Ex councillor calls for police investigation into NCP dispute

A COUNCILLOR who resigned in protest over an £800,000 settlement paid to NCP over a contract dispute has called for a police investigation into the issue.

Councillor Tom Wye
Councillor Tom Wye

Tom Wye, who resigned last month in the wake of the payout made by Worthing Borough Council, was dismayed at a gagging order placed on members preventing them revealing the amount of public money handed to the car parking firm.

Mr Wye believes councillors were kept in the dark throughout the process, and has urged Sussex Police to see if there was any criminal activity within the town hall.

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He said: “I am absolutely convinced an investigation is needed of some sort.

“If there is one and it concludes there was no criminal activity, I will accept it, but it has got to be worth investigating purely on the amount of money involved.”

Mr Wye highlighted how councillors had not been involved in the proceedings regarding the dispute and said residents had a right to know why so much public money had been spent.

He added: “Councillors have been made to play a spectator role in this costly legal battle by the officers.

“There are numerous questions that need to be answered and this can only be done by a completely independent body.

“I have not heard from the police and will give them until the end of the week before seeking further advice.”

The council said last year that the dispute related to the introduction of revised short-stay parking tariffs, which were first introduced in Worthing’s car parks in November, 2009, for what it asserts was a 12-month trial.

At the time, cabinet members agreed to pay for half of the losses the NCP would incur during the year-long period.

However, NCP was claiming compensation for the full four-and-a-half-years since the parking was introduced.

An out of court settlement was agreed days before the case was due in the High Court.

A Sussex Police spokesman confirmed they had been contacted about the allegations.

They said: “On Monday, March 10, we were contacted by a local man who alleged some impropriety in relation to a contract between Adur and Worthing councils and NCP.

“The issues raised will be looked into but at this time there is no criminal investigation.”