Page last updated at 12:00 GMT, Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Charges increased for Whitchurch Toll Bridge

Whitchurch Bridge
Whitchurch Bridge was built in 1902 and has Grade II-listed status

A number of commuters who use a toll crossing on the River Thames are facing an increase in charges.

The cost of a Bridge Card Toll for the privately-owned Whitchurch Bridge will rise from nearly 14p to 20p from 1 March.

Last year, the fee for motorists paying by cash rose from 20p to 40p.

The company which owns the bridge between Oxfordshire and Berkshire said the increase was needed to fund a replacement bridge, costing £3.2m.

'Thoroughly scrutinised'

A public inquiry into the proposed toll increase was held in June last year, and a planning inspector recommended approval, which was granted in October.

Campaigners against the changes said the Whitchurch Bridge Company had acted too late in saving for the new bridge, but the firm said a rise in construction costs were to blame.

Company Secretary Geoff Weir said: "We recognise that any increase in the tolls will be unwelcome, but we hope that users of Whitchurch Bridge will understand that the reasons for it were thoroughly scrutinised at last year's public inquiry and accepted by the secretary of state."

The Grade II listed structure was built in 1902 and is the third crossing at the site.

About 6,500 cars use the bridge daily.

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