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Progress for Yarmouth bridge restoration

PUBLISHED: 10:44 30 October 2009 | UPDATED: 15:28 03 July 2010

HOPES have increased that Great Yarmouth's historic Vauxhall Bridge can be restored as a pedestrian gateway to the town.

Norfolk County Council engineers working on a feasibility study looking at range of options for the River Bure bridge - from full restoration to a replacement - have been given vital extra breathing status by the scheme's potential funder.

HOPES have increased that Great Yarmouth's historic Vauxhall Bridge can be restored as a pedestrian gateway to the town.

Norfolk County Council engineers working on a feasibility study looking at range of options for the River Bure bridge - from full restoration to a replacement - have been given vital extra breathing status by the scheme's potential funder.

The local panel for the National Lottery's Fair Share Trust had originally only ring-fenced £300,000 for the project until December.

However, David Wardale, the council's project engineer, said: “When we took our findings so far to a meeting of the panel on Wednesday last week, they agreed to extend the period that the money would be ring fenced until June next year.

“That is great news in that it will allow us not only to draw up a formal proposal, but also to identify other funding sources and put forward the best proposal based on a more concrete budget. There would then be another 18 months to deliver the project and spend the money.

"We are starting to consult with stakeholders including the 1st East urban regeneration company about what they want to see in any proposal for the bridge and this will continue for the next month. We are due to meet with the Fair Share panel again on Wednesday, December 2 to update them on our progress."

Philip Watkins, chief executive of 1st East, pledged his support for the restoration of the bridge, describing it as a “little gem that needs polishing”.

He said a restored bridge would form an important part of their plans to link the station with a regenerated North Quay and the town centre.

As well as full restoration and demolition, other options under consideration in the study include a new cycle bridge through the structure with refurbishment of the existing bridge and removal of the old cycle bridge, refurbishment of the bridge potentially to allow for public transport, a new cycle bridge independent of the existing structure, and refurbishment of the existing cycle bridge with environmental improvements to the approaches.

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