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ONE-derful, ONE-derful Manea station – day three of car park opening

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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.

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. PHOTO: Terry Harris

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. PHOTO: Terry Harris

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.

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. PHOTO: Terry Harris

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. PHOTO: Terry Harris

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.

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. PHOTO: Terry Harris

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. PHOTO: Terry Harris

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.”

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. PHOTO: Terry Harris

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. PHOTO: Terry Harris

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.

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. PHOTO: Terry Harris

Manea Car Park, Station, Manea
Wednesday 09 August 2023.
Picture by Terry Harris.

“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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