Village councillors battle on in fight against road repair nightmare

Cllr Charlie Marks and Cllr Jan Coupland in Manea

Both Cllr Charlie Marks (right) and Cllr Jan Coupland (left) have called for urgent road repairs to be completed in and around Manea, including Byall Fen Drove. - Credit: Daniel Mason

Councillors say they will continue to fight for safer roads in and around a village which they feel needs urgent support. 

At least three key routes in and out of Manea have been damaged and needing repair over the last few years, including Wimblington Road, Fifty Road and Byall Fen Drove. 

Parish and Fenland district councillor Charlie Marks is one who has called for urgent repairs for the last three years. 

“We all need to work together. Motorists need to understand other people, such as tractors, are also using these roads,” he said. 

“What we need to do is look at the infrastructure and try to keep the village as it is.” 

Wimblington Road, Manea being resurfaced

Wimblington Road (pictured) between Boots Bridge and Station Road, Manea is currently closed for resurfacing work. - Credit: Daniel Mason

Resurfacing work on Wimblington Road between Boots Bridge and Station Road is due to finish later this month. 

A stretch of Fifty Road, where only two-thirds have been resurfaced due to budget constraints, is also due to be revisited by Cambridgeshire County Council.  

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Jan Coupland, vice-chairman of Manea Parish Council, has backed Cllr Marks on providing safer roads in Manea. 

“Manea is a designated growth village and needs support and infrastructure around it,” she said. 

Pothole on Byall Fen Drove near Manea

Byall Fen Drove near Manea is one of the roads that has been damaged over time. - Credit: Daniel Mason

“As a parish, we have no control over what is spent on the roads.  

“We can only highlight what the problems are, and that’s got to be better than nothing.” 

While in Manea, Cllr Marks and Cllr Coupland took me to Byall Fen Drove to show the extent of the damage caused. 

Cllr Charlie Marks and Cllr Jan Coupland in Manea

Both Cllr Charlie Marks (right) and Cllr Jan Coupland (left) have called for urgent road repairs to be completed in and around Manea, including Byall Fen Drove. - Credit: Daniel Mason

Byall Fen Drove near Manea in need of repair

Byall Fen Drove near Manea is one of the roads that has been damaged over time. - Credit: Daniel Mason

Several potholes lay on the roadside, while other areas are in need of resurfacing, which Cllr Marks said will be worked on within the next 14 days. 

“Unfortunately, it’s like a sticking plaster, but that’s all we can do,” said Cllr Marks. 

“We are a Fenland community with Fen roads; this is what happens.” 

Byall Fen Drove, Manea in need of repair

A car and a lorry pass one another on Byall Fen Drove, which is in need of repair. - Credit: Daniel Mason

All current road repairs in Manea, including Byall Fen Drove which previously received £300,000 for improvements, are thought to cost over £1 million. 

Cllr Coupland fears that with more people commuting to and from the village, partly due to more houses being built, the roads will see more traffic in the near future. 

But the pair are still determined to keep fighting the issue. 

“Every time we have spotted an issue, we have tried to resolve them,” Cllr Marks added. 

“I think we have been a very proactive parish council and we still will be.” 

Sinkhole on Railway Lane, Chatteris

Other parts of Fenland have been in need of road repair. Pictured is a sinkhole that appeared on Railway Lane, Chatteris on February 3. - Credit: Daniel Mason

Sinkhole on Railway Lane, Chatteris

Other parts of Fenland have been in need of road repair. Pictured is a sinkhole that appeared on Railway Lane, Chatteris on February 3. - Credit: Daniel Mason

A Cambridgeshire County Council spokesperson said the work on Wimblington Road and Fifty Road has cost a total of nearly £1.4 million.

They added that repairs on Fifty Road could not be fully completed due to "a limited budget", and are uncertain how much works on Byall Fen Drove will cost.