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Would a bridge be better?

Letters from the Fenland Citizen, fenlandcitizen.co.uk, @FenlandCit on Twitter
Letters from the Fenland Citizen, fenlandcitizen.co.uk, @FenlandCit on Twitter

I see the cost of raising the Welney Wash Road from flooding has risen from £1 million to £5 million.

In any case, as with all government infrastructure projects – like the St Ives guided bus way – the Welney Wash Road will find unforeseen subsidence and unstable soil issues and incur an over-spend – a total cost of £10-£12 million?

So forgive my pessimism but instead of building an expensive “FOLLY”, why not do a proper job and build a bridge like at Mepal on a lower level? I’m sure £10 million would be adequate, and all you would need to do is pile drive and build the bridge piers.

The cost for this would be saved by not raising the whole length of the road (BERM) by banking it up and waiting for subsidence, which in five years’ time will mean £2 million in repair work and resurfacing the road. So let’s get away from the free fly-tipping and bulldoze it level idea – it’s all an issue of long-term economics. How much in repairs has the Mepal bridge cost in 20 years?

Mark Burton,


In a muddle

Mr Doubleday seems to be in a muddle regarding the outflow of flood water on the Ouse Washes (Letters, January 27). The water comes onto the washes at Earith – it is run off from many miles upstream.

The water flows along the 22 miles or so of the washes, and if there is sufficient quantity, covers the road at Sutton Gault and at Welney.

At the end of its journey it reaches Welmore sluice at the northern end of the washes. Here it goes back into the tidal New Bedford river and progresses to Denver, transferring into the River Great Ouse and thence to sea.

At no point does it come under the juristiction of the Lynn IDB, it is in an Environment Agency water course.

Some IDB’s, including the Manea & Welney District Dainage Commissioners, for whom I am the District Superintendent, discharge directly into the river and therefore don’t even trouble the Middle Level system. As for the politics of Lynn IDB, I cannot and would not wish to comment.

Andy Maddams,


garden town

So important

Thank you for the info regarding “Garden town bid, etc.” I am surprised that such an important piece of news regarding Wisbech was relegated to page 5 of today’s edition (January 27) – adorned by a map so small and out of focus as to be practically useless, supported by the scantiest possible informative detail.

This is what we like to read and be informed about: what are the possible developments for the future of Wisbech. Such a nice small town and so maltreated by the people elected to take care of it.

E. Buffa,

via email.

river nenes poser

Why two?

I was recently asked “Why are there two River Nenes?”

The Wisbech Nene received numerous cuts, removing bends to facilitate commercial business with Peterborough. It was known as Smith’s Leam after an engineer. The place name Wisbech derives from Wysbec, meaning Ouse (Wys) stream (bec), the river breaking away at Littleport towards Wisbech.

The Bishop of Ely caused a channel to be cut from Littleport to King’s Lynn; this channel is called the Ouse.

Wisbech almost lost its river and ships were in danger of running aground. Hence over the years the river had to be straightened and deepened.

Guyhirn (corner of the salt water ditch) had an infamous reputation. Gallows were erected near the river and criminals hanged. An old saying existed long ago: ‘Go to Guyhirn and hang around!’

The River Nene (old course) at March probably dates from pre-Roman times. Some Fen rivers in marsh areas could change course overnight; this frequently happened to the river from the Wash to Wisbech.

I’ve a feeling March Nene once coursed between the town and Ring’s End and proved a nuisance to travellers using the Roman Causeway from Denver to Flag Fen, Peterborough. The bed of a primeval river was discovered near Ring’s End.

The river through March may have been cut to divert water from the causeway.

March Nene was linked to a branch of the Old West River near Earith which coursed east near the island on which march developed. The Nene and the West River were commercial highways for March and its several fisheries.

A 16th century map shows dozens of rivers in the vicinity, pre-drainage.

Trevor Bevis,


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