Saturday, 31 December 2011

Thorpe Bay Oracle

In between Christmas and New Year is a time when residents queries reduce but this year has seen a significant rise.

The reason can be attributed to an advert placed by the Burges Estate Residents Association (BERA) on page 13 of the December issue of the Thorpe Bay Oracle. The Thorpe Bay Oracle is distributed in parts of West Shoebury ward especially in areas covered by Burges Estate.

Worried residents in these areas, including the vulnerable and the elderly, have contacted me concerned that they are going to shortly receive a demand for thousands of pounds from representatives of Thorpe Estates Ltd.

The BERA advert claims that residents in West Shoebury can get access to information and advice to avoid paying thousands of pounds for an alteration license with the strap line at the bottom '£5 or £1000,s you have a choice!'.

Not only does the advert imply that residents are about to get costly demands but only paying BERA a £5 subscription fee will can stop this. One fuming resident even compared the advert to one of the money making scams that people receive via email.

What is also concerning is that the only two contact details on the advert are those of Ron Woodley and Mike Stafford...Independent Party councillors for Thorpe Ward.

The ad is poorly worded and does give cause for concern. It is also irresponsible for two councillors to compromise themselves in this way fuelling the argument that councillors should not chair resident associations. At the very least Ron should apologise for the distress that he has caused West Shoebury residents over Christmas.

Due to the number of queries that I have received on the interpretation of this advert I have asked the Advertising Standards Authority to investigate.   

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Cox,

The matter of licences for alterations on the Burges Estate is a very serious one that you should seek to fully understand before attacking those who are trying to remedy this situation.

Mr Woodley may not always get it right, or go about thing the right way, but at least he is trying to stop this appalling practice.

The residents who have not made alterations have nothing to fear but those who have altered their properties will almost certainly become involved with Thorpe Estate Limited at some time. This is not scare mongering but the ugly facts of Thorpe Estate's conduct. My involvement with them has lasted an expasperating 7 years.

If your residents are affected you should work with BERA not against them (even if some of their tactics frustrate you). If your residents are not affected you should just tell your residents that they are not affected and leave it at that.

If your ward does not cover the Burges Estate you should either seek to understand this issue in its full detail and offer to assist or stay out of it.

You must understand this issue fully before making further comments - it is just too important to score political points over. You are potentially making it worse for residents. If you want to attack Ron you picked the wrong subject. Even if you considered his wording was misleading this did not need to become a public fight - you should be on the same side re this extortiontate practice of alterations licences.

If you are not on the same side it is your motives and connections that could come under question.