include repairs to listed buildings within the town centre and a number of projects to reinstate traditional shop fronts which will improve the architectural quality of areas including the Market Place, Wormgate, Church Street and the High Street.

Owners and leaseholders of properties from the list of eligible buildings are being written to directly to encourage them to take up the scheme. Where properties are deemed to be a priority due to their poor condition or negative impact on their surroundings enforcement action is also being considered in cases where owners have been offered a grant but have declined the opportunity.

Property owners can get in touch with Conservation Project Officer Liz Bates to gain advice about work that will be eligible for a grant and to discuss opportunities to improve the condition and quality of their properties. You can contact her on 01205 314339 or email liz.bates@boston.gov.uk