UPDATE: Mayor gets parking ticket as he lays first Montague Place brick
Worthing's mayor was given a parking ticket as he laid the first brick of the Montague Place improvement works on Tuesday.
Councillor Michael Donin parked his official car on double yellow lines in Liverpool Terrace, before marking the landmark moment in the progress of the £1.2million revamp of the high street.
The first paver was part of the central ‘way finding’ feature – but presumably it will not point the mayor to a parking space.
A Worthing Borough Council spokesman said: “The council’s parking team are awaiting a statement and photos from the civil enforcement officer, as standard procedure, before we can confirm specific details. However, we can confirm that if the mayor’s vehicle was parked on a loading ban, then the driver will be expected to take responsibility for payment of any fine.
“The loading prohibition is on safety grounds to enable larger vehicles to turn easily, to ensure there is clear flow of traffic and to prevent visibility issues for drivers and pedestrians. Therefore there is no exemption for vehicles to park or wait where there is this prohibition.”
Mr Donin had been invited to the event by town centre manager Sharon Clarke, who said it was ‘exciting’ to see the project taking shape.
But while the first brick has been laid, the completion date has been delayed by two months, due to the need to relocate a UK Power Networks cable.
This means the work is now scheduled to be completed in August.
Mrs Clarke said: “A lot of people have been seeing the preparation work, which is important, but it gets frustrating while all you are seeing is rubble.
“It is exciting and people will soon be able to see what it is going to look like.”
Mrs Clarke said that despite the setback in completion date, footfall was up by eight per cent, suggesting shoppers were not being deterred from travelling into town.
Prior to his parking ticket, Mr Donin said: “It is a great privilege to be able to lay the first stone for the way finder.
“When I pass by this site I will be able to think that I had laid the first stone.”
The first phase of works will see Montague Place repaved, installation of covered seating and a performance space, along with ‘table-topping’ of Liverpool Gardens to better link it to the high street.
A test bed was laid in Montague Street last year, which identified the need for a different type of red brick, as the test bricks faded.
The bandstand has been dismantled and the new way finder will be in its place, with LED lights built into the pavers.
It is not the first time the mayor has been involved in a parking saga.
Heather Mercer hit the Herald front page in 2007 after her chauffeur parked her civic Skoda on the pavement at the opening of the town’s new parking shop.
But a fine was not issued as the mayor was entitled to a special ‘business permit’, allowing the car to be parking on double yellow lines.