Third Yarmouth River Crossing must not repeat mistakes of the NDR, councillors urge as they approve first funding bid

Aerial photos of Norfolk. Great Yarmouth River Yare and QuayPhoto:Antony KellyCopy:For: EDP NEWSEDP

Aerial photos of Norfolk. Great Yarmouth River Yare and QuayPhoto:Antony KellyCopy:For: EDP NEWSEDP pics © 2008(01603) 772434 - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2008

Warnings have been made mistakes over the Norwich Northern Distributor Road should not be repeated with the Third Great Yarmouth River Crossing as Norfolk county councillors backed the scheme this morning.

Estimated to cost around £140m without inflation, and 10pc of the bill footed locally, the bid for an initial round of funding will now be submitted to the Department for Transport by the end of the month.

If approved, it is expected the crossing, providing a link between the trunk road network and the expanding port and South Denes Enterprise Zone sites, will be completed by 2021 or 2022.

Conservative Stuart Clancy, for Taverham, told the environment, development and transport committee this morning: 'We need to get the costing right this time. We do not want a repeat of getting to the point of having a contract signed with a shortfall of around £30m or £40m. We have seen it recently where we did not get it right, but got away with it by the skin of our teeth'

Labour's Colleen Walker, for Magdalen ward, said she 'would not be a dormouse' in keeping pressure up in support of the crossing.

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'The important thing here is about delivering the goods,' she said. 'If we do not do this for Great Yarmouth, Norfolk fails. For as long as I remember, since I was a schoolgirl, we have talked about dualling the Acle Straight, and we have had many, many years of broken promises. We are trying to keep politics out of it and do what is best for Norfolk. I do not apologise for being a Rottweiler on this issue. The future of our children depends on this.'

The single voice of dissent against the scheme was Green councillor Andrew Boswell, for Nelson ward.

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'There will be no surpises I am the lone voice in all of this,' he said. 'I am concerned about taking this step now and committing a lot of money in the future. The experience from last year tells us we cannot control what contractors will do. I can see this costing up to £200m, meaning £20m from the county council or the LEP. With other schemes like the NDR still being built, I am doubtful we have the capacity to commit the money to this downstream. 'This is also a diversion from integrated sustainable transport projects in the city. We should be seeking alternatives in Great Yarmouth like park and ride and good public transport to address some of the congestion problems in Yarmouth now.'

UKIP's Jonathon Childs, for East Flegg, challenged Mr Boswell to come test out the traffic network in Great Yarmouth for himself, while Mr Boswell cited Germany as a public transport aspiration.

'We need infrastructure,' said Mr Childs. 'Companies are pulling out of Great Yarmouth, and we have this huge port that you can't get out of. Keep all of your green infrastructure and come and live in reality.'

The initial funding bid for £965,000 for scheme development work will be submitted by May 31 after councillors voted to support the plan.

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