Up to 20 spaces lost as Fenland Council rings in the change at town centre park

CONFUSION over signs has led to renewed parking chaos in March, after contractors arrived late to begin painting new parking spaces.

UP to 20 spaces have been lost in a March car park after Fenland District Council ordered in workmen to create a new layout.

Confused motorists arriving at the City Road Lorry and Car Park were uncertain whether they could park in the new bays created for lorries.

The work was supposed to be carried out overnight on Sunday, but contractors didn’t turn up until Monday morning. Signs to close the car park had not been put up and this meant that it was full of vehicles by the time workers arrived to begin painting new white lined spaces, leading to long delays.

The police were also present to try and locate the drivers who had unknowingly prevented the work from going ahead.

Councillor Jan French said: “I’m absolutely dismayed that we can’t get this right.

“My understanding is that this should have been done overnight and for some reason the contractors haven’t done it.

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“At the end of the day it’s Fenland Council who took these contractors on and they will have to answer for them.

“If there’s damage to the vehicles who is going to pay for it? It is totally unacceptable.

“That car park should have already been painted. Proper signs should have been up. It’s an absolute shambles.”

The mistake followed last week’s error, where angry councillors stopped contractors painting lines around cars in March Market Place.

A council spokesman said: “We had agreed with the contractors that they would either do the work on Sunday night, while the closure of the lorry park for the fair was still in place, or contact us on Monday so that we could close it again on Monday night and the work could be carried out then.

“Unfortunately, they went ahead on Monday morning without letting us know.

“We are disappointed they didn’t stick to the original agreement. However, as soon as we heard they had started work on Monday we closed the park again.

“We also instructed them not to work near any of the parked cars and did all we could to ensure that any work was carried out in an acceptable way.”

FENLAND Council said on Wednesday the City Road lorry park “is principally a lorry park and has been marked out to reflect that. “However, provision has also made to allow cars to use some of the area during the day between 8am and 4pm.

“The changes to the layout have become necessary because the lining has faded significantly and cars have been regularly parking outside the permitted times. This has resulted in access for lorries and their manoeuvring being regularly obstructed.

“The new layout provides a safe environment for both car and lorry use and meets the current standards for manoeuvring space.

“Separating the cars and lorries does mean there is some reduction in the overall number of parking spaces. However, in future it may be possible to add some extra ‘yellow’ bays for cars should this prove appropriate after a trial period. It is clearly essential that the car parking time limits are strictly observed to prevent lorry bays and manoeuvring being obstructed.

“Details of the proposed layout were provided to March Town Council in advance of the proposed works.

“Now that the new layout is in place, the signing is being reviewed and will be updated as appropriate.”

Some town councillors argued they had not been given sufficient notice to debate the revised layout- a fact confirmed in an email from Trevor Watson, head of engineering services, to the town council.

“I apologise if it appears that this notification is last minute, but a very advantageous opportunity has arisen to utilise a lining gang which is already working locally and we wish to take full advantage,” he told councillors.

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