Canvey Town Council has been labelled shambolic by Castle Point Council’s development chief – renewing hostilities between the two authorities.

Mark Evershed told a meeting of the Canvey Island Traders’ Association that events organised by the town council needed to be more professional in their planning.

Mr Evershed, the officer in charge of regeneration at Castle Point Council, was particularly scornful of the organisation of the island’s Christmas lights switch-on and last summer’s Armed Forces Day.

Dave Blackwell, leader of the Canvey Island Independent Party, which controls the town council, said he was outraged by the slur.

He said: “It is absolutely disgraceful and thoroughly disrespectful to make that sort of remark in a public meeting.

“They were both fantastic events. The Armed Forces Day even made the national newspapers.

“It was a total insult, not just for the town council, but for the people of Canvey.”

The meeting was supposed to be discussing plans for the redevelopment of the town centre.

Mike Machin, chairman of the traders’ association, said people were upset by Mr Evershed’s blunt comments.

He said: “I was a bit taken aback, because he was not very complimentary about the efforts we have put in as a community.

“We get very offended by people saying things like that on Canvey, but that’s Mark’s style – he is very direct.”

There have been strains between the two councils, which are divided politically, with the borough run by the Conserva-tives and the Canvey Island Independent Party in power on the island.

One of the biggest flash points came over Canvey Lake, when it took the two authorities 18 months to secure a deal to transfer responsibility for redevelopment from the borough to the town.

David Marchant, chief executive of Castle Point Council, said Mr Evershed’s comments had been misinterpreted. He said: “What he was actually trying to convey was that Canvey has much to celebrate, but the island is not meeting its full potential in terms of celebratory events.

“He was certainly not being particularly critical of any one person or organisation.”

To mend bridges, the borough council has invited the town council’s clerk to sit on the town centre steering group, which oversees plans for the town centre.