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£1m taxpayer-funded car park used by three cars in first week

By Tom Gibson | August 15, 2023

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Local residents say the car park wasn’t needed and money could be better spent elsewhere

£1m taxpayer-funded car park used by three cars in first week

Taxpayers have questioned the decision to build a huge £1m car park on the outskirts of a quiet village after just three cars used it in its first week.

The car park was built to the north of Manea railway station, near Ely in Cambridgeshire.

Manea itself had 2,088 residents according to the 2011 census meaning this car park has cost £479 per resident – with one councillor stating it hadn’t cost Manea a penny.

The car park finally opened last week after a lengthy delay and one resident told The Mirror: “Manea is a small village in the middle of nowhere and the car park has been built on the outskirts, so it really only serves the station. There is no evening train service in or out of Manea so the station is never that busy and I just can't see the need for such a big car park. It's a complete waste of money.”

The station itself provides a cycle shelter, CCTV, low-energy lighting, and improved drainage infrastructure with plans for bird and bat nest boxes to be installed.

Aerial photos showed just one vehicle parked in the massive car park at Manea station, three days after it opened.

Councillor Charlie Marks said the car park was 20 years in the making, before adding: “Finally, Manea will have a free, well lit, CCTV monitored off street park for rail users using our station. Many people have been involved in this project which will continue to help Manea prosper but has not cost Manea any money. Approximately four years ago the previous combined authority Mayor Palmer at a meeting I attended at FDC banged the table and told officers it needed sorting asap.

“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.”

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