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DCO granted for Lake Lothing crossing

Words: Laura Edgar
Lake Lothing Third Crossing / Suffolk County Council

Transport secretary Grant Shapps has granted a development consent order (DCO) for the Lake Lothing Third Crossing Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) in the East of England. 

Suffolk County Council submitted the application for development consent to the department.

The scheme comprises a multi-span, single-carriageway opening bascule bridge highway crossing. It would connect into the existing highway network via associated approach roads and new roundabout junctions, linking the areas north and south of Lake Lothing in Lowestoft.

A bridge control tower will be built on the south quay, as well as new mooring within the Inner Harbour for recreational vessels. A new access road that links Waveney Drive to Riverside Road, on the south of the lake, will also be delivered. 

The opening bascule bridge design would enable large vessels to continue to use the Port of Lowestoft. As the new bridge would be higher than the existing bascule bridge, a large number of boats should be able to pass underneath without the need to lift it.

The council submitted the application to the Planning Inspectorate in July 2018 and it was accepted for examination a month later. The public, statutory consultees and interested parties were able to give evidence during the examination process. The recommendation was then made to the transport secretary in September 2019.

Shapps considered concerns about the likely effects of noise, air quality and traffic arising from the development. He agreed with the examining panel that the development would provide additional capacity to help “reduce traffic congestion, improve journey times and support social and economic activity in accordance with the government’s vision and strategic objectives”. 

He also agrees that it has as “aspirational aesthetic component to its design, delivering an iconic new work of architectural engineering which achieves a key aim of NPS policy (PR 7.2.2)”.

He decided that concern that the development would harm operation of the port, was “clearly outweighed” by the “significant” benefits the new crossing would bring.

Matthew Hicks, leader of Suffolk County Council, said: "The crossing can make a significant difference as we continue to invest in the area. I’m confident that people will see positive changes, from their daily commute to the wider regeneration of the area.

"This is a significant step forward, and we will continue to make good progress behind the scenes in these unprecedented and challenging times.

"The tender period for construction contractors comes to an end later in May and we are
concluding our final business case to access the funding from the government."

Now the council has permission, a report is intended to be taken to its cabinet meeting in July 2020. It will consider the detail of the planning permission, the outcome of the construction tendering process, the final project cost estimate and the timetable for the project.

This project is the 84th to be examined and decided under the NSIP regime – and the 27th transport project.

All documents relating to the project, including the decision letter, can be found on the Planning Inspectorate website.

Image credit | Suffolk County Council