A MULTI-MILLION pound expansion of a rail station’s car park has officially been completed, despite the structure being compared to the Berlin Wall.

An additional 220 spaces at Manningtree Station’s car park opened on Monday following a £3.1 million expansion by Greater Anglia.

The work included expanding the existing one-storey decked car park and developing wasteland, bringing the total number of spaces to more than 800.

An extra 20 Blue Badge spaces have also been created and LED lighting has been installed.

But the expansion came under fire after Charles Clover, chairman of the Dedham Vale Society, said the structure was an eyesore akin to the Berlin Wall.

The environmentalist also told the Standard the hulking metal barrier has no place in an area of outstanding natural beauty and criticised rail firm bosses for steaming ahead with the expansion.

But on completion of the project Simone Bailey, Greater Anglia’s asset management director, said: “I’m delighted that the work is now complete, creating so much more space at this busy station.

“As more people make the switch from car to rail, attracted by its sustainability in terms of being a better choice environmentally, but also thanks to the introduction of our longer, more comfortable fleet of brand new trains, it’s important that we can meet this growing demand.”

“I’d like to thank our customers and the community for their patience while this work was carried out.”

Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) has recently been installed at the car park.

The ticketless ANPR technology makes is believed to make it easier for customers to pay for parking, as it increases the variety of payment options available, and helps to improve security.

Residents and visitors who park at the car park can pay for their parking online anytime up until midnight the day after their visit on the Great Anglia Parking Portal.

They can also pre-register their car and payment details online.

Blue Badge holders will be able to continue parking for free, provided they register with NCP either online or by phone up within 24 hours of leaving the car park.

The expansion of the station’s car park is part of a £25 million investment in improving car parks.