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Third river crossing home blight fears

PUBLISHED: 17:58 23 July 2009 | UPDATED: 14:29 03 July 2010

People living in the path of the proposed third river crossing say their homes and lives have been blighted by the proposals.

Although broadly supporting the plan residents whose house sales have fallen through because of the announcement now face the costly burden of "proving" it was because of the route.

People living in the path of the proposed third river crossing say their homes and lives have been blighted by the proposals.

Although broadly supporting the plan residents whose house sales have fallen through because of the announcement now face the costly burden of “proving” it was because of the route.

Among them are Lisa and Peter Manning of Southtown Road who fear it could mean the end of their dreams of a new life in Canada with their four young children.

Residents made a plea for early compensation at a meeting on Wednesday night when they quizzed representatives from Norfolk County Council over plans to build an £80m bridge or £180m tunnel from Harfreys roundabout to the South Denes peninsula - taking in homes on Southtown Road and Queen Anne's Road

Residents said the announcement had already had a major impact on the value of their properties and their ability to sell.

Mrs Manning, 39, said: “We were advised by our estate agents to take the house off the market, as they said no one would want to come and view it. We've had to put our lives on hold.

“I'm all for the bridge though, the town needs it,” she added.

Neighbour Peter Miller's three-bedroom home was on the market for just 10 days before it was sold, only for the buyer to pull out following the third crossing announcement. Mr Miller, 49, said: “My house is blighted and I cannot sell it. I've already purchased another house in Bradwell and I'm ready to move in.

“I don't have a problem with them building the bridge but I want to know if I will be compensated.”

Mark Firth, project design manager, said the county council was not legally obliged to consider claims for compensation until a preferred route was chosen in November.

Residents and business representatives raised concerns over the loss of property value in the period between now and November and over the procedure of claiming blight compensation.

Homeowners were aghast when they learned they would face the costly burden of “proving” they could not sell their homes - which have to be on the market for three months to meet compensation criteria.

The meeting at Yarmouth College was attended by local councillors and Yarmouth MP Tony Wright who urged the county council to consider its moral obligation towards compensation claims.

He said: “It is quite clear this is affecting people's properties now. If the decision goes against the crossing these people will still be out of pocket.”

Mr Wright suggested the current and past value of homes affected should be considered as although a preferred route will be chosen in November, construction would not start for at least five years' time.

Norfolk County Council pledged to work with residents and businesses as the project progresses and people were given the chance to have one-to-one meetings with council chiefs so the county council could consider individual cases.

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