HC Deb 30 July 1958 vol 592 cc1342-3
25. Sir L. Ropner

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether his negotiations for the purchase of the toll rights of Selby Bridge have yet been completed; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. Nugent

Not yet, Sir; but following agreement with the proprietors on an engineering report on the structure of the bridge, the district valuer was able to meet them on Monday of this week, to discuss compensation for the toll rights. The report of this meeting is not yet available, but as soon as we have had an opportunity to study it I will write to my hon. and gallant Friend.

Sir L. Ropner

Is my hon. Friend aware that negotiations for the freeing of this toll bridge have been in operation for nearly half a century, that they were nearly completed in 1939 and, to the best of my belief, the Department has been pursuing them urgently now for months, or years? Could he now give an indication of the date upon which these negotiations will finally be concluded?

Mr. Nugent

I am afraid I cannot do that and I think past history indicates how difficult that is, but I think when we have this report we shall find a basis for acquiring the rights in the toll bridge. I shall be writing to my hon. and gallant Friend very shortly about it.

Mr. Popplewell

Has a census ever been taken of traffic using this toll bridge? If so, when was it, and, if not, will the Minister take one, because, as the hon. and gallant Member for Barkston Ash (Sir L. Ropner) knows, in his constituency the amount of traffic held up at this bridge is fantastic and the amount which motorists have to pay is really outrageous for this type of thing?

Mr. Nugent

I do not doubt that we have undertaken such a count. I have not the figures with me, but the basis of compensation for the toll rights would in part depend on the amount of traffic going over the bridge. I shall gladly write to the hon. Member and give him the details.