National Archives 2003-04-22

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Very unusual day (from a travel perspective) owing to an overrun of engineering works at Paddington.

Main thing today is to somehow obtain copies or transcriptions of various items referred to in checklist.

MT 39/41

• Maybury’s memo




1 It is proposed, so far as available adata make it possible, to review: a. The estimated cost of constructing the motorway. b. The estimated expenditure on maintenance. c. The estimated revenue.


2 It is the intention of the Promotoers to provide a motorway 120 feet in width between fences, with a completed surface of 50 feet. 3 From the “Approximate estimate of cost” dated the 18th July, 1923 (appendix A) submitted by the Promotoers, it appears that the cost of the road 50 feet in width, including earthworks, fencing, etc for the section between Coventry and Salford is estimated at £46,500 per mile. 4 It is interesting to compare this item with the tenders recently accepted for construction of the Sidcup BP and Purfleet-Tilbury Roads. 5 These show that the cost per mile of constructing a new road with a carriageway of 30 ft but excluding the cost of surfacing amounts to £32,000. To this should be added an amount to meet the extra cost of the foundations required for a carriageway 50 ft, say £5,800, as well as the cost of surfacing, say £14,500: TOTAL £52,300. 6 The estimate of £46,500 per mile is therefore on the low side, and, whilst in the absence of full particulars of the works tobe undertaken it is difficult to express a definite opinion, it is suggested that any estimate of the cost of constructing the motorway should not be less than £52,300 per mile. 7 The estimate of £10,000 per mile for public road, railway, and canal bridges and culverts is considered quite inadequate seeing that it is the intention of the Promoters to have no level crossings of any kind. Here again in the absence of information as to the number and description of the bridges to be provided it is impossible to give a reliable figure, but as these structures are to be 65 feet in width, it would be unsafe to allow less than £20,000 per mile.


8 The Promoters’ estimate of 18th July 1923 indicates that the cost of maintaining the road is put at £180 per mile. This is a low figure, considering that heavy and high speed traffic is to be provided for but it is difficult to be very definite because the Promoters donot indicate the form of construction to be adopted. Assuming, however, that the motorway were surfaced with an asphalt, then ordinary maintenance charges would be expected to average £300 per mile per annum. In addition provision would have to be made for the renewal of the surface at the end of say seven years. The cost of an asphalt surfacing being estimated at £14,500 per mile, it follows that an annual provision of about £2,300 per mile would have to be made for maintenance and renewal. 9 In the foregoing observations on the estimates of construction and maintenance, attention has been confined to the principal items, as the particulars given are insufficient for a detailed analysis.


