AN extraordinary council meeting will be held on January 17 to discuss a proposed increase in charges on the Warburton Toll Bridge.

The Manchester Ship Canal Company revealed last year that it was planning to increase charges on the Warburton Toll Bridge and carry out upgrades.

The company, which owns and operates the bridge, said it planned to raise the fee from 12p to £1.

But the proposed move sparked serious concerns in the town.

As reported on December 1, following completion of the non-statutory consultation and the publication of the consultation feedback report in relation to the proposals for the bridge, an application has now been submitted to the transport secretary, under the Transport and Works Act 1992, for the proposed Rixton and Warburton Bridge Order.

The proposals require statutory authorisation.

But Warrington Borough Council will hold a special meeting this month to consider a resolution on whether the council opposes the application.

A council spokesman said: “A detailed report setting out the council’s proposed objections to the Transport and Works Act Order for the Warburton Toll Bridge will be considered by members at an extraordinary council meeting to be held on Monday 17th January.

“They will be asked to consider the sending of an objection response to the secretary of state by a vote held at the meeting.”

The meeting, which will begin at 6.30pm, is to take place at the Time Square offices.

As reported on December 1, Cllr Graham Gowland (LD – Lymm South) said it is ‘good to see’ that Peel Ports are acknowledging their responsibilities to the community and planning to improve the crossing.

He added: “The degree of dilapidation, which can be seen in the drop of the weight capacity, but also the inappropriate toll payment system, which leads to delays, is well overdue.

“There are however huge questions over their justification for the huge increase in tolls they are proposing.

“The Manchester Ship Canal Company is hugely profitable, and as a strategic asset, it needs to be maintained appropriately.”

But the company also issued a statement on the issue.

A spokesperson said: “It has always been the case that the maintenance of such bridges should be covered by the toll paid by the beneficiaries of its use.

“As the business case shows, 12p per crossing is clearly insufficient. The bridge requires modernisation and an appropriate level of toll to ensure it has a sustainable future.”