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Survey blow to bridge hopes

PUBLISHED: 15:31 11 November 2010

A £40,000 survey of the disused Vauxhall Railway bridge has revealed serious structural problems that have cast doubt over hopes that it could be restored to its former glory – but other ways of saving important features of the bridge will be explored.

The detailed survey and report carried out by Mott MacDonald was made possible through funding by Norfolk County Council (£15,000), Asda (£15,000), the Fair Share panel (£5,000) and 1st East (£5,000). Fair Share have £295,000 set aside for a viable restoration project, subject to local and national approval.

Local county councillor Tom Garrod said: “A lot of people have been pressing for the restoration of Vauxhall Bridge and the results of the survey of the main bridge are not what we were hoping for. This is disappointing, but the next stage will be to see what options are still available, based upon the report’s findings, and to seek the views of the ‘Reconnecting Great Yarmouth’ project board, which next meets later this month.”

A number of groups, such as Vauxhall Links, and individuals have been working for the restoration of the iconic Grade II-listed bridge. Mark Llewelyn, of Community Connections, said: “I think that bringing the bridge to its former glory now has a shadow over it, but it is not the end as there are lots of other options and possibilities that we should now explore.

“We are very grateful for the support of Miriam Kirkis and the Vauxhall Links community group who have been instrumental in raising the profile of the bridge and helping secure funds. It is important that supporters don’t lose heart. Great Yarmouth has a great heritage and identity and these need to preserved so that people can be proud of the town’s past.”

The condition report is being made available on the ‘Vauxhall Links’ Facebook page and via the Great Yarmouth Community website, www.96ktalkback.co.uk.

An exhibition being held at Great Yarmouth Library until next Friday (10am to 5pm, not Sundays) includes work by Katarzyna Coleman and Bridget Heriz of the Vauxhall Links group. Katarzyna has two paintings of the bridge on display.

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