10 The “Summary of Facts and Figures,” dated July, 1923 (appendix B) submitted by the Promoters, forecasts in four years’ time a Revenue of £12 per mile per day on the whole length of the 226 miles proposed to be constructed between Uxbridge and Liverpool. 11 As the Promoters propose to charge a toll of ½ d. per ton per mile this estimated revenue presupposes a traffic of 5,760 tons per mile per day (or 3,016,000 tons per mile per annum); and as they estimate that the traffic on the motorway would amount to two-thirds of the total traffic then expected to be upon the roads, it follows that such total traffic is estimated by them at 8,640 tons per mile per day or 3,024,000 tons per mile per annum. 12 As a comparison with this forecast a table (appendix C) and diagram are appended giving the traffic statistics taken in August, 1922, at various points of the roads between London and Liverpool. The table shows that the traffic varies considerably en route and that 65 miles north of London on the three principal routes London-Birmingham-Manchester only 1,403 tons gross per day were carried. 13 It will also be seen by reference to the diagram that traffic equal to that on which the Promoters’ estimate is based, is only found on the sections adjoining such towns as London, Manchester, and Liverpool, the statistics taken at points distant from such centres shewing a comparatively low tonnage. 14 It is estimated by the MOT that on the basis of the statistics taken in August, 1922, the traffic for the first 90 miles out of London (London-Birmingham) represented 1,140,000 tons per mile per annum (or 3,260 tons per day) and for the second 90 miles (Birmingham-Manchester) 1,700,000 tons per mile per annum (or 4,860 tons per day) or an average of 1,420,000 tons per mile per annum (or 4,060 tons per day) over the whole distance of 180 miles. 15 The Promoters reduce their estimate of the total traffic on the route by one-third to allow for vehicles which would not use the motorway and if a similar reduction is made in respect of the average of 1,420,000 tons, a net figure of 946,500 tons is arrived at. It will therefore be seen that assuming two thirds of the total estimated traffic on the roads in August, 1922, could have used the motorway this would have amounted to 946,500 tons per mile per annum as against the Promoters’ estimate of 2,016,000 tons per mile per annum on the motorway in four years’ time. 16 A toll at ½ d per ton per mile as suggested by the Promoters would on a basis of 946,500 tons per mile produce £5.12.0 per mile per day as compared with their estimate of £12 per mile per day. 17 The foregoing shows that the Promoters’ estimate (according to the Summary of Facts and Figures”) of the traffic likely or expected to use the motorway in four years’ time is about twice the amount which it is estimated would have used the motorway last year if it had been available. 18 There is a different estimate of the volume of traffic in the “Approximate Estimate of Cost” referred to above and covering only the 110 miles to be constructed between Coventry and Salford. 19 This foreshadows a revenue of £25.16.0 per mile per day for this section, which approximately corresponds with the length, Birmingham-Manchester, referred to in paragraph 14 and for which the Ministry of Transport estimate shows a traffic of 1,700,000 tons per mile per annum. If it is again assumed that two-thirds of this traffic would have used the motorway had it been in existence, the result would have been that 1,133,000 tons per mile per annum at ½ d per ton per mile, would have used the motorway and would have produced a revenue of £6.15.0 per mile per day. 20 The estimate of 18th July therefore indicates that the Promoters forecast, for this section of the motorway, a traffic nearly four times as great as that which it is estimated would have used the motorway last year had it been available. 21 A comparison of the various estimates is appended (Appendix D). No attempt has been mde to estimate the traffic which might be expected to use the motorway four years hence. It mustbe highly speculative and any calculations made could be readily upset by lower railway rates becoming operative whenever the motorway was considered sufficiently competitive. For the same reasons no criticism has been directed towards the Promoters’ estimate of the tolls which they expect tobe able to charge. 22 In the light of the foregoing observations the Promoters’ estimate as shewn in Appendix A would apparently need tobe modified as shewn in appendix E with the following results: a. A credit balance of £93,763 on the Promoters’ estimate that the trffic likely to use the motorway in four years’ time will be double the amount which might have used the motorway last year had it been available. This would represent a return of 0.9 per cent on the capital. b. A credit balance of £567,393 on the basis of the Promoters’ estimate of 18th July, 1923, that the traffic likely to use the motorway will be nearly four times the amount which might have used the motorway last year had it been available. This would represent a return of 5 ½ per cent on the capital.

15th September, 1923.



18th July, 1923.


Coventry-Salford (110 miles). Promoters’ Approximate Estimate of Cost.


Cost of road, 50 feet wide, including earthworks, fencing etc. @ £46,500 per mile £5,115,000 Public Road, Railway and Canal Bridges and culverts @£10,000 per mile 1,100,000 Contingencies 310,750 Land and Buildings, 20 acres to the mile 660,000 Promotion Expenses 250,000 Interest during construction 700,000 TOTAL £8,135,750


Maintenance of road @ £180 per mile £19,800 Maintenance of buildings @ £7.5.0 per mile 830 Maintenance of bridges @ £50 per mile 5,500 Maintenance of embankments, fences, drains, etc. @£25 per mile 2,750 Toll Men’s wages @ £3.10.0 per week 24,000 Rates, Taxes, etc. say 49,500 Administration 27,600 Contingencies, 5% 6,000 Sinking Fund, ½% on capital cost 40,680 TOTAL £176,660


Heavy loads @1/2 d per ton mile: 3,500,000 tons per annum £802,080 Light Cars per day; 1,500 @ 6/- each 164,250 Public Service Cars per day, 100 at 15/- 27,300 Garages, petrol filling stations and other rentals 6,000 TOTAL 999,630 Deduct working costs £176,660 Balance, gross estimated profits £822,970



July 1923

The total length Uxbridge to Liverpool 226 miles Uxbridge to Birmingham 90 miles Birmingham to Manchester 89½ miles Manchester to Liverpool 26 miles Short branch roads not included in the above mileage.

