Worthing Council reaches rumoured £700k out of court settlement with NCP over car park row

The Argus: Buckingham Road car park in Worthing. Picture by actaeon1805 from Flickr Buckingham Road car park in Worthing. Picture by actaeon1805 from Flickr

Worthing Council has agreed to compensate a parking firm just days before it was due to appear before court.

Worthing Borough Council was due to fight an alleged breach of contract with parking company NCP today at London's High Court.

The authority was being sued for more than £1 million after it ended a decade-long parking contract with the firm to bring services back in-house. It was claimed NCP's prices were having a detrimental effect on Worthing's economy.

But days before the case an out-of-court settlement was agreed with NCP, believed to be about £700,000.

The settlement will have come as a relief to council bosses, who last week voiced concern that an “already cash-strapped council” would have had to fork out £1.5 million if it lost the case.

Insiders say taxpayers' will not directly fund the settlement figure through money-making exercises, like council tax rises, because the council budgets for unforeseen expenditure.

Councillor Daniel Humphreys, cabinet member for resources at Worthing Borough Council, said: “I cannot comment on the announcement, but prices have been reduced dramatically down to £1 an hour in all multi-storey car parks previously run by NCP.

“The company does not run the council's car parks anymore.”

The council's former head of technical services, Cliff Harrison, lost his job in relation to the contract dispute.

A statement from Worthing Borough Council said: “Worthing Borough Council and NCP are pleased to announce the amicable settlement of the contract dispute.

“The contract, which is due to finish on March 31 2014, sees the end of a ten-year period during which NCP has managed and operated the town's multi storey car parks and a number of surface car parks on behalf of the council.

“The parties have agreed to keep the details of the settlement agreement between them confidential and not to disclose the details to any third party.”

Comments (9)

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8:32am Wed 26 Feb 14

Mettler says...

It's not right that a council can spend money or be fined and for the details to remain confidential.
It's not right that a council can spend money or be fined and for the details to remain confidential. Mettler

9:41am Wed 26 Feb 14

Goldenwight says...

Mettler wrote:
It's not right that a council can spend money or be fined and for the details to remain confidential.
I don';t believe that has happened. What HAS happened is that an agreement has been made to settle out of court in a mutually agreeable figure which has saved both parties a lot of inconvenience- not to mention mud-slinging.

The Council is still required to report the payment in its annual accounts so there is no confidentiality- it isn't some shady "under the counter" deal.

And there is no question of a fine- this is a payment for an alleged breach of contract
[quote][p][bold]Mettler[/bold] wrote: It's not right that a council can spend money or be fined and for the details to remain confidential.[/p][/quote]I don';t believe that has happened. What HAS happened is that an agreement has been made to settle out of court in a mutually agreeable figure which has saved both parties a lot of inconvenience- not to mention mud-slinging. The Council is still required to report the payment in its annual accounts so there is no confidentiality- it isn't some shady "under the counter" deal. And there is no question of a fine- this is a payment for an alleged breach of contract Goldenwight

11:48am Wed 26 Feb 14

Richada says...

Another council.......anothe
r pile of council tax payers money used inappropriately.

There HAS to be a better way of running local affairs than this!
Another council.......anothe r pile of council tax payers money used inappropriately. There HAS to be a better way of running local affairs than this! Richada

1:13pm Wed 26 Feb 14

Durango_Splubb says...

The article gleefully states:

"Insiders say taxpayers' will not directly fund the settlement figure through money-making exercises, like council tax rises, because the council budgets for unforeseen expenditure."

So where does this money come from then?

Could you stop wasting space with waffle & stick to reality.
Could you also control your urges at every opportunity to indulge in erroneous use of spurious apostrophes.

Because the current contract was due to end within a few weeks this obviously looks like an un-necessary situation. And because it looks so suspicious I believe there is dodgy deals being done. Which is probably the last paragraph says;
“The parties have agreed to keep the details of the settlement agreement between them confidential and not to disclose the details to any third party.”
I suppose by 'third party' they mean the people who pay the tax that funds this farcical fiscal chicanery and dodgy dealings!
The article gleefully states: "Insiders say taxpayers' will not directly fund the settlement figure through money-making exercises, like council tax rises, because the council budgets for unforeseen expenditure." So where does this money come from then? Could you stop wasting space with waffle & stick to reality. Could you also control your urges at every opportunity to indulge in erroneous use of spurious apostrophes. Because the current contract was due to end within a few weeks this obviously looks like an un-necessary situation. And because it looks so suspicious I believe there is dodgy deals being done. Which is probably the last paragraph says; “The parties have agreed to keep the details of the settlement agreement between them confidential and not to disclose the details to any third party.” I suppose by 'third party' they mean the people who pay the tax that funds this farcical fiscal chicanery and dodgy dealings! Durango_Splubb

8:22pm Wed 26 Feb 14

qm says...

If the contract was due to end March 31st. 2014, what was the row about?
If the contract was due to end March 31st. 2014, what was the row about? qm

11:06pm Wed 26 Feb 14

getThisCoalitionOut says...

NCP is a disgusting company so why do councils continuously give contracts to them and allow them to have car parks in all the town centres in Sussex?

There is no way this lot should have ever been given the contract.

They treat their staff like dirt and their customers.
NCP is a disgusting company so why do councils continuously give contracts to them and allow them to have car parks in all the town centres in Sussex? There is no way this lot should have ever been given the contract. They treat their staff like dirt and their customers. getThisCoalitionOut

11:26am Thu 27 Feb 14

Goldenwight says...

getThisCoalitionOut wrote:
NCP is a disgusting company so why do councils continuously give contracts to them and allow them to have car parks in all the town centres in Sussex? There is no way this lot should have ever been given the contract. They treat their staff like dirt and their customers.
If you think NCP treat their staff like their customers, try parking in a disabled bay in your own car rather than one of their vans and see where it gets you...
[quote][p][bold]getThisCoalitionOut[/bold] wrote: NCP is a disgusting company so why do councils continuously give contracts to them and allow them to have car parks in all the town centres in Sussex? There is no way this lot should have ever been given the contract. They treat their staff like dirt and their customers.[/p][/quote]If you think NCP treat their staff like their customers, try parking in a disabled bay in your own car rather than one of their vans and see where it gets you... Goldenwight

11:41am Thu 27 Feb 14

Concernedres66 says...

Those council members responsible for the original agreement should be publicly named and held to account for this fiasco. The ordinary tax payers of the borough are being made to pay, one way or another, for their mistakes.
Perhaps if these idiots were made personally accountable for their decisions, they would think long and hard before signing dodgy agreements with self-serving multi national corporations like NCP. Anyone with half a brain could have seen this one coming!
Those council members responsible for the original agreement should be publicly named and held to account for this fiasco. The ordinary tax payers of the borough are being made to pay, one way or another, for their mistakes. Perhaps if these idiots were made personally accountable for their decisions, they would think long and hard before signing dodgy agreements with self-serving multi national corporations like NCP. Anyone with half a brain could have seen this one coming! Concernedres66

12:29pm Thu 27 Feb 14

E for Idiot says...

Who the hell negotiated the original contract? Absolutely scandalous ! A supposed 10 year contract, with no breaks, reviews or price caps, that we now learn actually had no end date. Staggering incompetence.
Who the hell negotiated the original contract? Absolutely scandalous ! A supposed 10 year contract, with no breaks, reviews or price caps, that we now learn actually had no end date. Staggering incompetence. E for Idiot

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