Crucial stage for 'grot-spot' bridge

The future of Great Yarmouth's eyesore Vauxhall Bridge reaches a crucial stage next month with the publication of a feasibility study which will say for certain what happens next.

The future of Great Yarmouth's eyesore Vauxhall Bridge reaches a crucial stage next month with the publication of a feasibility study which will say for certain what happens next.

Officials at Norfolk County Council are working out possible solutions and likely costs of upgrading or replacing the structure, often cited as one of Yarmouth's top grot-spots.

A meeting at county hall last Thursday agreed a timescale which aims to decide by the new year which course of action to take, with work starting in the first quarter.

However, any project depends on funders liking the proposal, with one key grant-giver indicating this week that a major scheme with broad backing was more likely to win approval than a cosmetic make-do-and-mend solution.


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Around �300,000 of Fairshares money aimed at regenerating the Runham Vauxhall and Bure-side areas has been ring-fenced but not committed to the bridge project.

John Drinkhill, of Community Connections and local agent for the fund, said that although the money had been set aside, the project could “live or die” by whatever the council puts forward.

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He said the feasibility study needed to come up with something “meaningful” that would attract other funders, but until then the project was “in limbo”.

David Wardale, at Norfolk County Council, said: “At the moment, we are putting together a feasibility report looking towards the end of September with a view to taking the recommendation to the Fairshares panel. Probably they will arrange a meeting in October. They would then have to go through an appraisal process. We are probably looking at early 2010 to start getting some detailed designs together.”

Fairshares - under the Big Lottery banner - is six years into a 10-year investment plan worth �800,000, awarded to the area because it was not part of the Neighbourhood Renewal initiative. The area covered was later extended to the other side of the Bure, enabling more residents to benefit from schemes including new play areas. The bridge is owned by Sustrans, the cycle-network charity.

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