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Public have their say on plans to boost area near Great Yarmouth railway station

PUBLISHED: 14:48 17 February 2017 | UPDATED: 14:48 17 February 2017

North Quay view towards bridge. Picture: courtesy of Norfolk County Council

North Quay view towards bridge. Picture: courtesy of Norfolk County Council

courtesy of Norfolk County Council

Members of the public have been having their say on plans to give the area around Great Yarmouth station a £2m makeover.

A public consultation event was held at the station by Norfolk County Council on Friday where the plans went on show for the first time.

The scheme includes the station forecourt and the route to the Market Place via The Conge, but not the station building itself.

Project engineer at the county council David Wardall said he hoped the investment outside the station would encourage subsequent development.

Current proposals include a landscaped ‘garden walk’ between the bridge and North Quay and creating a wide, continuous cycle and pedestrian path from the station to the Market Place via The Conge.

Miriam Kikis officially opening the new refurbished Vauxhall Bridge in Great Yarmouth.

Picture: James Bass Miriam Kikis officially opening the new refurbished Vauxhall Bridge in Great Yarmouth. Picture: James Bass

Other elements being proposed include a new cycle and footpath linking Acle New Road with Vauxhall Bridge, changes to crossing points and junctions to make them safer for cyclists and pedestrians, and better lighting and signage.

Norfolk County Council has been awarded the £2m by the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership to design and carry out the proposed improvement works, which are being considered as part of Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s draft Masterplan to strengthen the town centre.

In addition, the County Council intends to bid for government funding to design and build a new road bridge over the River Yare in the town, which would be Great Yarmouth’s third river crossing.

Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis said: “I welcome this consultation on developments to the station entrance to the town, and I hope everyone takes the opportunity to have their say on what is an exciting project for Great Yarmouth.

“The station is the first thing that many visitors to our town see, and it is fantastic that funding has been granted to improve the link between the station and the town.”

Managing director of New Anglia LEP Chris Starkie said improving transport in Great Yarmouth will benefit those who live in, work in and visit the town.

“Great Yarmouth, with its offshore heritage and growing energy sector, is at the centre of our all-energy coastline and it is crucial that the town’s transport system can support economic growth.”

Public views

Shaun McGarry, 54 from Bradwell and David Wilkinson, 61, from Great Yarmouth gave their views on the planned improvements to the Great Yarmouth railway station area as part of a public consultation.

Both men are registered blind so wanted to give their ideas to make the scheme as accessible as possible.

Mr McGarry said: “I think it is a very good idea. We have been talking and they have been listening.”

He said as a blind person who uses a cane it is important to feel safe and confident along the route and hopes the plans will achieve that.”

“It shows we are serious about getting businesses to invest in the town,” he added.

Mr Wilkinson said: “The plans show a big line for a cycle lane. We would like that to be as segregated as possible.”

There are also recommendations being put forward by a local dementia group to make sure the trip between the station and the Market Place is as easy as possible.

Roger Farrow, 62, a keen cyclist from Bradwell said he welcomed the plans but would like to see the Vauxhall bridge enhanced.

“I used to walk over the bridge when I was a lad. Now you have two sides painted but one not. It is a bit of an eyesore at the moment.”

Vauxhall Bridge

MORE: Railway bridge footpath reopens as £630,000 refurbishment of Vauxhall Bridge in Great Yarmouth is completed

Campaigner and restauranteur Miriam Kikis praised the plans but would like to see something done about the inside of the station.

As chairman of the Vauxhall Links group and owner of the nearby Seafood Restaurant, she has been advocating for improvements to the area for a number of years.

“I think the plans looks lovely. I had some business customers and they said when they arrived at the station they thought they had come to a third world country.

“We need a welcoming train station. I’m forever picking up rubbish, the walkway is so embarrassing.”

The bridge reopened in 2013 after a nearly a decade of campaigning. It was left to decay in recent years and a shadow hung over its future until Mrs Kikis launched her determined efforts to save it.

The wrought iron bridge, opened in 1852 as a gateway to the seaside town. It connects the station and Asda to North Quay for pedestrians and cyclists.

Consultation

People are being encouraged to view the detailed proposals and respond to the consultation online via www.norfolk.citizenspace.com before the consultation closes at midnight on Monday, March 13. In addition, the County Council is holding four drop-in sessions in the town over the next fortnight to give people the opportunity to examine the plans in person and speak to members of the project team. These will be held at:

• The train station on Friday, February 17 from 8am to 6pm.

• Market Gates shopping centre on Wednesday, 22 February and Friday, 3 March from 10am to 3pm.

• Asda on Acle New Road on Wednesday, March 1 from 10am to 4pm.

• Market Gates shopping centre on Friday, March 3 from 10am to 3pm.

Once the public consultation has closed at midnight on Monday, 13 March, the responses will be considered and more detailed planning work will be done, with construction work due to get underway in late autumn this year.

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