Brentwood's Liberal Democrats are demanding to know who gave the go-ahead for the issue of a brutal and draconian letter issued to the town's retailers two weeks ago.
The letter demanded the removal of all A-boards and external displays and, if not, they would be removed by the council and a charge of £150 levied for their return. A council employee was sent round last week to collect any offending items.
At a meeting of the Economic Development Panel tonight, Conservative councillors queued up to distance themselves from their administration's letter after having read the local press.
Cllr Karen Chilvers, who had initially requested a review of A-boards almost two years ago and asked for this several times since, said:
"We have been inundated with retailers who are shocked at the way in which this matter has been handled and we share their views.
"I have constantly asked for a report to come before members so the relevant committee could consider some guidelines for street displays and A-boards.
"They have got out of control and some are enormous, but all retailers across the borough should have been consulted on the issue and, after the tough year that the retailers have had, this should not have been issued before that took place."
Liberal Democrat campaigner Nigel Clarke, who owns the Hair Company, in Crown Street, said businesses which aren't on the High Street relied on the A-boards to tell people they were there.
"We've been asking for signage from the council for years so people know we're down here and nothing has happened. We are happy to play ball and adhere to standards that are put in to the High Street, after all some signage has got beyond reasonable, but it is not asking too much to be consulted.
"We need a solution that will work for retailers and customers, especially those who are visually or mobility impaired."
The matter will be further considered on Wednesday at the Highways Panel.