News | World News | Toll booth than benefits from ancient Act of Parliament listed for £800,000

Toll booth than benefits from ancient Act of Parliament listed for £800,000

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  • Maggie Taylor and Grahame Penny bought the bridge over the River Wye in 2012 
  • Owners put it up for sale for £795,000 because they want to retire 
  • Offers buyers a tax-free income of around £100,000-a-year due to £1 tolls per go
  • The Whitney-on-Wye bridge is one of just 8 privately-owned toll bridges in UK

By Rod Ardehali For Mailonline

Published: 07:01 EDT, 12 June 2018 | Updated: 08:21 EDT, 12 June 2018

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A lucrative toll bridge which rakes in a cool £100,000-a-year tax free thanks to an ancient Act of Parliament has been put up for sale for £800,000.

The Whitney-on-Wye bridge, in Herefordshire, is one of only eight privately-owned toll bridges in the UK, and because of it's popular location for commuters and tourists, pulls in thousands of pounds at a £1-a-go.

The sale offers potential buyers a tax-free income and has been put up for sale because its current owners Maggie Taylor and Grahame Penny - who  bought the historic bridge over the River Wye in 2012 - want to retire.

Maggie Taylor and Grahame Penny bought the historic bridge over the River Wye in 2012. The couple have put their lucrative toll bridge up for sale for cool £800,000 - which rakes in £100,000-a-year tax free thanks to an ancient Act of Parliament
Maggie Taylor and Grahame Penny bought the historic bridge over the River Wye in 2012. The couple have put their lucrative toll bridge up for sale for cool £800,000 - which rakes in £100,000-a-year tax free thanks to an ancient Act of Parliament

Maggie Taylor and Grahame Penny bought the historic bridge over the River Wye in 2012. The couple have put their lucrative toll bridge up for sale for cool £800,000 - which rakes in £100,000-a-year tax free thanks to an ancient Act of Parliament

The Whitney-on-Wye bridge is one of only eight privately-owned toll bridges in the UK, and because of it's popular location for commuters and tourists, pulls in thousands at a £1-a-go
The Whitney-on-Wye bridge is one of only eight privately-owned toll bridges in the UK, and because of it's popular location for commuters and tourists, pulls in thousands at a £1-a-go

The Whitney-on-Wye bridge is one of only eight privately-owned toll bridges in the UK, and because of it's popular location for commuters and tourists, pulls in thousands at a £1-a-go

It lies just off the tourist route that runs between Monmouth and Hay-on-Wye, known as the Golden Valley.

It is advertised at £795,000 and included in the sale is two acres of land, a listed toll house and the fishing rights to a stretch of the River Wye.

The bridge was built in 1797 by an Act of Parliament and is estimated to bring in an annual income of over £100,000.

The sale offers potential buyers a tax-free income and has been put up for sale for £795,000 because its current owners want to retire. It is advertised at £795,000 and included in the sale is two acres of land, a listed toll house and the fishing rights to a stretch of the River Wye
The sale offers potential buyers a tax-free income and has been put up for sale for £795,000 because its current owners want to retire. It is advertised at £795,000 and included in the sale is two acres of land, a listed toll house and the fishing rights to a stretch of the River Wye

The sale offers potential buyers a tax-free income and has been put up for sale for £795,000 because its current owners want to retire. It is advertised at £795,000 and included in the sale is two acres of land, a listed toll house and the fishing rights to a stretch of the River Wye

The bridge was built in 1797 by an Act of Parliament and is estimated to bring in an annual income of over £100,000
The bridge was built in 1797 by an Act of Parliament and is estimated to bring in an annual income of over £100,000

The bridge was built in 1797 by an Act of Parliament and is estimated to bring in an annual income of over £100,000

With the nearest alternative river crossings not for at least six miles in either direction, the crossing is widely used by both tourists and local residents and costs £1 to cross.

Maggie, 53, said: 'It is so busy now. We have developed the business. It needs someone with a bit more energy to now take it forward.'

Planning permission has also been obtained for an enlargement to the toll house, with the capacity to develop a restaurant, four eco lodges and a new toll house.

With the nearest alternative river crossings not for at least six miles in either direction, the crossing is widely used by both tourists and local residents and costs £1 to cross
With the nearest alternative river crossings not for at least six miles in either direction, the crossing is widely used by both tourists and local residents and costs £1 to cross

With the nearest alternative river crossings not for at least six miles in either direction, the crossing is widely used by both tourists and local residents and costs £1 to cross

Despite being nearly 240 years old, the bridge has had just five owners - with one family holding onto it for 180 years. Paying the £1 toll allows drivers to cross the bridge for the whole of that day
Despite being nearly 240 years old, the bridge has had just five owners - with one family holding onto it for 180 years. Paying the £1 toll allows drivers to cross the bridge for the whole of that day

Despite being nearly 240 years old, the bridge has had just five owners - with one family holding onto it for 180 years. Paying the £1 toll allows drivers to cross the bridge for the whole of that day

And the business also generates income from camping, fishing and canoe launch use.

Despite being nearly 240 years old, the bridge has had just five owners - with one family holding onto it for 180 years.

Paying the £1 toll allows drivers to cross the bridge for the whole of that day.

The new owner will be responsible for maintaining the bridge, which was virtually rebuilt in 1993.

The ancient crossing point attracts wildlife, swans, kingfishers, Canada geese, passing otters - and TV programme makers - in equal measure. The One Show, Secret Britain and Tim Wonnacott's Antiques Roadtrip have all been here 
The ancient crossing point attracts wildlife, swans, kingfishers, Canada geese, passing otters - and TV programme makers - in equal measure. The One Show, Secret Britain and Tim Wonnacott's Antiques Roadtrip have all been here 

The ancient crossing point attracts wildlife, swans, kingfishers, Canada geese, passing otters - and TV programme makers - in equal measure. The One Show, Secret Britain and Tim Wonnacott's Antiques Roadtrip have all been here 

The ancient crossing point attracts wildlife, swans, kingfishers, Canada geese, passing otters - and TV programme makers - in equal measure.

The One Show, Secret Britain and Tim Wonnacott's Antiques Roadtrip have all been here.

The Department of Transport has to approve any rise in tolls - the last review was in 2009, when they were increased from 50p.

Philip Gibson of GVA Birmingham, the agency selling the bridge, said: 'As one of eight privately owned tax free toll bridges in the UK, Whitney Bridge is a fascinating piece of history, a thriving business and an ideal tax free investment opportunity for which we expect a great deal of interest.' 

Why can they charge £1-a-go? 

An enabling Act of Parliament was passed in order for Whitney Bridge at Whitney-on-Wye to be built.

The main features of the Act are the tax status and the toll charges plus it also provides the guidance of how and why Whitney Bridge and Toll House were to be built. 

In 1780 and 1797 further Acts were passed with amendments to the 1774 which included guidance over design of build, toll charge frequency and Toll House variance. 

The final 1797 Act did not supersede the 1774 Act; it merely provided additional features. 

The final 1797 Act did not supersede the 1774 Act; it merely provided additional features
The final 1797 Act did not supersede the 1774 Act; it merely provided additional features

The final 1797 Act did not supersede the 1774 Act; it merely provided additional features

 

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