Third crossing in Lowestoft is a “strong candidate” for new funding
- Credit: Nick Butcher
A third crossing for Lowestoft has been given a boost with assurances from the Government that the Local Majors Fund will be available to bid into next year.
With confirmation of the availability of funding to bid for, the much-vaunted Lowestoft scheme received the 'welcome news' last week.
Prime minister David Cameron pledged during this year's general election campaign that Lowestoft would get a crossing by 2020 – a promise that was subsequently repeated by chancellor George Osborne and the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin.
And last week, Waveney MP Peter Aldous was given assurances by the government that the fund will be available to bid into in 2016, which follows the announcement of the fund in the autumn statement.
'It is welcome news that the Local Majors Fund is there to be bid into,' Mr Aldous said.
'The government provided £2 million for us to work up the plans for the crossing and the business case is coming together well.
'The initial case will be handed to the government shortly, so it is important that the fund be there from the start.'
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During questions to Mr McLoughlin, in the House of Commons last Thursday, Mr Aldous asked: 'The creation of the Local Majors Fund in the Autumn Statement is very much to be welcomed. The much needed third crossing in Lowestoft will look to bid into that fund early in the New Year.
'Can my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State confirm that the fund will be up and running as quickly as possible after Christmas?'
In response to Mr Aldous' question, Mr McLoughlin said: 'I most certainly can confirm that the fund will be up and running after Christmas. I remember visiting the site with my hon. Friend on a couple of occasions earlier this year. I think the scheme he mentions is a very strong candidate.'
The Local Majors Fund was announced in the autumn statement, providing a fund of £475 million for infrastructure projects to bid into.
Among the four projects given as examples of those that could bid into this was the third crossing.
In recent months consultancy firm Mouchel have been tasked with providing a business case to submit to the Department for Transport (DfT) by the end of this year, to prove that whatever scheme chosen is financially viable and would be beneficial to traffic in the area.
The New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and Suffolk County Council have commissioned a study in partnership with Waveney District Council and other agencies to provide the 'robust evidence' that the project is deliverable and offers good value for money.
The team working on the project have recently launched a new website for residents to keep up-to-date on progress.
It details the scheme's objectives, key dates, an explanation of the DfT assessment process and various downloadable documents.
• Visit www.lowestoftcrossing.co.uk for more details.