MT 106/296

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London transportation study: policy; safeguarding the `motorway box'; investigation of main routes by consultants

Date range1964-1965
LocationNational Archives (see all files stored here)
CatalogueSee entry
File baseSeries MT, subseries MT 106


This is one of those files that you have to get out because it mentions the London Motorway Box in the file title, but you don't hold out much hope for it, and when it arrives there are no surprises. Planning a motorway network as big as the Ringways, and even a single component as big as the LMB, generates a lot of tedious administration alongside the exciting plans and details we like to uncover. This is a file mostly composed of that back-end stuff that doesn't really interest us, written from the Ministry of Transport's point of view and mostly concerned (as the title suggests) with the process of safeguarding the route against development.

Contents of note

  • Evidence that in May 1965 the MoT agreed to expenditure on the safeguarding operation, including potentially buying properties in advance of construction starting where planning blight was particularly severe.
  • A good Sunday Times article from 1965 on London's future transport system and plans.
  • A Guardian article on a similar subject, which mentions that the M4 Chiswick-Langley section opened "yesterday" - that would make the opening date March 24th 1965.
  • Correspondence with London Underground, who considered that safeguarding processes must consider future plans for Tube expansion. Their fear was that land they had already earmarked (without the benefit of being able to legally safeguard it) for depots, stations and the like would be taken away from them if road planners didn't compare notes with them. There is a list of their proposals for Tube expansion circa 1964.
  • A substantial report on the rationale of safeguarding routes when they had not been finalised or publicised yet. It mentions, as a case study, Torquay House, a building plonked right on the line of a proposed Western Avenue Extension that caused plans to be redrawn (it's still there, next to the Westway).

People with camera copies

Chris Marshall has a partial copy.