Time ticks on bridge cash
THE eyesore Vauxhall Bridge was again under the spotlight this week - with money available for a revamp but only seven months left to spend it.For years the rundown and rusting hulk of a bridge has been viewed as a source of embarrassment as it is the first thing that tourists see of Great Yarmouth as they get off at the nearby station, and it provides the foot crossing for pedestrians from North Quay to shop at Asda.
THE eyesore Vauxhall Bridge was again under the spotlight this week - with money available for a revamp but only seven months left to spend it.
For years the rundown and rusting hulk of a bridge has been viewed as a source of embarrassment as it is the first thing that tourists see of Great Yarmouth as they get off at the nearby station, and it provides the foot crossing for pedestrians from North Quay to shop at Asda.
On Monday, Norfolk County councillors for the borough were told there was a �300,000 pot of cash available to give the aging structure a much needed revamp.
However, the Yarmouth area committee was informed that the lottery money awarded five months ago to improve the crossing needed to be used before the end of the year or it would be lost for good.
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But some members of that committee demanded that the rusted grade II listed structure - owned by sustainable transport charity Sustrains - should be torn down, at a cost of �500,000.
The debate on the bridge's future was sparked by news that next week, County Hall is to see if �40,000 funding is available for a feasibility study of the site.
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Engineers estimate it will cost at least �1m to totally revamp the bridge to improve one of the town's main gateways.
Most members of the committee agreed that at the very least the bridge needed a lick of paint and improved lighting for pedestrians and asked that the �300,000 pot of cash be accessed as soon as possible.
But one councillor said the eyesore should be confined to history saying the bridge looked derelict and implied a derelict town.
It was also feared if no repairs are done to the bridge and its wooden flooring then it may no longer be suitable in the near future for cyclists.
The area committee agreed to pass a resolution that the Vauxhall Bridge feasibility study needed to be completed as soon as possible to make sure the �300,000 lottery funding was not wasted in seven month's time.
If approved next week, the money for the study will come from the county council's on-street parking budget.
In January 2008, bridge owners Sustrans received �50m of lottery funding for projects across the country but declined to spend any of the cash on its Yarmouth site as it was intended for new schemes rather then repairing existing structures.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? Tear it down or renovate? Write to Letters at The Mercury, 169 King Street, Great Yarmouth NR30 2PA or email firstname.lastname@example.org