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Lawyers set for pay day thanks to Great Yarmouth’s £121m Third River Crossing

PUBLISHED: 12:23 13 October 2018 | UPDATED: 13:39 13 October 2018

Illustrative design to show one of the opening mechanisms being considered for the third river crossing in Great Yarmouth. Photo: Norfolk County Council

Illustrative design to show one of the opening mechanisms being considered for the third river crossing in Great Yarmouth. Photo: Norfolk County Council

Norfolk County Council

Millions of pounds of the £121m budget for the Great Yarmouth Third River Crossing has been set aside to pay fees, such as for specialist solicitors and cost consultants brought in to help manage the process.

Third river crossing in Great Yarmouth plan, August 2018. Photo: Norfolk County CouncilThird river crossing in Great Yarmouth plan, August 2018. Photo: Norfolk County Council

Norfolk County Council is to bring in the expert help, in addition to in-house lawyers nplaw, to help manage the scheme - with their payment coming from a £12.8m pot earmarked for fees.

Construction of the new lifting bridge over the River Yare is due to begin in late 2020.

It would see a crossing linking the A47 at Harfreys Roundabout on the western side of the river to South Denes Road on the eastern side of the river.

A dual carriageway would link Harfreys roundabout to the new roundabout and continue on to the bridge to meet South Denes Road.

Consultation over the crossing recently closed and on Monday, the council is set to confirm commitment to the scheme, ahead of a decision over the contractor.

But, if the project ends up costing more than £121m, the council will have to cover the difference.

With uncertainties, including around the £12.6m budget for land compensation, £28m of the £121m cost is to be set aside as a risk allowance.

Unlike the NDR, now known as the Broadland Northway, where the cost went over budget and is now estimated to have a bill of about £205m, the contractor will be responsible for designing and building the project.

A council spokesman said: “Because of the complexity of the lifting bridge structure, it makes sense for the contractor to be responsible for detailed design. The two-stage design-and-build approach achieves this.”

But the project also includes the estimated £12.8m for fees, which includes for specialist lawyers and cost consultants - a figure the council has defended.

A spokesman said: “It is a technically and legally complex project involving an opening bridge in a busy port.

“The project is also going through a development consent order process and therefore requires the skills and experience of a range of experts – including legal advice.

“Nplaw is providing much of the advice, but we will need a leading planning barrister to represent us at the DCO hearings and some support from solicitors who specialise in this type of planning process.”

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