Election 2015 England

Election 2015: Cameron 'pledges Lowestoft third crossing by 2020'

David Cameron (left) and Peter Aldous in Lowestoft
Image caption Peter Aldous (right) shows David Cameron the view from the Bascule Bridge control room

Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to build a third water crossing in Lowestoft by 2020, the local Conservative candidate has said.

Mr Cameron visited the town, where Peter Aldous is defending a Conservative majority of 769.

Mr Aldous called it "the most significant commitment" so far to the debate about a third bridge.

Opposition candidates in the Waveney constituency called it "electioneering".

Image copyright Mike page
Image caption Lake Lothing (photographed looking west) is crossed by the Bascule Bridge at the harbour end
Image caption The Bascule Bridge opens to let boats sail between the harbour and Lake Lothing

The Suffolk coastal town is divided by Lake Lothing, with one road crossing at the Oulton Broad end and the Bascule Bridge at the town centre/harbour end.

A recent study for Suffolk County Council estimated a new bridge crossing near the harbour would cost £95m.

'I'm sceptical'

Mr Cameron said the New Anglia New Enterprise Partnership would be asked to submit a final design for consideration in the 2016 Budget, when a funding decision would be made.

"The promises we've made in the East of England, we've delivered on - I said we'd sort out the A11, we did sort out the A11," he told the BBC.

"The job performance [in East Anglia] has been magnificent with 207,000 more people in work since I became prime minister.

"Back that with the infrastructure and that performance could be stellar."

Bob Blizzard, Labour candidate who held the seat 1997-2010, said: "If he was serious Cameron would have said something on his other two recent visits, but last time he visited an office furniture shop.

"The transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin made no pledge either just a couple of weeks ago.

"A government can't commit until a bid has been received. Cameron's words are an empty promise a week before an election."

'Clear timetable'

Doug Farmer, Liberal Democrat candidate, said: "We will be delighted if he has promised a third crossing, providing it is a dual carriageway and in a central location.

"If all he's promised is to 'look at it', that's no change from what the Conservative and Labour administrations have been saying for 50 years, so I'm sceptical."

Graham Elliot, Green candidate, said: "It's basically electioneering - who knows what he's promising?

"We still favour reliable road crossings and investment in public transport, walking and cycling."

Mr Aldous said: "The PM pledged a Conservative government would build a third crossing by 2020 and this is the most significant commitment that any party leader has provided.

"There is still a lot of work to be done, but there is a very clear timetable."

Image copyright Bob Blizzard
Image caption Labour leader Ed Miliband visited the Bascule Bridge with former Waveney MP Bob Blizzard in December

Five candidates are standing in the Waveney constituency on 7 May.

Simon Tobin, UKIP, candidate was also not available but had previously said he would "fight to bring the project up the political agenda".

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