Estimated gross cost £18,000,000 Cost of road construction per mile £60,000

Width of road between fences 120 ft Width of roadway 50 ft Width of Bridges to allow of future widening 65 ft

Type of Road—reinforced concrete with or without a “bituminous carpet” No level crossings but plenty of bridges. Field crossings only when absolutely necessary.

74 Junctions with important existing roads.

Populations served: Millions London and neighborhood 7½ Midlands area 5½ Lancashire area 7 TOTAL 20 Over 50 per cent of the total population of England.

Direct work to be provided for 3 years for 40,000 men Indirect work (cement, iron and steel, bricks, pipes, etc.) 60,000 men TOTAL 100,000 men The Motorway will run through districts heavily hit by unemployment such as the Potteries.

Local Support Resolutions in favor have been passed by Birmingham chamber of commerce (Manchester to be addressed by Lord Montagu), County councils, District Councils, Parish Councils at all chief points on route and by Manchester Ship Canal.

Need for new Trunk Road to North West urgent and admitted. Increase of motor traffic fourfold since 1914. In some places more than tenfold.

Still increasing—many roads carrying upwards of 5,000 tons a day of heavy traffic.

Inconvenience of frontagers and damage of building of heavy and fast traffic using present main roads. Ceilings and walls cracking and drains and culverts broken in.

Lorries with loads up to 10 tons axle weight now driven on public roads at speeds double the legal limit, ie 24 MPH.

Motor tax revenue already 15 millions sterling a year and increasing yearly.

5 per cent of this revenue--£750,000. This would pay 5 per cent on £15,000,000.

Can the machinery of the Trades Facilities Act or Unemployment Acts be used to help this work?

Recently £5,000,000 was granted to Lord Ashfield for the Underground Railways in London.

We claim that a new Trunk Road constitutes a work of great national utility and equal importance.

Private enterprise best way of building it. More efficient and preferred by local authorities en route.

If desired there could be a reversion to the State after a period to be agreed.


Revenue of tolls (8 ½ d a ton mile) for 200 miles at £12 a mile for 350 days £840,000 Wayleaves, rent, advertising, etc. 100,000 Profit on land sold as frontages 50,000 TOTAL £990,000

Expenses Upkeep, salaries, and wages £200,000 Rates and taxes 50,000 Allowances for contingencies 250,000 25,000 TOTAL £275,000 Estimated Gross Revenue £990,000 Estimated Net Revenue £715,000

Personnel of Promoters

Lord Montagu of Beaulieu The Earl of Radnor Messrs Armstrong Whitworth & Co The Hon George Stanley, DSO The Hon Humphrey Legge, DSO Messrs Scott and Middleton Sir Thomas Troubridge’s group General Kemp, RE RA Collis Esq 20 other subscribers of less than £1,000

Officers of Company Windsor House, Victoria Street, Westminster SW Mr AJC Browne—Secretary Messrs Whitley and Carkeet-James—Engineers Sir Leslie Scott, KC, MP—Standing Counsel Dyson & Co—Parliamentary Agents Messrs Beale and Co—Solicitors Brig Gen Sir Capel Holden, KCB, FRS, Consulting Electrical Engineer. Colonel Forrester Addie, CBE—Land Agent

Promotion Expenses—estimated at £40,000, of which £25,000 already subscribed or guaranteed, and £15,000 promised.

Saving in running cost to lorries on road with no gradient exceeding 1 in 40, and with no speed limit, equals 1d a mile.

Half of this saving—½ d—would be allowed to the user of motor transport.

Attitude of railway companies neutral so far. We propose to work with them to collect and distribute traffic for them. Beale & Co acting for us are also the solicitors to the LM and Scottish Railway Co. They obtained leave from this Company to act for us.

No trunk road has been built for 100 yers. Telford built the Holyhead Road and Macadam the Great North Road 1825-35.

If mechanical and other traffic is congested today what will it be five or ten years’ time?

America, Argentina, China, India, Italy, Turkey, Japan and most of the Dominions overseas are building new trunk roads.

We are only building outlets from cities but no trunk roads.

With Government help and if a certain course was adopted we could begin work this coming winter, and thus provide much employment.

Our surveys already complete over certain sections of the road.


Road Transport has only just begun.



Estimated tonnage of traffic on basis of census taken in August 1922. (Prepared by the Ministry of Transport.)

