A bid to get Banbury Town Council to treat town centre pedestrianised areas for ice and snow, regardless of cost was defeated last week.
A resolution was proposed by Labour councillor for Neithrop North Surinder Dhesi and seconded by Cllr Steve Kilsby and came as a reaction to the recent number of trips and falls market goers suffered on untreated ice during a January cold snap.
In part it read: ‘This council is deeply concerned that parts of the town centre became unsafe due to ice during the recent bad weather
‘This council’s admirable Snow Warden scheme has the potential to assist in this by doing all it can by way of promotion and discussion with all businesses lying adjacent to hazardous pavements and roads, to ensure that they are signed up to the scheme, and to providing assistance and training to them wherever possible.’
It went on to request that: ‘Whilst this council remains financially prudent, this should never be at the cost of public health so, to avoid unnecessary injuries, the council will ensure such surfaces are treated at the earliest possible moment, and will recover any costs for this work due from other authorities and agencies who may be technically responsible for them, at a later date.”
The initiative was defeated for a number of reasons not least of which was the financial burden to Banbury taxpayers for overseeing a responsibility budgeted to Oxfordshire County Council (OCC).
Town council leader, Conservative Cllr Kieron Mallon, said: “It was defeated as it asked for the town council and the taxpayers of Banbury to write an open ended cheque.
“It required the town council, which only has a small number of staff, to be on 24/7 standby through winter in case of snow and ice, that would involve a significant rise in tax.”
Any cost to the council, the motion suggested, would be recouped from OCC at a later date but this too was a bone of contention.
Cllr Mallon said: “The naivety in Cllr’s Dhesi and Kilsby in thinking that the OCC would reimburse the town council shows they don’t understand how local government works.”
The Snow Warden scheme, already budgeted into the town council’s expenditure, provides all materials including salt, shovels, hi-vis clothing and training to anyone who signs up and is seen as a more cost effective solution to winter weather issues.
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