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.