Crunch time for Great Yarmouth third crossing as Autumn Budget approaches
- Credit: Courtesy of Norfolk County Counc
Great Yarmouth will this week find out whether its long-awaited third river crossing has been deemed worthy of Westminster backing in the Autumn Budget.
Campaigners have argued for years that a third crossing point in Yarmouth is crucial if the local economy is to achieve meaningful growth. In July, the town's MP Brandon Lewis made the case for a new bridge in a letter to transport secretary, Chris Grayling.
Millions of pounds has already been spent on planning and the acquisition of property and land to safeguard the route.
The new bridge would begin at the A47 Harfreys roundabout in the Southtown area of Yarmouth, and would stretch to the port and Enterprise Zones in South Denes Road on the other side of the River Yare.
Speculation that the proposal could be in line for a £121m injection has been growing, but nothing is certain until Chancellor Philip Hammond stands in Downing Street with his red box on Wednesday and outlines the Cabinet's plans.
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Substantial support for the crossing has surrounded Yarmouth's growth as a key player in offshore energy. Simon Gray, chief executive of the East of England Energy Group, believes government-approved investment would see the town become a global force.
'Great Yarmouth can become a real powerhouse and it's simply essential that we get this third crossing funding, especially with the town's growth in the offshore wind sector,' said Mr Gray.
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'This is a potential investment where the government really would get something back. Yarmouth would get the investment in its infrastructure; the government would get a world class energy town in return.
Martin Wilby, chairman of Norfolk County Council's environment, development and transport committee, said: 'I'm very hopeful that we'll get what we're after. We've been patiently waiting for this investment for a very long time, but we've always expected things to get moving in Autumn 2017.
'The crossing would be great for tourism, great for the harbour, would ease traffic problems, and would also help future developments for the energy sector.'
Subject to receiving the required government funding, Norfolk County Council is hopeful that construction would start in either 2020 or 2021.