Commitment to third crossing over Lowestoft's Lake Lothing shows town is 'open for business'
The commitment to pursuing plans for a third crossing over Lake Lothing in Lowestoft is a sign that the town is “open for business”, say council chiefs.
Suffolk County Council’s cabinet is due to give the green light at its meeting on Tuesday for the construction contract to be awarded and the final business case to be submitted, which will allow work to start in the spring.
It emerged that costs have increased by upwards of £34million , but council chiefs confirmed they are committed to seeing it through.
Now, they have outlined why the scheme is so significant for Lowestoft and the wider area.
Suffolk County Council leader Matthew Hicks said: “For every £1 we spend we will see £3 in economic benefit, and that is a really impressive and incredible return for a project of this size.”
He continued: “We know that a bridge of this scale is going to have huge significance on the town in terms of bringing economic prosperity, showing that Lowestoft is open for business and this is really important for the town. This has been talked about for 100 years.”
It marks a boost for the town which is flourishing in investment good news in recent months.
Last July, the government confirmed that £720,000 from the Towns Fund would be given for a revamp of the old East Point Pavilion, to be opened by March next year, before a £43m pot was confirmed just days later for vital flood defence work.
Last month, East Suffolk Council’s cabinet unveiled an ambitious masterplan for the town featuringwaterfront area improvements, heritage projects and more cultural space.
East Suffolk leader Steve Gallant said: “Important though it is, the delivery of the third crossing in Lowestoft is not just about traffic.
“When work begins, it will be another, hugely eye-catching example of how a town which has faced adversity for decades is both recovering and beginning to thrive.
“I genuinely believe that the town is embracing massive economic opportunities through the growth in offshore renewable energy, tourism attractions along the South Beach and a range of large-scale infrastructure projects.
“We know that Lowestoft’s location on the coast and the flood risks that this presents, have been holding the town back and yet we now know for certain that we can protect people and their homes, significantly reducing the risk of flooding to over 825 businesses, unlocking further growth, creating jobs and apprenticeships and securing the future of Lowestoft for generations to come.”
Mr Gallant said he recognised the Covid-19 pandemic had caused uncertainty for people, but added: “Across the country there is a genuine sense of apprehension about the future and as a council delivering essential services we absolutely understand the impact that the pandemic has had on jobs and lives throughout East Suffolk and beyond.
“Therefore it has never been more important for us to press on with big ambitions for Lowestoft and towns throughout the district. There is a huge amount now happening in Lowestoft and I am genuinely excited at the rate and pace it is happening.”