Deep in the Fens, gates sliding open at 5.30am evidenced the reality of a 112-space car park being able to welcome its first ‘guest’
“Well finally at 5.30am this morning the Manea Station car park gates opened,” was the rousing statement from local councillor Charlie Marks.
He has been on ‘car park watch’ awaiting the moment technical issues got resolved to enable the long-delayed car park to open.
Cllr Marks said it was no fuss, no thrills moment and “an official opening will be held later in the year.”
He added: “Thanks to everyone who has made this happen.”
And he said the best news is that it would be free to use for those using the village rail station.
“Clear road outside the house this morning- car park open! Woo-hoo,” was how one resident reacted to cars finally being offered a parking space other than on the busy village roads.
Cllr Marks said the car park has been almost 20 years in the planning and building and has been held up on numerous occasions due to unforeseen issues.
“But finally, Manea will have a free, well lit, CCTV monitored off street park for rail users using our station,” he said.
“Many people have been involved in this project which will continue to help Manea prosper but has not cost Manea any money.”
He explained that the need for a park had long been identified and it then took time to find the site and the money to build it.
“Approximately four years ago the previous combined authority Mayor James Palmer at a meeting I attended at FDC banged the table and told officers it needed sorting asap,” he said.
“Things then moved at pace, land purchase, planning, design, and build.
“There were hold ups due to Covid and then supply issues as most build projects had during Covid.
“The delay was made worse by issues with the CCTV and its signal receiver at March police station.”
With delays consigned to history, Cllr Marks the village now has “has safe off-street parking and hopefully will lead to more stopping trains too.”
A turf cutting ceremony on 21st September 2021 marked the commencement of works, and was attended by representatives of Danaher & Walsh, Fenland District
The car park has been built on land north of the station, accessed from Fodder Fen Road.
It provides a cycle shelter, CCTV, low-energy lighting, and improved drainage infrastructure. Bird and bat nest boxes will be installed in the area.
Plans to create new car parks at Manea and Whittlesea railway stations were among the raft of improvements for Fenland stations being delivered through Fenland District Council’s Railway Station Masterplans scheme, funded by £9.5 million from the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority.
Both stations have already seen the installation of new platform waiting shelters through the Combined Authority funding and Section 106 contributions, with platform extensions among the other improvements in the pipeline.
The station improvements were “signed off” by then Mayor James Palmer of the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority.
“We’ve put in a lot of money to make rail a more attractive and user-friendly option, with improved facilities across the Fenland stations,” he said at the time.
“The car and cycle parking we’ve funded will help get ‘long haul’ commuters off the roads and into the trains, but I shan’t stop pushing for the reliable and frequent services that will give rail travel the big boost it needs to coax people on board”.
Originally the car park at Manea was promised for completion in April of 2022.
Can you help us?
While you’re here, we are asking, for the first time, for readers to support us financially by taking out a modest subscription.
£2, or £3 or even £5 will help us achieve our goals. It will mean the second year of CambsNews will be livelier, healthier, and much better placed to cover the important issues affecting our everyday lives.
Your subscription simply means we can provide and expand our news FREE to all readers (Read More)Will you help us? Simply click the link below to make a donation.