Lowestoft Third Crossing plans delayed by general election
- Credit: Archant
The long-awaited decision on Lowestoft's Third Crossing is to be delayed due to the forthcoming general election.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps was due to make a decision on the project by December 5, but with the country going to the polls one week later, and the government dissolved from Wednesday November 6, the final say will now be delayed.
A spokesperson for the Department for Transport (DfT) confirmed a decision would be made "as soon as possible" after the general election, once ministers were able to review the proposals presented, although a deadline had not yet been set.
They said: "In light of the forthcoming general election, the decision will now be postponed until a new government is appointed. A statement to Parliament setting a new deadline for a decision will be made once Parliament is in session."
Recommendations on the project were submitted to the DfT by the Planning Inspectorate on September 5, with the transport secretary given three months to make a decision. A Planning Inspectorate spokesperson confirmed it had presented its final report, with any possible change in government or transport secretary not impacting on their recommendations.
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A Suffolk County Council spokesperson said: "We look forward to receiving a decision on the Lake Lothing application once the new Parliament is in session, and anticipate just a short interruption to the process.
"To date, the application process has been keeping to schedule.
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"The general election will not affect our timetable for tendering the construction contract, which we announced on October 14."
Since the report was made, Mr Shapps has requested additional comments on the project from Suffolk County Council as the applicant and Associated British Ports (ABP), which cited its opposition to the proposal at the time amid fears it would cause "serious detriment" to the Port of Lowestoft.
If plans for the crossing were given the green light by Mr Shapps, construction was expected to begin almost immediately with the aim of opening the bridge in 2022.
The proposal would also mean the bridge is higher than the nearby bascule bridge, allowing more boats to pass underneath without needing the bridge to be lifted.