WOULD you still use the toll bridge if it went up to £1?

The Manchester Ship Canal Company, which owns and operates the bridge, has published details of £6.5million worth of upgrades to the approach roads, footpaths and tolling system.

The current toll of 12p was set in 1863, which if it had kept pace with inflation, would now be around £15.

The proposed new toll will be up to £1 including VAT, with discounts for local residents and frequent users.

And the rise in price, from 12p for a single ticket and 25p for an all day ticket has left many frustrated on social media.

And the dismay does not stop there. Councillor Graham Gowland is definitely not a fan of the proposed increase.

“I think we need to have a pretty robust approach from the community and the councils as well to stop it happening and to find a solution that going forwards is going to solve the issue,” he said.

“I think people are pretty outraged by it. There’s a lot of response from the community to say that ‘Peel are money grabbing, they never put anything into the community or invest’, that’s not entirely fair.

“There is some investment done by Peel and they are a business operator in our community, but people are pretty horrified that they would look at this 700% increase overnight.

“For some people who are living on the breadline, that’s nearly £500 you’re taking off their income.

So, it begs the question, would you still use the toll bridge if the fee went to £1 to cross over?

Graham believes Peel still will increase the fee but it will be less than a pound and they will then say they have listened to public opinion.

"I still don’t believe that’s acceptable," he continued.

He continued: “The tolls certainly wipe their face. They pay for the maintenance cost, the roadway and the now defunct bridge.

"They pay for the wages and cover the cost of maintaining that stretch of roadway and the fact that Peel won’t maintain the high level bridges, which is obviously a separate responsibility, has meant that the amount of money they’re looking at spending now - £6.5m – reflects a complete lack of investment and maintenance.

“They’re turning over a profit of around 83 per cent, so to think that they need to increase the tolls on a bridge that was set up by local people to facilitate the community, this is not the way to go ahead.

“To put that in for nothing really seems an absurd and inequitable situation and I think that’s why there’s been such a negative response by everyone in the community.”

The firm has begun a month-long voluntary consultation with the community on its plans from today, Monday, until Friday, August 20, and is inviting all interested parties to have their say.