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Support for restoration of historic Great Yarmouth bridge

PUBLISHED: 12:31 18 March 2011

Vauxhall bridge, Yarmouth is now closed.

Vauxhall bridge, Yarmouth is now closed.

Archant © 2010

THE public pledged support for the restoration of Vauxhall Bridge at an exhibition in Great Yarmouth this week.

Plans for the phased restoration of the 160-year-old structure were on display at the Asda store on Monday.

Scores of shoppers added their names to a petition calling for the renovation of the former road and railway bridge.

Around £295,000 has been awarded by the National Lottery’s Fair Share Panel for the restoration project, which will see people crossing the eastern span for the first time in more than 25 years.

The sum falls short of the £500,000 needed to complete phase one of the scheme, with the ultimate aim to reopen the Grade II-listed bridge to traffic. As well as improving the look of the bridge, the restoration is aimed at giving it another virtually maintenance-free 25 years.

First opened in 1852, the bridge was soon modified to take trains. The footbridge, which is still in use today, was added in 1886 and it was closed to vehicles in 1953.

Miriam Kikis has looked out at the bridge from her Seafront Restaurant home for more than 30 years, and is leading a Facebook campaign to save it.

She said: “Between 150 and 200 people signed the petition in the space of a few hours.

“There has been an amazing response.

“The bridge is the historic gateway to Great Yarmouth and there is a big groundswell of support for saving it.

“It is the last of its kind and really needs some love and attention to bring it back to its best.”

For more information search for Vauxhall Links on Facebook.

Sailors want to see the bridge raised by two or three feet as part of restoration work.

Jamie Campbell, committee member of the Norfolk and Suffolk Boating Association (NSBA), said the size of most vessels had increased considerably in recent times and there was not enough space for boats to get under the bridge.

He revealed a number of boats had become stuck under the bridge, while others had lost the roof off cabins after striking the bottom of the bridge, and had windows smashed.

He added the tide was higher near Vauxhall bridge, which made the problem worse.

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