Former Worthing mayor Tom Wye has quit the council entirely in protest at ongoing secrecy over its parking dispute with NCP.
Councillor Tom Wye resigned from Worthing Borough Council yesterday following the conclusion of a row between the authority and parking firm NCP.
Town hall bosses ended a decade-long parking agreement with the company over concerns that charges in Worthing's multi-storey car parks were detrimental to the town's economy.
As a result the council was set to meet NCP in London's High Court today over an alleged breach of contract. However an out-of-court settlement was agreed on Tuesday.
But the council refused to confirm the figure, believed to be around £700,000.
Former Worthing mayor Mr Wye, 72, has been a councillor for 11 years and was instrumental in the Keep Worthing and Southlands Hospitals (KWASH) campaign, which saved Worthing's accident and emergency department.
He said: “I could not live with the gagging order imposed on members by the council and NCP. “It is a huge amount of public money. It is not the council's money, it is taxpayers' money and it is being offloaded to a third party company. “What the order is saying is that Worthing residents don't deserve to know. I told them that if any settlement is reached with an order attached I would resign and unfortunately that is what it's come to.
“I'm very disappointed it has come to this but it is time for a younger person to come in. On April 1 when NCP no longer has a contract in this town, there should be a massive party to celebrate. “It will be the best news for Worthing since it was announced Worthing A&E would be saved.”
Mr Wye, who was a cabinet member for health and wellbeing when he resigned, said he hoped plans to make Worthing a “dementia friendly” town would be pushed through despite his resignation. Mr Wye had been working closely with current mayor Bob Smytherman on proposals.
Councillor Smytherman said: “I'm hoping to find allies now because it's important that Worthing becomes a dementia friendly town. I think there's a far greater need for the elderly demographic here.
“With regard to Tom it is sad news. He's given a long and dedicated service to the town as councillor and mayor and he'll be missed. It's sad he felt he had no alternative when he was only a few months away from standing down anyway. But I fully respect his decision. You can only admire the courage and principal of the man.”