A COUNCIL director’s surprise resignation has prompted concerns that encouraging progress made in recent months could take a turn for the worse.
Director for the economy at Adur and Worthing councils Scott Marshall took up the role last June but is leaving in July to set up his own consultancy.
With a focus on business, Mr Marshall has been praised by business figures for his work at the council but town centre manager Sharon Clarke believed the news could put the brakes on progress.
She said: “There has been a lot of talk and we are still hopeful for some action and it just seems slow.
“Even with the Montague Street repaving, if it wasn’t for the councillors and their very strong stance I think that could have fallen by the wayside.
“We need officers driving Worthing’s cause forward. We were very hopeful with Scott and he was starting to move things in the right direction and focussing on business as a priority.”
A new candidate is expected to be in post by autumn and the council insists its focus on economic growth will not be diminished.
Worthing and Adur Chamber of Commerce chief executive Tina Tilley said the news was disappointing.
“We are very disappointed. Obviously we wish him well but from our point of view we have spent nine months getting to know him, understanding and where he is coming from and that could be lost in the changeover.
“Scott has been very approachable, personable and proactive in trying to get things to happen.
“We need a replacement to be put in very quickly.”
Mr Marshall said: “Over the past 12 months, we have seen Adur and Worthing going through an upwards growth trajectory, with millions of pounds being invested from the Government, regional funding agencies and private sector investors and businesses.
“With the building blocks structures in place, and increasing interest in the area from private investors and the business community, the councils have a fantastic platform for future economic and social growth.”
Chief executive Alex Bailey will now seek an ‘exceptional candidate’ to fill the vacant role.
He said: “Scott has played a significant role here in tackling some tricky issues around theatres and parking, and in the laying of strong foundations for future growth and prosperity.”