Cherwell District Council has stepped in with an offer to keep Banbury’s pedestrianised areas free of snow and ice in the future.
Banbury Town Council was looking to extend its Snow Warden Scheme to businesses in the town centre following problems with people slipping on ice at the start of the year.
But CDC’s offer means it will work with Banbury Town Council to improve the safety of workers and shoppers during the worst wintery conditions.
The town council appealed last month for businesses to help with the gritting of pavements in the shopping streets – and Betts Butchers in Church Lane signed up to the scheme last week.
Now, following discussions between Cllr Kieron Mallon and Cllr Barry Wood, CDC – perhaps the biggest business in the area – has taken responsibility for Market Place, Parson’s Street, High Street, Broad Street (to George Street), Butchers Row and Bridge Street.
The town council’s snow warden scheme, which has been running since 2013, already has nearly 100 volunteers who grit the roads and streets where they live.
The scheme began when Oxfordshire County Council reduced its gritting programme.
Under the new link-up, CDC will use a 4X4 vehicle fitted with a small gritting attachment whenever weather forecasters predict snow or ice and will treat the town centre before people are up and about in the mornings.
Leader of CDC Cllr Wood said: “Cherwell will work in partnership with Banbury Town Council to provide a service that the county will not.
“We realise how slippery pavements and roads can become and we can adapt one of our four wheel drive vehicles to make things better.”
Cllr Mallon, leader of the town council, said: “This is a fantastic boost to the snow warden scheme and the two councils can work together to make the town centre areas safe. Unlike other suggestions that would have put a cost on to Banbury residents this will not cost the taxpayer a penny more.
“There are still places not covered by the scheme and I appeal to more businesses to join us. It would also be good if residents in the town centre – in Albert Street, Marlborough Road, Newlands, Britannia Rd areas etc – joined in.
“We provide everything they need and we also organise brief training sessions on how to spread the grit thinly and effectively.
“I’ve said before that snow wardens are important and respected members of the community – and we need more of them.”