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Vauxhall Bridge heritage site bid

PUBLISHED: 09:51 05 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:33 30 June 2010

A HISTORIC Great Yarmouth bridge could become a hub for heritage and cultural events once restoration work has been completed by Norfolk County Council.

A HISTORIC Great Yarmouth bridge could become a hub for heritage and cultural events once restoration work has been completed by Norfolk County Council.

The council's project engineer David Wardale provided a vision of the Grade II listed Vauxhall Bridge becoming a focal point for events including a festival for Runham Vauxhall residents celebrating the area's heritage.

School and college students would also be able to learn more about the history of the structure, considered to be the main gateway for visitors to the town. The bridge would become part of heritage trails around the town and could be incorporated into walks by the River Bure.

The ambitious plans, unveiled at a meeting of the borough council's area scrutiny committee on Wednesday, have been drawn up as part of a bid for funding from the Heritage Lottery fund.

However, in order to secure a grant from the fund, the county council has to demonstrate that the bridge will be a heritage site, which could include creating a visitor centre providing information on its history.

Mr Wardale said: “We have to demonstrate a need that helps heritage learning and we are looking at active and creative ways to involve the public in heritage.

“As a result of that, we often find that heritage projects often have a museum or visitor centre attached to the outcome of the project.”

The restoration could also open the bridge to public transport and taxis and a number of councillors proposed also allowing cars travelling to and from the station.

But Mr Wardale warned: “I think as soon as you open the bridge up to cars you lose the benefits for those who are trying to use public transport.”

A feasibility study was carried out to look into options to improve the bridge, which ranged from full restoration to demolition.

However, the county council has opted to refurbish the existing bridge and is seeking funding, which could include £300,000, ring fenced until June by the local panel for the National Lottery's Fair Share Trust.

The dilapidated bridge was featured on the Grotbritain website of grot spots around the country and has been described as an “eyesore” by councillors and Yarmouth residents.

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