Council leader says “bridge will be built” after Labour group raises concerns over third crossing funding

Preparation works starting at the Lowestoft Third Crossing site earlier this year. PHOTO: Nick Butch

Preparation works starting at the Lowestoft Third Crossing site earlier this year. PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Suffolk County Council's Labour councillors have raised concerns over funding for the third crossing in Lowestoft.

The council has been awarded £73.4m by the Department for Transport to construct the bridge, which is due to open in 2022.

The estimated total cost for the crossing comes to around £90m, which excludes a contingency fund of an additional £10m.

The council has pledged a further £10m for the scheme, however Labour councillors say no approaches have been made to the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), or any other body in order to bridge the budget shortfall.

Following Wednesday's county council scrutiny committee - where the third crossing was discussed - Len Jacklin said: 'This is the second time that Labour councillors have raised concerns over funding with the Conservative administration and the second time that they have failed to provide any assurances to councillors or the public. There is no explanation about where this final £10m is coming from and nothing is confirmed.

'This is a vitally important project for Lowestoft that needs to be completed on time and to budget. Waveney Labour councillors will continue to pursue the Conservative-led county council for the reassurance that Lowestoft residents deserve, that they will get the bridge they have long campaigned for.'

However Colin Noble, leader of Suffolk County Council, said the funds for the Lake Lothing crossing have been allocated and demonstrated.

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He said: 'The chief finance officer has written to government confirming his commitment to ensuring the funding, all £18.3million of it, is available.

'He also took a report to cabinet in May 2016 that agreed the county council had accepted the conditions of the funding. As that paper reports, the money could come from retained business rates, the Community Infrastructure Levy and New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership funding.

'Either way, it has been underwritten by the county council so that if these funding streams are not realised, it will be paid for.

'The funding required to complete the Lake Lothing Third Crossing is there and we are committed to ensuring the project is completed.

'The bridge will be built.'

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