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Search for child on Breydon Bridge is criticised by councillor

PUBLISHED: 11:11 15 January 2018 | UPDATED: 17:59 15 January 2018

The Breydon Bridge crossing in Great Yarmouth.

Picture: James Bass

The Breydon Bridge crossing in Great Yarmouth. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2012

A decision to close a Great Yarmouth bridge due to reports that a child may have gone into a river has been criticized by a councillor.

On Saturday at about 11am police closed off the bridge as officers thought the child was on the wrong side of barriers and may have gone into Breydon Water.

The report resulted in a coastguard team and a crew from Gorleston Lifeboat being called out.

However the incident turned out to be a false alarm.

But Mick Castle, county councillor for Yarmouth North & Central Division, has criticized the road closure saying it led to traffic chaos in the town.

He has asked Norfolk County Council whether emergency services should draw up new measures to make sure traffic is kept moving in future incidents.

In question to be discussed by the council’s environment development and transport committee on January 19, Mr Castle said: “Following a false alarm of a child in the water last Saturday Yarmouth’s Breydon Bridge was unnecessarily closed causing traffic chaos in the town at a time when there are major road works in train.

“Please can Norfolk County Council renew pressure on the uniformed services to adopt a protocol to keep traffic moving whenever possible given the adverse effect such unnecessary closures have on the local economy and the public.

“A search of the water was possible in this case without a bridge closure.”

In response to Mr Castle’s letter to the committee, a police spokeswoman said: “Police were called just after 11am by a member of the public reporting they had seen a child on the wrong side of the barriers on Breydon Bridge.

“Officers attended and the road was closed to allow searches to be carried out safely as it was not clear whether the child had gone into the water.

“It was established the caller had been mistaken and closures were lifted at about midday.”

Paddy Lee, coxswain of Gorleston Lifeboat, said: “We were told of reports of a child on the wrong side of the railings so assisted in the search, but were stood down.

“With these types of calls though, it is always much better to make the calls and turn out to be mistaken, than not make the call and it turn out to be too late.”

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