Cambs Times steps in to keep market place open as councillor sees red over white lines

CONTRACTORS painting white lines on March Market Place today were ordered to stop work by an angry councillor who saw red over the timing of the work.

Town and district councillor Jan French was stunned to be told by this newspaper that the lining gang was carrying out the work this morning when there was already parking chaos because of the arrival of the fair on City Road car park and road works in High Street.

Without any warning notices cars had already parked on the market place and the lines were being painted around them.

She went straight to the market place and told the gang to stop work immediately while she consulted

Trevor Watson, engineering services manager for Fenland District Council.

Councillor French said: “Work stopped as of 9.30am and I have agreed that they will come back at midnight. They should be finished by 2am and if it is raining the work will go ahead next week as originally planned.

“I have also told them to put up the proper signs from late afternoon warning people who park overnight that this work will take place. I also told them to tell the Griffin Hotel what is going on. These things must be done properly especially when we already have parking problems.”

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Yesterday town clerk Clive Lemmon advised that the work was going to be carried out at the worst possible time. Mr Watson told Cllr French he had not realised the fair had arrived and would re-schedule the work for the following week.

This was confirmed in a statement issued to the Cambs Times by Fenland District Council but Editor John Elworthy said he was “surprised to say the least” that work had begun this morning.

Mr Elworthy said: “I was categorically told yesterday that work had been postponed and so was amazed to get a call at 8.30am to tell me work had started. I quickly phoned the town clerk and began asking questions as to why work was taking place in the midst of what seemed to me to a chaotic time for parking in the town anyway.”

Cllr French said: “Apparently the contractor had finished work early in the high street and they were using their own initiative by going to the market place. They thought the work would take a couple of hours but it couldn’t dry in time because of the rain.

“They started early in the morning and expected to be finished by 8am. They thought by doing it that way they were doing a good service for the council and saving money.”

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