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Vital funding bid for Yarmouth’s third river crossing to be submitted to Secretary of State
The funding bid that is to be submitted to central government by Norfolk County Council is greatly welcomed by Norfolk Chamber members. The document could pave the way for construction of a long-awaited third river crossing for Great Yarmouth starting in 2020. For many years, the Great Yarmouth Chamber Council has campaigned for a third river crossing, with successive Great Yarmouth Chamber Council presidents calling for investment to support greater economic growth in the town.
The Great Yarmouth Chamber Council has worked in partnership with local businesses, the Borough Council of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk County Council and the New Anglia LEP to pull together support for the business case which is now being finalised and is expected to be submitted later this month. The Department for Transport is expected to make a decision during the summer on whether to grant the project ‘programme entry’ status and award the County Council further funding to develop the planning application and detailed surveys and design work for the third river crossing.
Norfolk County was awarded more than £1 million last August by the Department for Transport to develop an outline business case for a new road bridge across the River Yare. Since then, the County Council in conjunction with its partners, including Norfolk Chamber, have been gathering evidence and galvanising support for the project, using traffic surveys, a public consultation and gaining the backing of local business and community leaders.
Nova Fairbank, Public Affairs Manager at Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, said: “A third river crossing in Great Yarmouth will help to improve that connectivity and create thousands of new jobs. It will improve links across the town and to the rest of the region and reduce congestion. All of which will save businesses time and money, whilst allowing them to increase economic growth.”
Mark Goodall, New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership Board member, said: “The case we are making is a compelling one. Improving connectivity is key to increasing our productivity, attracting inward investment and retaining local talent. A third river crossing in Great Yarmouth would support all three; helping to create thousands of new jobs, opening up our all-energy coastline and reducing congestion which costs our local business time, money and customers.”
Cllr Graham Plant, the leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: “The benefits of the Third River Crossing for the borough and region are huge, and the borough council is absolutely committed to working with partners across the public and private sectors to make a compelling case to Government for the funding required to make this important piece of infrastructure a reality.”
Martin Wilby, Chairman of Norfolk County Council’s Environment, Development and Transport Committee, said: “The third river crossing is vital to Great Yarmouth’s future prosperity. The town has enormous potential for economic growth, with its burgeoning status as a hub for the offshore renewable energy industry as well as hosting two government-designated Enterprise Zone areas.”
Norfolk County Council’s proposal for a third river crossing would see a lifting bridge constructed linking the newly-renumbered A47 (formerly A12) at the Harfreys roundabout in the Southtown area of Yarmouth to the port and the Enterprise Zones on the other side of the river. The new bridge would help to reduce traffic build-up on the town’s roads, particularly on its existing Haven and Breydon bridges over the River Yare which often become congested during ‘rush hour’ times and peak tourist seasons.
It is estimated that £120 million would need to be spent between now and the project’s completion to design and construct the bridge, with Norfolk County Council seeking 80% of these costs from the Department for Transport and 20% to come from a local contribution. This could come from a variety of sources, possibly including, but not limited to, the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, local authorities and the private sector.
The third river crossing is part of a wider plan to transform the Great Yarmouth area over the coming years to make it easier for people to get to and around and make it a more attractive place to live, work and visit. This will help attract future investment and development to the area, creating skilled jobs, business opportunities and giving local people a better quality of life.