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D-day for Yarmouth third crossing

PUBLISHED: 10:44 07 December 2009 | UPDATED: 15:52 03 July 2010

Ambitious plans to build a new bridge in Great Yarmouth costing between £112m to £122m look set to be adopted by councillors today- paving the way for affected residents to ask for blight compensation.

Ambitious plans to build a new bridge in Great Yarmouth costing between £112m to £122m look set to be adopted by councillors today- paving the way for affected residents to ask for blight compensation.

Norfolk County Council's cabinet has been told by transport planners that the bridge spanning 50m from the Southtown area to South Denes area of Yarmouth is the best option for a third river crossing.

By choosing the dual carriageway bridge instead of a more costly tunnel option the council will trigger compensation payouts to residents affected by the plans.

As well as footing the compensation bill from next year, the cabinet will also be told there may be no funding for the lifting bridge “until well after 2016”.

Owners of the 35 homes in Queen Anne's Road and Southtown Road which could be demolished to make way for the bridge can ask for compensation if they can not sell their homes once the bridge option has been adopted.

Blight notices can be issued by homeowners which require County Hall to buy properties at their unaffected market value under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

Other property owners who see a 15pc reduction in the property value or face noise pollution could have their homes brought by the council. Money from the council's 2010/11 budget would be set aside for any house purchases.

A report to be discussed on Monday says: “What can not be determined with any accuracy at this time is if and when an eligible property owner will serve a blight option as each will depend on the individual circumstances of the current owner.

“It is possible that some will be served at the earliest opportunity whilst others will wait until they wish to move or the timing of the scheme works become more certain or prominent.”

The third river crossing plan has been mooted as a way to ease congestion at Yarmouth's other two bridges main entrance routes.

It would also help to regenerate Yarmouth by coping with the 12,000 people and new businesses expected to move the area in the next 20 years.

Cabinet papers also say that funding for the scheme is “speculative at this stage and certainly some way off in the future” and may not be available until “well after 2016”.

As an extra funding option the possibility of tolls starting at 80p for cars and £1.40 for lorries has been mooted - even though the report says that up to 61pc of motorists would be put off using the new bridge because of the fees.

The alternative tunnel crossing from Ballast Quay to the Harfreys roundabout would cost an estimated £376m.

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