Approximate position of census points Road number Gross tonnage per day Total tonnage on all available main routes Estimated total tonnage per year (360 days) Assumed length of haul (miles) Estimated ton-miles per annum 35 miles from London A41 786 A5 1,767 A6 867 3,420 1,231,000 40 49,200,000

50 miles from London A41 470 A5 1,191 A6 1,409 3,070 1,105,000 15 16,600,000

65 miles from London A41 499 A5 185 A6 719 1,403 505,000 15 7,600,000

80 miles from London A41 1,596 A5 705 A6 1,767 4,068 1,464,000 20 29,300,000

TOTAL 90 102,700,000 Average per mile 1,140,000

65 miles from Manchester A5 628 A455 508 A51 721 A6 1,726 3,583 1,290,000 40 51,600,000

40 miles from Manchester A6 1,699 A526 3,091 A51 826 5,616 2,022,000 50 101,100,000

TOTAL 90 152,700,000 Average per mile 1,700,000

Average per mile (180 miles) 1,420,000

Key to roads

A5 London-Lichfield-Shrewsbury A6 London-Leicester-Derby-Manchester A41 London-Birmingham-Wolverhampton A455 Birmingham-Walsall-Stafford A526 Newcastle-under-Lyme-Manchester



1 Estimate of traffic which would have used the Motorway in 1922 if it had been available (based on traffic statistics taken in August 1922)

Tons per mile per annum Revenue per mile per day London-Birmingham 760,000 £4.10.0 Birmingham-Manchester 1,133,000 £6.15.0 Average for whole distance 946,500 £5.12.0

2 Promoters’ estimates of traffic which is likely to use the motorway in four years’ time a. Based on “Summary of Facts and Figures,” July, 1923: average for whole distance: 2,016,000 tons per mile per annum, £12,0.0 revenue per mile per day. b. Based on “Approximate Estimate” of 18th July, 1923: Section Salford-Coventry: 4,334,400 tons per mile per annum, £25.16.0 revenue per mile per day.

[Footnote: 2b tons per mile figure “Averaged on basis of estimated revenue as shewn on statement of 18th July, 1923.”]


Approximate Estimate of Cost in respect of Section between Coventry-Salford-110 miles.

Estimated capital cost £ (1) Cost of road, 50 ft wide including earthworks, fencing, etcf. @£52,300 per mile 5,763,000 (2) Public road, railway and canal bridges and culverts @ £20,000 per mile 2,200,000 Items in respect of which no alternatives figures are suggested in the foregoing Memorandum. (3) Contingencies 5% of (1) and (2) 397,650 (4) Land and buildings—20 acres to the mile 660,000 (5) Promotion expenses 250,000 £9,260,650 (6) Interest during construction 5% for 2 years 926,065 TOTAL £10,186,715

Estimated annual working costs including sinking fund Allowance for maintenance and for renewal of road at £2,300 per mile 253,000 Items in respect of which no alternative figures are suggested in the foregoing Memorandum. Maintenance of buildings. £7.5.0 per mile 797 Maintenance of Bridges. £50 per mile 5,500 Maintenance of embankments, fences, drains, etc. @ £25 per mile 2,750 Toll Men’s wages @ £3.10.0 per week 24,000 Rates, taxes, etc. say 49,500 Administration 27,600 Contingencies 18,157 Sinking fund ½% on capital cost 50,933 TOTAL £432,237

1st estimate of gross revenue Revenue of tolls on basis of Promoters’ estimate dated July 1923 that the traffic likely to use the motorway will be double the amount which might have used the motorway last year if it had been available 520,000 Garages, petrol filling stations and other rentals 6,000 £526,000 Balance—gross estimated profits £93,763 (Interest of 0.9% on the capital)

2nd estimate of gross revenue Revenue on basis of Promoters’ estimate dated 18th July, 1923, that the traffic is likely to be nearly four times the amount which might have used the motorway in 1922 if it had been available. £999,630 Balance—gross estimated profits £567,393 (Interest at 5½% on the capital)


• The preceding is the Maybury memorandum IN FULL.

• A file list is given immediately after the first copy of Maybury’s memorandum. It is of interest as not all of the files are being turned up in PRO searches. It is reproduced here (not direct quotes). File list dated 5/7/1929.

• RS 1026—Papers dealing with inception of Northern and Western Motorway Project. (This probably later became MT 39/38.)

