THE RE-OPENING of a historic toll bridge near York maybe delayed a further several weeks.

The Aldwark Toll Bridge between Easingwold and Boroughbridge has been closed since April and is due back open by the end of October after “essential repairs.”

However, the Press was told, anonymously, that the work is running months late, something rejected by bridge owner Alex Bell.

Mr Bell told the Press: “We are progressing with the works, we are progressing really well. There is the potential of a delay, but this is not yet confirmed.”


He says the second half of the repairs will be quicker than the first half because scaffolding won’t be needed.

Mr Bell said contractors have been “working hard against the elements of the weather.”

At present, a three-week delay could be in prospect, but he added: “Hopefully we can bring it back closer to the scheduled completion.”

John Topliss, Chair of Aldwark Area Parish Council told the Press: “The Parish Council understands that whilst the bridge works have progressed, there will be a delay of a month or so to the reopening of the bridge. Although this is disappointing and inconvenient to many local residents, a project like this inevitably has its challenges."

Aldwark Toll Bridge was originally built in the 18th Century and is one of the few surviving privately-owned toll bridges in England and had suffered a “lack of investment” over the years.


After Mr Bell, a Derbyshire businessman, brought the bridge in 2020, he commissioned a structural survey, which found repairs were needed.

“The works include repairing the archways, painting the bridge and repairing or even replacing the entirety of the deck. The works are essential to prevent further decay which would result in the bridge having to close for a lengthy period,” the bridge company explained on its website.

No costing was given for the repairs, but the company said: “The cost of what we have outlined runs into hundreds of thousands of pounds.”

Last year, the bridge company lost a bid to double the 40p toll to 80p for cars but this was rejected by traffic commissioners. Villagers had said this could cost some families up to £600 a year to take their children to school in preference to a 25-mile detour.

Either way, North Yorkshire Council looks to have ruled out any suggestion of buying the bridge.

Easingwold councillor Nigel Knapton says the new council has not discussed such a move. With it facing “a significant budget deficit” a buy-out at this time “would not be an option,” he told the Press.

North Yorkshire Council’s assistant director of highways and transport, Barrie Mason, said such a purchase would need a feasibility study. The council having much work on its existing structures meant “no timescale” for this, he added.