Page last updated at 18:39 GMT, Thursday, 4 March 2010

Decision 'soon' on 14m for Poole's Twin Sails Bridge

Artist's impression of bridge at night
Up to 5,000 jobs could be created, according to the council

The government has said it hopes to decide "very soon" whether to give £14m to help fund a new bridge in Dorset.

The £37m Twin Sails Bridge, which is designed to cross a section of Poole Harbour and connect Hamworthy with Poole port, has faced years of delays.

The Borough of Poole Council has agreed a £9.96m loan from the South West of England Regional Development Agency

The government said it was currently looking at its 2010/11 budgets which will include the bridge scheme.

Campaigners said the bridge was desperately needed to ease congestion in the town.

'Thousands of jobs'

Annette Brooke, Lib Dem MP for Mid-Dorset and North Poole, told the House of Commons: "We're very proud of our town, Poole is a beautiful place.

"But it is not so beautiful when the whole town comes to a standstill which is obviously very harmful to the local economy, to people who want to use our port and our tourist trade."

The project could create up to 5,000 jobs, according to the council, and would allow development of homes, offices, shops, community and leisure facilities on 26 hectares of brownfield land.

Transport minister Paul Clark said: "Along with treasury colleagues, we are currently examining expenditure for 2010/11.

"The Poole bridge scheme is part of that financial and programme management process.

"Once those discussions have come to their conclusions, we hope to make an announcement about Poole very soon after."

He added he believed a decision would be taken in the near future.

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