Yarmouth council's next step in £20m bid to regenerate North Quay

North Quay from the air

Great Yarmouth's train station and North Quay area will be improved if the government agrees to award £20m from its Levelling Up Fund. - Credit: GYBC

Crucial steps in a £22.2m plan to regenerate Yarmouth’s North Quay area have been taken by councillors.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council (GYBC) hopes it will be able to redevelop the area using £20m from the government’s Levelling Up Fund, which will also be used to pay for improvements to the town’s railway station.

If the government awards the money, the council intends to add £2.2m of its own funding - and the plan has been backed by local Conservative MP Brandon Lewis. 

A GYBC report notes that the North Quay “is traffic dominated, turns its back on the rivers Bure and Yare (with attractive longer views towards Breydon Water and the Broads), does not make the most of its proximity to the railway station, or indeed connect particularly well to the town centre”.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council leader, Carl Smith, by the Winter Gardens which has been awarded £10

GYBC's Conservative leader Carl Smith - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Conservative council leader Carl Smith said last week that the “area has blighted the entrance to the town from the A47 and the train station for too long”. 

The project was discussed at a Tuesday meeting of the council’s policy and resources committee, at which councillors agreed to use compulsory purchase powers to acquire the required land if necessary.

GYBC chief executive Sheila Oxtoby reminded members that redeveloping the North Quay had been “a longstanding ambition” of the authority.

Sheila Oxtoby

GYBC chief executive Sheila Oxtoby - Credit: Archant

“I think it’s fair to say it’s been a somewhat slow process, in terms of acquiring the sites,” she said, adding that the council had now lodged its best and final offers to each of the landowners. 

“It’s unfortunate because compulsory purchase is the process of last resort.”

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She warned that if the ‘levelling up’ grant was not awarded, the council would be forced to take “a more piecemeal approach” to the area’s re-development. 

Labour opposition leader Trevor Wainwright said that while government money for Yarmouth was to be welcomed, he said it paled in comparison to overall cuts in funding councils receive from the government. 

Councillor Trevor Wainwright, leader of the Labour group in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

GYBC Labour opposition leader Trevor Wainwright - Credit: Archant

“[It] will be good if it’s successful, but we’ve got no idea who the new prime minister’s going to be and will they take this ‘levelling up’ agenda forward…” 

He said the spending power of councils had been slashed “50pc over the last ten years, significantly more than rising council tax”.

He added: “GYBC has lost out by approximately £70m, far more than the Town Deal, the Future High Street Fund, and Levelling Up [Fund] put together.”