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Deadline looming for bridge project

PUBLISHED: 09:55 12 May 2009 | UPDATED: 13:53 03 July 2010

TIME is running out to improve Yarmouth's dilapidated Vauxhall bridge entrance to the town, councillors heard yesterday.

For years the rundown bridge has been viewed as a source of embarrassment as it is the first thing that tourists see of the resort as they get off at the nearby railway station.

TIME is running out to improve Yarmouth's dilapidated Vauxhall bridge entrance to the town, councillors heard yesterday.

For years the rundown bridge has been viewed as a source of embarrassment as it is the first thing that tourists see of the resort as they get off at the nearby railway station.

Norfolk county councillors for the town were told yesterday that there is a £300,000 pot of cash available to give the ageing structure a much-needed revamp.

However, the Yarmouth area committee was informed that the lottery money to improve the crossing needed to be used in the next seven months or it would be lost for good.

And some members of that committee went one step further and demanded that the rusted grade II listed structure should be torn down at a cost of £500,000.

The debate on the bridge's future was sparked by news that next week County Hall is to see if £40,000 funding is available for a feasibility study of the site.

Engineers estimate it will cost at least £1m to totally revamp the bridge to improve one of the town's main gateways.

Most members of the committee agreed that at the very least the bridge needed a lick of paint and improved lighting for pedestrians and asked that the £300,000 pot of cash be accessed as soon as possible.

But councillor Michael Carttiss said the eyesore, which is owned by the sustainable transport charity Sustrans, should be consigned to history.

He said: “What a horrible derelict site people have to start off their visit to Yarmouth. I have no doubt in my mind that it should be pulled down. It looks derelict and implies a derelict town.”

The area committee agreed to pass a resolution that the Vauxhall bridge feasibility study needs to be completed as soon as possible to make sure the £300,000 lottery funding is not wasted in seven months' time.

If approved next week, the money for the study will come from the county council's on-street parking budget.

In January 2008, bridge owner Sustrans received £50m of lottery funding for projects across the country but declined to spend any of the cash on its Yarmouth site as it was intended for new schemes rather than repairing existing structures.


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