It will, most likely, take time for villagers to get used to it but this was the new car park at Manea station on Wednesday afternoon – its third day of opening.
A solitary car, looking we might add rather splendid in the afternoon sunshine, will hopefully at some stage be joined by others.
Just don’t mention the cost or the delays to its opening.
The cost is hidden within a £9.5m allocation of cash by former Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority Mayor James Palmer to improve Fenland rail stations.
More is known about the delays to opening it, caused by issues of CCTV connections to Cambridgeshire police.
The gates opened for the first at 5.30am on Monday, giving drivers to park up, walk the few steps to the station, and await the first train of the day an hour later.
“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 a 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.
It has oft been said ‘build it and they will come’ and well they might.
But unless more trains stop there, some sort of public transport connection is made for Chatteris and, crucially, late trains become a reality rather than a pipedream, it might be a very long wait indeed to see better use of the 112 spaces on offer at Manea.
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