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Blighted homes deals under way

PUBLISHED: 11:48 28 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:53 30 June 2010

JUST over 30pc of the homes set to be directly affected by Great Yarmouth's third river crossing project are under negotiation to be sold to the county council.

JUST over 30pc of the homes set to be directly affected by Great Yarmouth's third river crossing project are under negotiation to be sold to the county council.

The news comes amid fears the scheme may be delayed even further, after it was previously announced funding of up to £122m might not be secured until after 2016.

When plans were revealed by Norfolk County Council last June showing where the currently unfunded bridge would be located, owners in a number of the 35 homes affected saw the market value of their properties slump.

The homes, which could be demolished or live in the shadow of the bridge if plans went ahead, are on Southtown Road and Queen Anne's Road, from where the 50m span bascule bridge would stretch across to the South Denes peninsula.

However, under the proposals, homeowners whose properties' value had been affected by the news were given the right to seek compensation or have their homes purchased by the council.

So far one property has been bought by the council under the Blight Notice Act, which legally requires the council to recompense homeowners affected by their work, with five more in the process of being bought.

There are also negotiations ongoing for four more homes under the blight notices, and it is anticipated that three more homes will be bought, though talks are in early stages.

A spokesman for Norfolk County Council said: “One of the reasons why the preferred route was chosen is we don't want people affected unfairly left in limbo.”

He said that the early decision with regards the project stopped more widespread dropping in house prices caused by uncertainty around the area about which properties might be affected.

However, he added that in the current financial climate funding for the bridge may be even harder to find than was previously thought.

The spokesman said: “When local authorities own those it will usually come to an arrangement with a housing association and if a decision is made down the line that the river crossing isn't going to be built or be different it can sell them on.”

Under the blight notice scheme, the homeowner is paid the value of their property as if it is being sold on the open market and ignoring impact of the scheme.

Additionally they also receive an extra 10pc of the homes' value, as well as a disturbance cost for moving and fees for a surveyor and legal cost incurred in negotiations.

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