COMMENT: Wounds still being licked over £7.5m flop

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Can you remember what you were doing one year ago yesterday?

Many of our local dignatories and councillors were helping snip the ribbon on the ill-fated Red Lion Quarter.

A building which – we thought – cost an eye-watering £6.5million.

This week, as the fall-out from its failings was further sifted through by South Holland District Council’s cabinet, it emerged that it actually cost another million (or put another way, a horrendously expensive and horribly delayed new travellers’ site at Holbeach).

And now we’re bracing ourselves for the amount which Boston College actually paid to take on the building.

Coun Roger Gambba-Jones admitted this week to being “disappointed” when he heard the figure.

Assuming that he’ll be adopting collective responsibility as the district council licks its wounds over this horror story, I’d go as far as to predict that the public will be shocked and disgusted at how little it was sold for.

The market was limited, the college knew that and it will have gone for a song.

I hope I’m wrong.

Eventually, we’ll hear and by then hopefully the place will have been operating successfully for several months – if not as the purpose for which it was originally intended.

And then we can all move on from the Red Lion Quarter’s annus horribilis, look to the future and be thankful for a superb learning facility which we would not have otherwise had.

See – there is a happy ending.

OK, so that was this time last year. Do you remember what you were up to this time last week?

Was your blood boiling on a packed filling station forecourt? Or – even worse – on nearby roads?

When there was a fuel shortage in late 2000, I was on a journalism course in Darlington so the train was my largely unaffected mode of transport (before the subsequent flooding).

Even if I had been badly affected back then I wouldn’t have been rushing out to fill up last week. There was no need.

What annoyed me was the blame for a woman suffering bad burns after decanting petrol near a naked flame in her kitchen being laid at MP Francis Maude’s door.

Whether or not you felt that his comment that fuel stored in a jerry can in the garage might be a sensible measure was ill-advised, it did not give carte blanche for stupidity (be it in the home or on the forecourts).

Meanwhile, I felt as though I ought to have been wearing a T-shirt screaming “IT’S FOR MY LAWNMOWER!” when I produced my 5l plastic can from the boot of the car at BP in Little London on Sunday morning. (It was, by the way).