A RESIDENT has claimed a new UK Independence Party branch shop in Harwich could make visitors from the continent “feel uncomfortable”.

The Ukip shop, in King’s Quay Street, was opened last month by Mike Bush, the party’s candidate for the Great and Little Oakley district council ward by-election.

A resident complained to Tendring Council, claiming that the former cafe should not be used as a party shop.

They said: “The building has been set up with nationalistic slogans in a designated conservation area, which is reliant on tourism.

“The slogans could make foreign tourists, as well as local residents, feel uncomfortable and unwelcome. This is detrimental to local businesses.”

Nigel Brown, the council’s communications manager, confirmed a complaint has been received about the property being used as offices.

He said: “The matter has been investigated by the planning enforcement team and there is a permitted change of use for up to two years without requiring a planning application.”

“The flags and projecting sign were present when the property was a cafe, so there is no material change to the exterior of a listed building in a conservation area.”

Mr Bush said he was “amazed” at the complaint.

“It brightens up the area and it is a bona fide place to carry out our work,” he said. “We are using that as a place for consultation and as a place for people to raise local issues they want to discuss.”

The word “independence” on the shop window had been incorrectly spelled as “independance”, but Mr Bush said the error has been corrected.

Great and Little Oakley voters will head for the polls next Thursday to elect a new district councillor.

The other candidates are Matthew Bensilum (Lib Dems), Andy Erskine (Con) and Robert Shephard (Lab).