Campaigners stage debate over third crossing as MP launches petition over new bridge in Lowestoft
PUBLISHED: 12:10 30 January 2015 | UPDATED: 12:10 30 January 2015
Political campaigners staged a public meeting to outline their opposition to the proposed option for Lowestoft’s third crossing - as the town’s MP launched his own petition to lobby government for a new bridge.
Engineering consultants WSP have published a report which outlines three options for a new road crossing to be built across Lake Lothing.
It has recommended an eastern location near to the existing Bascule bridge, saying that would be the most cost effective and appropriate option.
However Bob Blizzard - who is hoping to be re-elected for Labour as Waveney’s MP at this May’s general election - and businessmen Peter Colby told more than 150 people gathered at Lowestoft’s Hotel Victoria on Wednesday (January 28) that putting a crossing there would be “nonsense” and that a more central location is where people want it to be built.
“If you build a new bridge here, when the Bascule bridge comes up for its overhaul it’s obvious to me they will say: ‘Why do you need the two together?’” Mr Blizzard said.
He added that: “My summary is that an eastern crossing is not a third crossing, it is just a replacement bridge” - although Suffolk County Council leader Mark Bee has written to The Journal to say: “I can assure everyone that any new bridge across Lake Lothing would not be built as a replacement for the existing Bascule bridge.”
Waveney MP Peter Aldous does support a crossing in an eastern location and this week launched his ‘Get Lowestoft Moving’ campaign to encourage residents to sign a petition calling on government to put funding in place for the scheme.
“Putting together a strong case for a third crossing is not straightforward and if not done properly, there will be yet more broken promises from politicians,” he said.
“The technical report that Suffolk County Council have commissioned to identify the best solution is a major step forward.
“As well as building up business case, we now need to lobby government hard to back the scheme which will relieve traffic congestion, improve accessibility to the town centre and not interfere with the running of the port.”
He said to residents: “I need your help in doing this by signing the petition at the end of this newsletter, in order to demonstrate how important this new crossing is to Lowestoft and its future prosperity.”
However Mr Blizzard told the public meeting that: “The biggest flaw in the report is the public consultation.
“We are going ahead on the basis of the views of 11 companies and ignoring the views of everyone else in the ton. It’s not right and it’s not fair.”
Mr Aldous had encouraged people to instead put their views forward at public meeting being organised by Suffolk County Council on Wednesday, February 18.
The event, at the main conference room at Orbis Energy, in Lowestoft, will present the findings of the WSP report and give people a chance to discuss their views.
Mr Colby said at the Hotel Victoria meeting: “Let’s all go en masse to that meeting on February 18 and tell them what we want.”
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