Great Yarmouth's Third River Crossing can be a bridge to prosperity

Great Yarmouth

The Third River Crossing in Great Yarmouth will be the final piece in the jigsaw for the town's future prosperity, argue Guy Gowing of Arnolds Keys - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The key to unlocking the prosperity of a whole area can be a major infrastructure project, argues Guy Gowing of Arnolds Keys.

Construction work on the Third River Crossing in Great Yarmouth started earlier this year, with a projected completion date of early 2023. 

At first glance, it’s an enormous investment. The project is costing £121 million – and £98 million of this is coming direct from the Department for Transport, which has designated the Third River Crossing as a "nationally significant project".

It is also extremely significant on a local and regional basis. For years now, South Denes has been a tired industrial area, with many employers having voted with their feet and departed. In this day and age, accessing an industrial area via a town centre just doesn’t work, and it certainly doesn’t dovetail with the impressive efforts which Great Yarmouth has made to regenerate itself as a modern tourism destination, and one which is set to benefit hugely from this year’s staycation boom.

There has been much investment in the town’s port over the past decade, but it has not really been able to deliver against its potential because of the poor road communications. Until now, South Denes has increasingly felt like a cut-off peninsula.

This no longer needs to be the case though, with the advent of the Third River Crossing. Norfolk County Council is correct when it says that the new crossing has the potential to "attract investment to the area, create jobs and give local people a better quality of life".

It will also open up an important new employment area in the Great Yarmouth Energy Park, which has been launched by Great Yarmouth Borough Council and Norfolk County Council. This 50-acre site, adjacent to the Outer Harbour in South Denes – and directly accessible from the new river crossing – aims to attract businesses in the energy sector, supported by a Local Development Order giving a simplified planning process for businesses in the energy, port and logistics sectors. What's more, £3 million of funding has been allocated to the project in order to unlock sites for redevelopment.

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Great Yarmouth Energy Park is an important part of the strategy to maintain the town’s position as one of the most significant bases of the offshore industry in the UK. With the right investment, the town has the opportunity to share in major investments in energy over the coming decades, including in oil and gas exploration, gas platform decommissioning, nuclear energy and offshore windfarms.

The Energy Park will ensure that businesses related to the offshore energy sector continue to have suitable land available, close to the river port and Outer Harbour, so the area is best placed to capture the anticipated future jobs, investment, economic growth and regeneration opportunities. And with the Third River Crossing in place in a little over 18 months, the final piece of the jigsaw – access – should ensure that potential is fulfilled.

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