A TOLL on Cookham bridge abolished 60 years ago should be reintroduced to reduce traffic and heavy lorries, the village's parish council chairman says.

Drivers who live in Bourne End and Cookham would be exempt from the fee in a proposal put forward by Cookham Parish Council chairman Cllr Derek Fry.

But he said traffic becomes so heavy at peak times the move is necessary.

Cash raised from the toll would go towards repairing and maintaining the bridge.

The remainder would be split between Cookham and Bourne End parish councils for community projects.

He said the bridge toll was top of his “wish list”.

“There are many reasons for it. We do have in Cookham a very serious traffic problem at certain times, the morning rush and in the evening.

"A toll may influence people to find an alternative route.”

Cllr Fry said the route through Cookham is used as a short cut for the 'rat run' for commuters going from Maidenhead to Marlow.

He is concerned that lorries are weakening the bridge, a listed building which was built in 1867.

There is a seven-and-a-half tonne weight limit, but lorries frequently flout this, he said.

The bridge is managed by the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.

Parish councils in the Royal Borough may get more powers as part of David Cameron's 'Big Society' pilot.

Cllr Fry said larger budgets would be needed to deal with extra responsibilities - and the toll could be one way to aid this.

He said villagers would be consulted and admitted “there will be many people who will think it's a non-starter”.

Cllr Fry raised the idea with Royal Borough leader Cllr David Burbage this week.

It has not been raised with Cookham Parish Council yet.

Although the toll building is on the Bourne End side, Buckinghamshire County Council said it had no record of every taking any tolls and the bridge had always been looked after on the Berkshire side.