Third Crossing

“No time to waste” is the message from local leaders as work gets underway to develop plans for   a new road crossing for Lake Lothing in Lowestoft.
 
Having received a commitment from the Prime Minister and the Chancellor to seek the delivery of a scheme by 2020, New Anglia LEP and Suffolk County Council have now been asked by the Government to undertake a new feasibility study and produce a business case which will provide the robust evidence that the project is deliverable and offers good value for money. Department for Transport officials will then determine the merits of the business case , so that a further announcement can be made as part of the Chancellor’s 2016 budget about the scheme’s progress.
 
The New Anglia LEP was awarded up to £4m to help fund development work on this project and the Wet Dock Crossing in Ipswich. The work is to begin immediately. The approach is to carry out stakeholder engagement, a detailed assessment of engineering feasibility and timescales, environmental assessment, traffic modelling and assessment of the wider economic opportunities that the crossing would bring to establish a viable business case for funding the scheme.
 
The business case will then need to show that a broad range of options have been assessed and clear evidence provided to show that any  preferred option would provide best overall value for money.  As part of this, engagement with local stakeholders is imperative and will play an important part in finding the best and most appropriate solution for the town of Lowestoft and wider region.
 
This engagement will help establish a preferred location, operation and type of the new crossing and its connection to the highway network. With this in mind, discussions are already underway between the County Council, the LEP and key partners such as Peter Aldous MP, Waveney District Council, Highways England, Network Rail , the local Chambers of Commerce and Associated British Ports (ABP) to ensure the best possible solution for Lowestoft can be determined.
 
Additionally, all parties agree that it is vital to engage with local people and to hear their views and ideas about alleviating traffic issues in the town.
 
Cllr Colin Noble, Leader of Suffolk County Council, says that the deadlines are tight, but with a new road crossing having remained an issue for so long, he is delighted that there is a clear determination to deliver the scheme. He said: “There is absolutely no time to waste and with the clear support of the Government for an appropriate scheme we must now deliver a rock solid case to get the job done. “The feasibility study will begin with a blank sheet of paper. This is a once in a generation opportunity and we must grasp the nettle.”
 
Chris Starkie, managing director of New Anglia LEP said: “Lowestoft has waited decades for a new crossing over Lake Lothing. With the opportunities that our growing energy coast brings it is more important than ever to have the infrastructure to support future growth and jobs. This study will build a robust business case to take to Government and means we can move from concept to reality once we get the green light.”
 
Peter Aldous, MP for Waveney said: “Having chaired a meeting of the major local stakeholders last week the collective ambition could not be clearer. We know that the clock is ticking and that for the first time ever we now have full Government support for the scheme. Our task now is to deliver a business plan which shows why a new crossing is needed ahead of the Chancellor’s budget in the Spring.
 
Cllr Colin Law, Leader of Waveney District Council said: “There has been no hotter topic in Lowestoft than a new road crossing and it is hard to find anyone locally who does not have an opinion either way. Our task now is to capture these views as well as delivering thorough technical assessments of various options on traffic and the local economy.”
 
James Reeder Chairman of the Lowestoft and Waveney Chamber of Commerce said: “The Chamber fully supports the planned way forward and is poised to assist with engaging the business community to help provide a robust business case for this vital infrastructure improvement.  We now have the political will and momentum to give Lowestoft the major boost needed to make a real difference to our hard working businesses. In order to send a really positive message to national and international businesses looking to invest in our community, we must not allow this opportunity to pass us by.”
 

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Peter holds regular surgeries at various locations in the constituency. Please call 01502 586568 to make an appointment.

 

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