No verdict on Clifton Suspension Bridge toll until summer
THE Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust expects its application to double the price of the toll to go to a public inquiry.
The Trust applied to the Department for Transport (DfT) to increase the price of crossings from 50p to £1 last August.
The application was lodged last year but the DfT are unlikely to come to a decision until the summer, ThePost has learned.
Spokesman at the DfT John Rhodes said that "due process" has started on the application. He said: "The consultation has finished and we have had the responses in. Once it has been looked at we will make a recommendation to the Minister."
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He added that he was unsure when the recommendation would be ready. However, The Post has learned that a decision is not likely to be taken until the summer.
Tim Baines, from the Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust, said he fully expects the DfT to recommend a public consultation.
He said: "To be honest when the tolls went up last time there was a public inquiry and we fully expect one this time. It is what has to happen and is in our plans.We would prefer it sooner rather than later."
He added that he was confident that the public inquiry would result in an increase in the end.
"If we want to preserve the bridge, not just as a monument, and keep it active for vehicles, then money has to be spent."
Campaigner against the price rises David Newman welcomed the news which would delay the "over the top" increase.
The Leigh Woods resident said: "It's good that it is unlikely to take a decision until the summer and even better news if they eventually decide to hold a public inquiry.
"It delays the tolls going up and creates a bigger window for drivers who don't have to pay the proposed 100 per cent increase.
"Recently we have heard people complaining about rail fare rises of around three or four per cent but the Trust want to put their tolls up by 100 per cent, which will make a huge impact on people using the bridge and those living around it."