The Autumn Budget contained some great news for Norfolk as Chancellor Philip Hammond announced approval of the Outline Business Case for the £120m third river crossing in Great Yarmouth.
The much-anticipated announcement means the project has been awarded ‘programme entry status’ by the Department for Transport and Norfolk County Council has the government’s financial backing to develop the project further, including developing the details ahead of progressing through the statutory processes to enable construction to start. It also keeps the County Council’s ambition of starting construction on the new bridge in 2020 a possibility.
Cliff Jordan, Leader of Norfolk County Council, said: “This is a fantastic day for Great Yarmouth and for the whole of Norfolk. The government doesn’t dish out money lightly so this is a real show of ministers’ commitment and faith in the third river crossing and the benefits it will bring. It’s a huge step forward for the project and we’ll keep cracking on to get the bridge built as soon as possible.”
Martin Wilby, Chairman of Norfolk County Council’s Environment, Development and Transport Committee, said: “It’s brilliant news. I’m really pleased for the people and businesses of Yarmouth who need and deserve a third river crossing. A new bridge will help tackle the town’s traffic congestion and make it easier and more attractive to visit and do business there, which is good for Yarmouth’s future and its economy and therefore good for Norfolk.
“It’s taken a lot of dedication and determination by the council and its partners to get us here, and I’m grateful to each and every person who’s been involved and backed our efforts to win this funding. I believe having such strong and widespread support for the project really helped us bring this investment into Norfolk.”
Norfolk County Council’s plan for a third river crossing would see a lifting bridge constructed linking the A47 (formerly A12) at the Harfreys roundabout in the Southtown area of Yarmouth to the port and the enterprise zone on the other side of the river. The new bridge would help to reduce traffic build-up on the town’s roads, particularly on its existing Haven and Breydon bridges over the River Yare which often become congested during ‘rush hour’ times and peak tourist seasons.
The County Council made the third river crossing one of its infrastructure priorities last year in recognition of its potential to attract future investment and development to the area, creating skilled jobs, business opportunities and giving local people a better quality of life.
Cllr Graham Plant, the leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: “This fantastic news from the Government reflects huge confidence in the local and regional economies, the strength of the business case for the crossing, and the sterling lobbying work of many partners.
“As England’s energy sector capital and a top UK coastal resort, Great Yarmouth has huge opportunities on the horizon. The benefits of the crossing for our residents, businesses and visitors are significant, improving traffic connections, creating thousands of jobs and unlocking further business, regeneration and economic growth opportunities.
“This announcement is a vital step forward, and the borough council is absolutely committed to continuing to work with the county council and other partners to ensure this important piece of infrastructure does become a reality.”
Commenting on the announcement, Nova Fairbank, Public Affairs Manager for Norfolk Chamber of Commerce said: “Norfolk Chamber is delighted with the awarding of this much needed funding to Great Yarmouth. This shows the strength of the joint partnership working in our region, which has been able to effectively communicate the benefits that the third river crossing will help deliver. The funding shows the Government’s commitment to supporting greater economic growth and jobs in Great Yarmouth”
Doug Field, chairman of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “This is a huge step forward in bringing this vital project closer to delivery. The case we made to Government was a compelling one. The third river crossing is key to increasing our productivity, attracting inward investment and retaining local talent. It will help to create thousands of new jobs and reduce congestion which costs our local business time, money and customers.”
The third river crossing is part of a wider plan to transform the Great Yarmouth area over the coming years to make it easier for people to get to and around and make it a more attractive place to live, work and visit. This will help attract future investment and development to the area, creating skilled jobs, business opportunities and giving local people a better quality of life.
For more information on the third river crossing, visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/3RC.