Lowestoft third crossing campaign sparks row

Hayley MaceA council has defended its position on the campaign for a third crossing for Lowestoft, despite criticism from opposition councillors.Hayley Mace

A council has defended its position on the campaign for a third crossing for Lowestoft, despite criticism from opposition councillors.

Proposals for a third crossing over Lake Lothing have been in the pipeline for decades and now the Lowestoft Labour group is calling on local county councillors to back the scheme so that it can move up the list for possible government funding.

At a recent meeting of Waveney District Council, labour councillor Nigel Dack asked the Conservative-controlled district council to write a letter to Suffolk County Council to support the third crossing.

He said that councillors who are representatives on both authorities should push the county council to back the scheme because the plans for the new bridge will not get any government funding without support from all the relevant local authorities.

However, Waveney District Council leader Mark Bee, who is also the county councillor for Beccles, said it was not the district council's place to ask the county council for support.

He said: "We can't lobby ourselves. As a district council, we have always been fully behind the idea of seeing a new bridge built in Lowestoft. I can't help but feel that this is just the Labour group trying to make it look as if we are not behind the third crossing when we are."

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Mr Dack said: "This shows a lack of willingness by this Tory council to back a scheme that the vast majority of its residents want.

"All those members of Waveney District Council who are also members of Suffolk County Council should be lobbying hard for a third crossing for Lowestoft. They are, after all, our voice on Suffolk County Council."

Rather than proposing a third crossing to relieve congestion in Lowestoft, Conservative-run Suffolk County Council has suggested that roads in the north of the town should be improved, reducing motorists' reliance on the existing A12 bascule bridge.

Earlier this year, the Highways Agency produced a report showing that a third crossing stretching from Peto Way in the north of the town to Waveney Drive in the south would be economically feasible and cost nearly �38m.

Hopes for the new bridge received a boost in November last year when it made its way on to a list of schemes that could get cash from the East of England Regional Assembly (Eera) after 2013.

While Suffolk County Council cannot approve the bridge scheme, the council is the area's representa-tive on the regional assembly.

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