‘Compelling case’ needed to secure third river crossing at Lowestoft
- Credit: Archant
Hopes of creating a third river crossing at Lowestoft will rest on campaigners providing a “compelling business case” to secure up to £100million needed for the project.
Three options are on the table for the crossing over Lake Lothing to ease congestion in the town, but finding the funding will be almost as big a problem as deciding the route for the controversial project.
In House of Commons debate – secured by Waveney MP Peter Aldous – transport minister Robert Goodwill said the project would have to look for funding from further rounds of the local growth fund.
He said: “It is a competitive process and the process is not a bottomless pit.
“Only the projects that produce the most compelling business case will be successful in securing funding, and they will also need to be top priorities for the LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership), as it determines which schemes are needed to deliver economic growth in the LEP area.
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“The Government would look to support well-evidenced local major transport schemes that are prioritised by the local enterprise partnership, would help to deliver local growth, and offer good value for money.
“We know that local residents are frustrated by the town’s long-standing traffic problems and want a solution, which is why, in July last year, the New Anglia LEP secured £100,000 through the local growth fund towards development work to look at the options for a third river crossing in Lowestoft.
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“That funding will enable the LEP to develop a more detailed technical feasibility study for the project. It is now for the LEP and its key partners to take that work forward.”
Lowestoft currently has two crossings at the Bascule Bridge and Mutford Lock and Mr Aldous said the town had needed an extra crossing for 80 years but its pleas had fallen on deaf ears.
He said: “The two crossings are inadequate, and congestion frequently builds up, particularly when the Bascule Bridge opens to allow vessels into and out of the inner harbour.
“A poor road network has blighted the town for a long time. It is a disincentive to people to go into the town and is preventing businesses from moving there or expanding there.”