How will scrapping the Severn Bridge toll charges affect the property market in Wales?

Difference in prices between Bristol and east Newport is stark

11 August 2017

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The highest toll charges in the UK, currently levied on both of the Severn crossings into Wales, are to be abolished, according to an announcement made by the UK Government in July. The news that both charges are to be completely scrapped by the end of 2018 is considered to be of great consequence and has been almost universally welcomed, with most commentators expecting it to have a positive effect on businesses and homeowners in south-east Wales. Currently the costs stand at almost £7 for cars, £13.40 for vans and £20 for HGVs to cross into Wales. The charges have been dubbed a tax on people and businesses, particularly those running fleets of vehicles, costing the sector millions of pounds and working as a disincentive for inward investment.

Ben Bolton, Director of Business Space at Cooke & Arkwright says the move is long overdue. “It removes at least one barrier to the success of the South Wales economy. The difference in prices between Bristol and east Newport is stark, whilst in distance and time it is relatively small. It can be anticipated that a degree of adjustment will take place with renewed interest in the area between Newport and the bridges. Sites such as Newhouse Farm and Gwent Europark will benefit, as should Queensway Meadows and Leeway Industrial Estate for example.”

Director Jeremy Symons commented, “The next step will involve a much bigger decision, relating to the Brynglas tunnels and the M4 Relief Road. As and when this obstacle is overcome, South Wales will then be on an equal footing with the South West of England, which can be expected to be of significant benefit to all concerned. Effectively, it could become a ‘South West and Wales Powerhouse’.

Commenting on the residential sector, Managing Director, Andrew Gardner said, “I’m aware that house agents in Monmouthshire anticipate increased interest from Bristol-based prospective purchasers because of the savings in commuting and cheaper house prices. We knew that there was already demand in the Newport area from first-time buyers from Bristol prior to this announcement, so we expect that this will further stimulate demand.”

Cooke & Arkwright advised ABP over the life cycle of its major waterfront mixed use development schemes in Cardiff and Barry. The quality and commitment of their people working alongside us were a key factor in the successful delivery of those schemes.

Byron Lewis, Estate Surveyor, Associated British Ports