A FAITH-based group will not force Christian prayer on those they help on the streets of Oswestry, its co-founder has assured.

Councillor Barry Edwards raised concerns to Tony Durnell over rules saying that Shropshire Street Angels’ Oswestry group would hold prayers before shifts.

Speaking at Wednesday's Markets and Town Centre Committee meeting, Cllr Edwards praised the aim of bringing the town’s diverse population, but he saw the prayer directive as “little bit of a conflict”.

But Mr Durnell said that, although a believer, he would prefer not to have prayers before a shift and would amend the document to say that it was optional.

“Anybody who wants to talk during the night, they can do it. I would stop anybody deciding to have a prayer group in the middle of the street if there was a fight taking place, because that is not good,” he said.

“I’ve seen it happen in other places but that will not happen on my watch.”

Mr Durnell earlier told councillors that the group was welcome to people of all faiths and none.

West Mercia Police has provided a room for the Street Angels to use as a base, councillors heard.

Street Angels will look to help vulnerable people in the night time economy – initially on Saturday nights and perhaps on Fridays and at town events in future.

The group has recruited seven volunteers but is aiming to recruit 25 in total.

Volunteers will not get involved in dealing with altercations, members heard.

Mr Durnell said the cost of setting up the group would be a maximum of around £3,500.

Councillors agreed to match the West Mercia police and crime commissioner’s £1,000 grant, which would go towards start up costs.

Cllr Edwards voted against the proposal, along with Cllr Mike Isherwood and Cllr Rebecca Evans.

When asked by Cllr Chris Schofield if he would see council funding as a one-off payment, Mr Durnell said he would like it to be.

"If I come back next year then I feel that either we're expanding at a rate where I can't maintain the funding or I've failed, because I don't believe in coming every year with a bucket or cap in hand." he said.