The price of the Warburton Toll Bridge is set to increase from 12p to £1

Local residents, who pay 12p to cross a toll bridge every time they drive in and out of their own village, are bracing themselves amid proposals to increase the fee to €1 - a rise of 733 per cent. For 160 years, people have paid a modest sum to enter and exit Warburton, Greater Manchester, via the Warburton Toll Bridge. Caption: The village of Warburton, Greater Manchester, where a 12p toll is charged for use of the Warburton Toll Bridge over the River Mersey and Manchester Ship Canal

The toll has not changed since 1890 (Photo: MEN)

For the last 160 years, the people of the north west village of Warburton have paid a modest sum to use a bridge over the Manchester Ship Canal.

In 1863 it cost 1p to cross on horseback or in a cart (equivalent to 18p in today’s money). It was increased to 12p in 1890 and the price has not changed since.

However, a debate is ongoing as current owners Peel Ports want to raise the price to £1 – an increase of 733%.

The bridge is the only link between the M6 ​​and M60 motorways over the River Mersey and the Manchester Ship Canal, but has long been a headache for those in the village.

Steve Ellis, who lives in nearby Church Green, said: “Steve Ellis, who lives in nearby Church Green, said: ‘The bridge is a nightmare. When the Autobahn has a problem, everyone tries to get through.

“They don’t take care of it. When you drive over the bridge there are so many potholes you wouldn’t believe it.”

People living near the bridge would get a 50% discount, but some would like the fee to be abolished altogether.

The sleepy hamlet of Warburton in Trafford has 17 listed buildings including a listed church and a toll bridge which costs 12p each way. Paddy Ruth outside his home in Warburton

Paddy Ruth said he was happy with the toll and said it didn’t hurt anyone (Image: MEN)

Steve said: “I drive across the bridge at least once a day. If they put it on a pound it costs me 4 or 5 pounds a day. Everything is piling up.

“They say they can’t afford to maintain it, but the sales of this bridge must be in the millions.”

Syd Rasheed, who also lives nearby, says the number of cars has tripled since he moved 26 years ago, leading to long queues.

At one point they got so annoyed with the queues that they collected £120 every week just to speed up crossings. And in 2018, arsonists destroyed the tollbooth, resulting in the toll being canceled for six weeks while it was repaired.

He said: “The bridge causes all sorts of traffic problems. At rush hour, it’s straight backwards towards Lymm.

“I can drive 20 minutes from Manchester to the edge of the village, then it takes me another 20 minutes to get home because of all the traffic.

“Air pollution from standing traffic is also an issue. The village itself is very pretty and it’s a nice little community. We’re pretty hidden here, it’s just the toll bridge and the traffic.’

However, some people like Paddy Ruth who lives near the bridge are happy with it.

He said: “We were so used to living somewhere where there were lots of people and noise.

“It’s nice and quiet here and the people are great. I love it here, it’s just the nature of the place.”

Peel Ports said the bridge required maintenance. They said: “Tolls are the best way to fund these much-needed improvements and the current 12p charge has not changed since 1863 and had to include the introduction of a VAT liability.

“Bridge users deserve 21st century facilities that will ultimately ease congestion, reduce congestion and improve the overall flow of traffic in the area.

“The current toll is one of the lowest in England and will not fund the capital investment needed to support the maintenance and modernization of the facilities that motorists prefer.”

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Justin Scacco

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