A ROW has erupted between two former council colleagues, with one branding the other a "dictator".
Anne Chalk, who lost her seat on Southend Council last year, is standing in May's local election against Independent Mike Assenheim, who she accused of trying to dominate the group.
The pair are both standing in Shoebury.
Mr Assenheim has hit back at Mrs Chalk, who served from 2011 to 2015, accusing her of ordering residents to remove his campaign posters from their windows.
Mrs Chalk was previously part of the Independent group, but she is following in the footsteps of former colleagues Steven Aylen and Dr Marimuthu Velmurugan by going it alone.
She is no longer aligned to any political group, but said she would be open to working with the Independent's again in the future.
She said: “I only lost by a couple of hundred votes last year, in what was a general election year. I wouldn’t say I was standing against Mike.
“There are one or two individuals in the group who like to dominate the group and dictate what goes on.
“That doesn’t mean I’m not willing to work with them in the future, but I’d like to bring back Dr Vel and Stephen into the group.”
Mrs Chalk said she did not fell supported by the former group colleagues in her bid to get a taxi rank removed from outside Shoebury Health Centre, in Campfield Road, as well as her attempt to have yellow lines installed in more High Street locations.
Explaining the dispute with Mrs Chalk, Mr Assenheim said: “About two years ago she took a turn for the worst and started having a go at me.
“I know it sounds like children squabbling, but she has been so unreasonable, because we did not support her ideas.
“This party is not a dictatorship. I have never been dictated to.”
Mr Assenheim, spokesman for the Independent group, which is on the ruling administration at Southend Council, alleged that Mrs Chalk had demanded his poster was removed from a window in Shoebury High Street.
Resident John Innes, 49, said the incident was a “mix up” with his partner.
He said they had chosen to display Mrs Chalk’s poster instead of Mr Assenheim's, and denied the former councillor had demanded it was taken down.