Councillors approve Manea rail station car park - once confusion over conflicts was resolved
PUBLISHED: 16:38 16 September 2020 | UPDATED: 18:02 16 September 2020
Planning committee councillors approved a car park for Manea rail station today - after their meeting was suspended to resolve confusion that emerged over declarations of interest.
Shortly after the application was granted permission, train operator CrossCountry announced it is reinstating the stop at Manea after it was axed last week.
Proposals for the 112-space parking facility on land north of the station with access from Fodder Road went before Fenland District Council’s planning committee.
As Cllr Charlie Marks is a member of the Manea rail board and Cllr Kay Mayor had been involved in previous decisions surrounding the proposals both councillors stepped away from the agenda item.
But as Fenland District Council were said to be the applicant, it was suggested cabinet members should also consider not taking part in the decision.
David Rowen, the council’s development manager, understood the matter had been discussed by the cabinet but it later emerged that was not actually the case.
Cllr Jan French said: “No, I can correct you in all this.
She added: “This is not a cabinet decision, this is a rail project which has been set up through the combined authority.
“And this is the combined authority’s money so I’m not sure why you would think cabinet members step back?”
Before the meeting was suspended for 15 minutes while a solicitor analysed the situation, Cllr Ian Benny decided to step back from the agenda item and Cllr Peter Murphy considered joining him.
When the meeting resumed, Cllr Murphy said: “I don’t recall any [cabinet] meeting about this.
“You know how cynical I can be so I am going to leave. This has already been going on so long that I bet someone causing trouble is already delving into the archives...”
During the application’s discussions, Cllr Mike Cornwell, said: “I understand there has been a recent decision in the number of trains stopping in Manea and I just want to make sure 112 spaces is enough for the station’s future.”
To that, Cllr French explained James Palmer, Mayor of the Cambridge and Peterborough Combined Authority, was working to resolve issues with the line.
“This car park will certainly help the people of Manea use public transport rather than drive,” she added.
All eight councillors that remained unanimously approved the application.
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