One of England’s few remaining privately owned bridges will be auctioned next month, offering canny investors the chance to pocket £190,000 a year - tax-free.
Around four million vehicles cross the Swinford Bridge, in Oxfordshire, every year, with cars paying five pence for the privilege and lorries shelling out 50p.
Residents say private ownership of the structure amounts to “highway robbery”, and have urged the council to buy the bridge and scrap all toll fees.
The property comes with a cottage and surrounding land. Surveyors put its estimated value at £1.65 million, describing the bridge as a “budget-beating investment”.
It has been free of income tax since the 18th century, when Parliament granted ownership of the bridge and its tolls to the Earl of Abingdon and “to his heirs and assignees for ever”.