Council to buy car dealership - to knock it down for river crossing
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A council is to buy a used car dealership so that it can demolish it - because it stands in the way of a multi-million pound river crossing.
Norfolk County Council has agreed to buy the South Denes Car Centre dealership in Great Yarmouth - complete with its stock of cars - so it can knock it down.
That is because the buildings at the car dealership, in South Denes Road, are on the route for the town's Third River Crossing scheme.
The council will pay compensation to Cecil Spinks, who operates the business.
While the land belongs to Great Yarmouth Borough Council, Mr Spinks owns the leasehold and the stock at the South Denes Road business.
Those leases do not expire until 2064.
So, the county council has agreed to buy both the leasehold interest and the business's stock of vehicles, using compulsory purchase order powers.
While the amount the council has agreed to pay is being kept confidential, the council says some of the money will be recouped through selling some of the stock of cars.
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A budget allowance has also been provided to cover the professional fees accrued by Mr Spinks since negotiations over the site began in 2017.
The council will also pay Stamp Duty Land Tax.
Norfolk County Council's controlling Conservative cabinet approved the acquisition at a meeting on Monday, February 1.
Greg Peck, the council's cabinet member for commercial services and asset management, said the cabinet had to make the decision as there were more than 20 years left on the lease, otherwise it could have been delegated to council officers.
The county council says the land will mainly become public highway, while any areas not needed for the Third River Crossing will remain in the freehold ownership of Great Yarmouth Borough Council and be available to them once the scheme is constructed.
The Third River Crossing, with a new lifting bridge, will link the A47 at Harfrey's roundabout to the town's port and the enterprise zone on the other side of the river.
The project is expected to cost £121m, with the government having approved £98m for the scheme. It is due to be open for use in early 2023.