WITH LONG RANGE weather forecasters predicting a cold October and snow before Christmas, Uckfield’s shopkeepers and businesses are being urged to prepare to help themselves when the white stuff falls.
The town’s Chamber of Commerce has negotiated a deal with Green DIY for members to buy a shovel and grit at a special price enabling them to clear the pavements outside their shops.
The deal will run from Monday, October 17 until Monday, November 7, and is part of a wider initiative to help keep trade and transport in Uckfield moving in the snow. Last year many roads were blocked because snow iced overnight causing treacherous surfaces.
Uckfield Town Council will be recruiting volunteers from to help clear key residential areas and it is hoped traders will work on High Street pavements.
The initiative, which also involves Wealden District Council and East Sussex County Council, will be formally launched in early October.
Executive committee member Mark Arno told a meeting of the Chamber that it was important to be ready for snow this year and encouraged traders to play their part by clearing the pavements outside their businesses.
He told members clearance of the pavement outside his own shop, Carvills, last year had the double benefit of shoppers feeling safer on a clear pavement and able to easily access the shop and the shop being able to take advantage of extra business from people who couldn’t drive out of town.
“It’s no good leaving the snow to get compressed and freeze. It needs to be cleared immediately,” he said.
Some members of the Chamber queried why they should clear the snow when they were paying business rates?
But Mr Arno said that councils’ resources were limited and focused on clearing the main roads. If pavements were to be certain of being cleared traders would need to take the responsibility themselves.
He said the owner of Footcraft in the High Street had cleared outside his shop and all the way down to Grange Road last year and if others did the same outside their businesses everybody would benefit.