Great Yarmouth Mercury: An opportunity for Yarmouth to address infrastructure issues
By: James Shipp Date: 14 October 2016
Category: Great Yarmouth,Press Release
The change of direction in fiscal policy signalled by Philip Hammond in his Conservative Party conference speech will be welcomed by many local businesspeople who feel that George Osborne’s single-minded focus on reducing the deficit needed rethinking.
The Chancellor signalled on Monday that spending on infrastructure was to be at the top of his priority list, even if that means abandoning his predecessor’s promise to eliminate the budget deficit by 2020.
Mr Hammond conceded that the Brexit vote may cause ‘turbulence’ and that business confidence would be on a ‘bit of a rollercoaster’, agreeing that it would be ‘common sense’ to invest to support growth and jobs.
For Great Yarmouth, the benefits from this change of focus will soon be seen in practical terms. Improvements to the Vauxhall roundabout to smooth traffic flow and dualling of the A47 at Burlingham have been given the green light, and it seems likely that a third river crossing in the town will be on the list of future projects.
However, these improvements alone will not complete the complicated jigsaw puzzle of infrastructure the town needs to truly compete as an international business hub. With a better junction at the entrance to the town, attention will soon turn back to the potential to dual the Acle straight - an issue which has divided opinion over many years.
Likewise, an improved journey to the Breydon Bridge merely moves potential bottle-necks further into the town. Streamlined access to the main industrial areas of Yarmouth such as the Outer Harbour, and the Great Yarmouth Energy Park (where it was announced last week that a further two acres are to be developed) will also require an accelerated strategy for a third river crossing. Only then are we likely to see improved economic output.
The business community in Great Yarmouth will welcome this new government commitment to focusing on the kind of infrastructure issues which have for too long stood in the way of growth and prosperity for the town. The Chancellor’s announcement will have removed any doubt that the May government is not wedded to the policies of the past six years.
One can only hope that they have the foresight and the political will to finish the job. With a Treasury now more willing to listen to calls to spend where it is needed, Yarmouth must make its voice heard to ensure the town receives enough of this new largesse to make a difference.