Work on £6.5m Gorleston link road could start in July
13:11 18 April 2014
Archant Norfolk © 2013
Work could start within a year on a multi-million pound link road that will pave the way for 1,000 new homes on the outskirts of Gorleston.
The project to build the new road that will join the A143 and A12 has long been on the cards, but is now finally progressing as plans have been submitted for the 1.8km-long thoroughfare.
And if given the green light, construction could start this summer to ensure £4.7m of government funding is not lost.
Highways bosses have been awarded the “pinch point” cash, as the new link road will alleviate traffic and congestion through the town, but it must be spent by April 1, 2015.
Developers are also keen to see work start on the road, as it will pave the way for the new homes as well as the planned Sainsbury’s supermarket at Beacon Park. And it is also hoped to bring more business into Beacon Park while providing an important link to the James Paget Hospital.
Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis, who helped secure the government funding for the road, said it was brilliant that the project was moving forward.
“It does unlock an opportunity for more housing, which we need and want,” he added. “And it’s got real potential to relieve some of the traffic.”
Mr Lewis also thought the road could benefit Gorleston town centre, as it would provide a direct route for people from Bradwell to come to the high street, rather than go to Yarmouth, Lowestoft or even Norwich.
And he thought the new Sainsbury’s could have the same effect, while providing a great facility for people living on Beacon Park.
He said: “What we do find with these sites, when done properly, is that they can increase footfall. The road will certainly open up a whole new market.”
Trevor Wainwright, leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council - which helped secure the pinch point funding - thought it was great news to see the road take its first firm step forward.
“It’s a great scheme and it will certainly take pressure off places like the Magdalen Estate where people tend to cut through to get into Yarmouth,” he said.
“It’s really positive news.”
Persimmon Homes, which is building 800 new homes on the site, and Sainsbury’s have welcomed the move forward in the plans.
Martin Davidson, planning director of Persimmon Homes Anglia, said: “We were delighted when pinch point funding was approved, and equally pleased that delivery of this link road now appears to be moving forward.
“We are already preparing for phase one of our development, with detailed proposals for 150 two, three and four bedroom homes – including some affordable - and two and three bedroom bungalows.”
As part of the housing plan, Persimmon will also develop a small retail park, employment park, open spaces and a site for a new primary school.
Mr Wainwright hailed the housing development and said it would help the authority hit its target to build 380 homes a year.
He added: “I have had very positive comments about the whole project; Beacon Park, Sainsbury’s, the housing, school, everything.”
And while it is down to Norfolk County Council (NCC) to sign off on the road scheme, the borough council must rubber stamp the homes plans to ensure the whole project can move forward.
Planning permission for the homes is set to be discussed in late May with the road scheme set to go to committee in June. If both are approved it will be “all systems go”.
Ian Taylor, NCC’s major project delivery manager, is overseeing the road scheme and said highway teams were confident it would get the green light.
“If both lots of planning permissions come through without hiccup we hope to start on the ground in July,” he added. “And the developer hopes to start building what they call phase one of the houses at the Bradwell end, while we’re building the link road.”
The road build is expected to cost around £6.5m in total, with Persimmon and the borough council picking up the remainder of the bill.
Mr Wainwright said the authority had plans in place to pay its share of the tab with cash coming from capital receipts and developer contributions.
Construction of the road could take up to a year, with money from Persimmon and the council funding the last stretch once the government cash is spent.
Mr Taylor said the earliest opening date for the road would be next summer.