Swinford Toll Bridge at Eynsham, near Oxford, which was built in 1767, is for sale.
As a result of an Act of Parliament passed in that year, its private owner is still allowed to charge a toll for crossing it and to enjoy a tax-free income from it.
Swinford Toll Bridge is one of the very few remaining toll bridges in England that enjoys an entirely tax free status. Indeed, it attracts no capital taxes (CGT, Inheritance tax and Stamp Duty) either.
The Act of Parliament that was passed specifically for the project, which was developed by the Earl of Abingdon, granted ownership of the bridge and its tolls to the Earl and ‘to his heirs and assignees for ever’.
Occupying a strategic location at a crossing of the River Thames, just outside the village of Eynsham, the Grade II listed bridge is en route to Oxford City centre, 6 miles away. Avoiding the main arterial routes of the A40 and A420, it is a popular alternative, especially during rush hour: approximately 4 million vehicles pass over the bridge each year, paying a toll of 5p per car and up to 50p per lorry.
Swinford Toll Bridge is a substantial stone-built structure, featuring 9 arches spanning the river and the meadows either side. It is a Scheduled Monument and over the last 15 years, it has been extensively refurbished by specialist structural engineers. There is also a modern traffic monitoring system and CCTV installed.
Adjacent to the bridge is a Toll Keeper’s cottage with two bedrooms, built of Cotswolds stone. The business is operated by a resident toll manager, along with part-time toll keepers. Around the bridge are fishing rights and mooring rights.
John Mitchell, handling the sale at HLL Humberts Leisure, says: ‘Swinford Toll Bridge is a fascinating piece of history and a rare tax-free investment opportunity. In the current economic climate, and particularly in the aftermath of the budget with its new 50% top rate of tax, we expect keen interest from higher rate taxpayers seeking an alternative investment proposition.’
Guide price: £1.65 million through Humberts Leisure (020 7629 6700)