Speculation is rife about the real reasons for the resignation of Epsom’s business development manager.
The Epsom Guardian revealed last week that Adam Worley, who only took up the two-year role last August, would be leaving the position at the beginning of August after handing in his notice to Epsom Council.
Since then a debate has raged as to why the 27-year-old has decided to give up his £43,000-a-year role - with a number of comments left on our original story, some criticising an apparent lack of progress over the past year and attacking councillors for failing to support him.
One said: "I also agree that there are no apparent changes, I only see a continued steady decline.
"This guy clearly came into the role with an abundance of enthusiasm, sadly, even at that point, many could see that the task ahead would not be easy."
Another said: "Mr Worley did and does a wonderful job and unfortunately Epsom will suffer in the near future because he's suggestions were all ignored!
"If you employ an expert to do a job, should you allow him to do it, instead of stopping him every time he tries to do something!"
Responding to the comments Mr Worley insisted that structural changes are under way.
He said: "Bringing about change cannot be accomplished overnight as re-engaging lost residents who no longer use the town and changing attitudes of those who have had a negative opinion take time."
Epsom town councillor Neil Dallen and Adam Worley launch the town centre survey in February
When asked for the reasons by the Epsom Guardian why he has decided to leave, Mr Worley did not answer the question but released this statement: "I have thoroughly enjoyed working in Epsom and Ewell and supporting the business community.
"My role has been to influence and challenge all sides; suggesting solutions from proven best practice, tailored to fit local requirements.
"A lot has been done in a relatively short space of time due to a strong desire from residents, businesses and councillors to bring about change.
"Work to bring about change is time consuming and cannot happen overnight.
"Parking proposals and recommendations that went to the council in August have only just been adopted.
"I have been working with several companies who I know are keen to open in Epsom, however non-local landlords and business rates have acted as significant barriers to perfectly viable businesses.
"Local authorities and businesses cannot dictate landlord rents or business rates, and suggestions to the contrary are incorrect.
"Within my new role I will be able to continue to challenge national government on Business rates, which are now often higher than the rents being paid by businesses.
"Businesses will continue to close across Epsom if we, as local residents, do not change our habits to physically use independent shops.
"If residents feel passionately about our three retail hubs, they can also engage with their local councillor to encourage the council to prioritise purchasing assets critical to the success of the town, and facilitating new clusters of small independent retailers.
"I wish to highlight and acknowledge the work being undertaken in Ewell by Annie Ralf and others from the Ewell Traders Association.
"I feel privileged to have worked alongside this group, who recently demonstrated the importance and influence of such groups in challenging the decision to remove parking bays.
"The Summer Traders Day, taking place on Saturday 12th July, in support of Ewell Village Fair will see the village awash with colour, music, games and a treasure hunt, all with a 1914 theme. These activities will only be possible with the support of the local community and would encourage everyone to discover Ewell’s amazing selection of bustling shops, and make the 12th July a family day out.
"I will continue to offer all support I can to Epsom and Ewell borough in my new role, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported me in supporting Epsom over the last year."
Epsom councillors Clive Smitheram and Mike Teasdale with Adam Worley at the Lights on Broadway event in Stoneleigh in December
The cost of his role is match-funded by the council and The Ashley Centre which put in £50,000 each.
An Epsom Council spokesman said last week that the recruitment process to find Mr Worley’s replacement will begin shortly and wished him luck with his "excellent career opportunity elsewhere".
When asked today why Mr Worley has resigned, a spokesman said: "The council has nothing it wishes to add to the previous statement."
But he denied rumours that Mr Worley has been given a "golden handshake" by Epsom Council when he resigned.
The spokesman said: "No such payment has been made or will be made nor is there any reason for any such payment to be made - this is simply someone moving on."
Mr Worley was not given such a payment on joining the council either, the spokesman added.
It is understood that Mr Worley will be joining the Association of Town Centre Management (ATCM).
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