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Businesses sign up to £30m fund-raising drive to secure Great Yarmouth tidal defences

PUBLISHED: 12:39 04 February 2015 | UPDATED: 12:39 04 February 2015

Launch of flood partnership - local firms joining fundraising drive to match govt funding for flood defence work in Gt Yarmouth.

Launch of flood partnership - local firms joining fundraising drive to match govt funding for flood defence work in Gt Yarmouth.

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More businesses have been urged to join a £30m fund-raising drive to ensure vital tidal defence improvements in Great Yarmouth can be delivered on time.

Representatives of companies who have already signed up to the Tidal Defences Business Partnership - thought to be the first in the country - gathered by the River Yare this morning to formally launch the initiative.

The partnership is a response to government rules for flood defence infrastructure funding which mean that a greater proportion of future investment must come from partnership funds with businesses playing a major role.

The first £28m phase of Environment Agency (EA) improvements to a vulnerable section of the river wall in Southtown Road is fully-funded and well under way.

However, the next phase of work to improve a neighbouring 2.6km stretch of wall, due to run from 2016 to 2021, will require £30m of partnership funding to match £46m provided by government grants.

The idea is that businesses will work with Yarmouth Borough Council, the EA and New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership to source possible funding, for example from the EU; it is also possible businesses may be asked to contribute directly.

Businesses who have joined the partnership ahead of its formal launch cover every sector from offshore firms Gardline and Asco to port company EastPort UK and leading town centre store Palmers.

Standing next to the improved section of river wall, partnership chairman Daniel Bycroft, of Bycroft estate agents, said: “This is the official launch of a group of local businesses brought together to work in partnership with the public sector to raise awareness that extra funding is required for River Yare defences that are vital to all businesses in the town as well as the wider area.

“It is not just about property, but the protection of infrastructure, telephone exchanges, broadband hubs and other mains services.”

He said their role would be to “lobby and support to ensure this funding is secure”.

“I urge local businesses to get involved, we want as many as possible to join us,” he said.

Borough council leader Trevor Wainwright said: “With everyone working together we can ensure the further phases of work go ahead on time.”

LEP managing director Chris Starkie described the partnership as “an excellent example of the business community working hand in hand with the public sector for the greater common good”.

He said: “Our role will be to work with all those involved to identify alternative funding sources from both private and public sector as well as potential European funding.”

Businesses interested in joining the Tidal Defences Business Partnership should contact group co-ordinator Bernard Harris on 01493-846512 or email bh@great-yarmouth.gov.uk

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