PROMINENT businessman Philip Miller has blasted Southend Council, saying the authority “bottled” a key decision over travellers.

On Thursday night, councillors narrowly rejected an attempt to

bring in a blanket ban on travellers stopping on public spaces across the borough

.

Southend Standard:

Independent - Martin Terry

Former chairman of the seafront traders’ association, businessman Paul Thompson also waded in the row calling the decision an example of today’s “snowflake politics”.

The injunction had been suggested by five Tory councillors who claim existing powers to prevent travellers from pitching up on public land are simply not strong enough.

But concerns were raised that the process could be legally challenged in court, leading to additional costs for the council and the taxpayer.

Now a Twitter spat has broke out.

It happened after independent councillor Martin Terry took to social media to say: “Tories attempt to ignore legal counsel’s advice and waste £50,000 plus of Southend taxpayer’s money fails”.

Businessman Paul Thompson condemned the decision before Mr Miller, the owner of Adventure Island, added his bottlers jibe.

Mr Miller tweeted Mr Terry saying: “Taking counsel’s advice sounds like your came, you saw, and you bottled it to me. All we all want is the best for Southend, we all agree the so-called ‘travellers’ are not what we want in town.”

Mr Thompson added: “I wouldn’t wipe my bottom with that legal advice. Will Southend’s residents view this as dog whistle politics or snowflake politics?”

Meanwhile, Mr Terry also got involved in a heated exchange with Southend Tory, Daniel Nelson. He branded the legal advice “a farce based off incorrect and contradictory information”, adding that “we’ve wasted around £66,000 on moving them on and cleaning up after them since 2017”.

Mr Terry was insistent the injunction “would not work” and “would be no more effective than the power we have now”.

Mr Nelson stated his rival was “misleading the public” and claimed the Tory party had approached police, with the force stating the injunction would help.

Councillors were tied on the vote on Thursday night, with the deciding vote going to mayor John Lamb who voted against the proposal.