MINISTERS have declined an offer to hold a meeting with the town's politicians over the Mersey Gateway Bridge tolls controversy.

But Warrington South MP Faisal Rashid is refusing to back down and has asked the Department for Transport to conduct a detailed study of the 'economic impact of extending the toll-free zone'.

In July, Mr Rashid wrote to Chris Grayling, secretary of state for transport, asking him to hold a meeting with him, along with some of the town's councillors and council officers.

Former Chancellor George Osborne pledged that drivers in Warrington and Cheshire West and Chester would have tolls waived ahead of the 2015 General Election.

But many of the borough's motorists are facing a £1,080 yearly bill to cross the site when it opens to traffic in the coming weeks following a Government U-turn in January.

Mr Rashid told Mr Grayling 'this has been seen in Warrington as a serious breach of trust on the part of the Government'.

Last week Jesse Norman, the parliamentary under secretary of state who is responsible for the Mersey Gateway scheme, replied to the Labour politician.

He said: "While I sympathise with you and your constituents' concerns over the requirement in future to pay to cross the Mersey, it has been for many years, and remains Government policy, that those who benefit from the significant improvements that large estuarial crossings bring should help to pay for them.

"The previous Chancellor announced that the Government would look at the feasibility of extending Mersey Gateway bridge toll discounts to residents of Cheshire West and Chester and Warrington.

"There would be a significant risk of a successful legal challenge to a decision to extend free tolling to some local councils and not others.

"Given the above points I do not see that a meeting will be of great benefit at this time."

Despite the setback, Mr Rashid has responded with another letter on Friday.

He said: "I would invite your department to conduct a detailed study of the economic impact of extending the toll-free zone from which I would suggest that it would be seen that the benefits would justify the investment.

"I would urge you, on behalf of my constituents, to invite the secretary of state to consider this matter further and honour the assurances that they were given in 2015.

"I look forward to your response and once again I offer you an opportunity to arrange a meeting at your convenience."