• RS 1078—Motorways Bill 1923. (This is now MT 39/41, the current file.)

• RS 2085, RE 8300—Southern Motor Road Bill and correspondence. (This was apparently the London-to-Brighton road, take two.)

• RS 1410—General policy on motorways (includes Gosling’s memo to cabinet).

• RS 871—Bournemouth and Swanage motor road (could be quoted as precedent by GP Blizard—these files were being put together on 5/7/1929 to enable the Minister of the day to draft a reply to Blizard, who was involved with the group that wanted to build a Midlands-Mersey motorway).

• Another memorandum of interest.



The construction of any new toll rods, as the Motorways would be, is objectionable in principle. Such a development would be in effect a reversion to the old Turn Pike roads in the abolishing of which strenuous efforts had to be made.

All of the highways of this country are communally owned and operated and the construction of Motorways would involve very important road transport ateries in the hands of private capitalist enterprise being operated for profit ie assuming that they were economically successful. If they were not economically suffcessful they would ultimately probably become a burden on the taxpayer and certainly a blot on the landscape.

To be a success the Motorways would require to be maintained at a high standard of repair. It would appeal to a class of user who desired a road comparatively free from traffic and this would not make for commercial success. It maybe confidently anticipated that should any association of individuals obtain any sort of statutory sanction for a scheme of this sort, pressure would be rbought to bear on the Government of the day to provide financial guarantees. The sponsors of such a scheme would have to be satisfied that the road trffic between the points served by the Motorway could stand the burden of the service of tremendous capital outlay involved, ie assuming that the traffic could be attracted to the Motorway. Further, it may be assumed that the users of such a road would claim a rebate in respect of their existing vehicle taxation contributions.

It may be mentioned that during the examination of the southern Motor Road Bill last session, the ptomoters of which sought statutory powers to construct a Motorway between Kingston and Pyecombe on the London-Brighton Road, it became evident that the promoters had largely underestimated the cost of their proposals and overestimated the revenue which from the traffic available would accrue to their road.

At this juncture attention may be drawn to Mr Gosling’s report (when he was Minister of Transport) to the Cabinet Committee on Unemployment (Document CU 650) dated 14th February, 1924, in which he deals with the proposed Northern and Western Motorway project.

As regards the Motorways Bill referred to by Mr Clynes’ correspondent, the following observations are offered:

The object of the bill as introduced in 1924 is to authorize the Minister of Transport, during the continuance of the Unemployment (Relief Works) Act 1920, to make Orders uathorizing the construction of Motorways and the compulsory acquisition of land for same.

Under the bill, any application for such an Order must be referred to a Special Committee of 3 members of each of the Houses of Parliament with a Chairman taken from either House who, if they approve the proposal, drafts an order which the Minister is authorized to make and the Order then has the force of an Act of Pariament, without having been submitted to the two Houses as a whole. There is no precedent for such a procedure and the closest analogy is provided by the Private Legislation Procedure (Scotland) Act 1899. Under this Act Commissioners are appointed from an extra Parliamentary Panel by the Lord Chairman and the Chairman of Ways and Means. These Commissioners report to the Secretary of State for Scotland on an application for a Provisional Order. The Secretary of State makes the order with any modifications he may think necessary, but such an Order requires confirmation by Parliament. This Bill purports to apply to Scotland and would therefore apparently supersede in this respect the aforesaid Scottish Act of 1899.

Under the Bill the position of the Minister is apparently that of a mere automation. The Committee would settle the terms of an Order and the Minister would be bound to make it seemingly without any right to express his own views; thus the order would become law under his Seal, and thus in a way his responsibility, without his having had any say in the matter.

In this connection it seems highly undersirable that powers to authorize the making of Motorways—operated for private profit—should be given to any Minister of the Crown. He would find himself in conflict with both the collective and individual interests of the community and the procedure by way of Private Bill, as is followed in the analogous case of a new railway, is clearly to be preferred in the case of Motorways.

5 July, 1929 FB. [unsigned—perhaps the writer’s initials?]


Mr Piggott

I attach a short note for the Minister about the Motorways Bill and the proposed motor-road between the Midlands and the Mersey. The project does not appear at all likely to materialize and I suggest that the Minister might take a definitely discouraging line in his reply to Mr Blizard. Something on the following lines might suffice:

“I refer to your letter of the 24th June to Mr Clynes relative to a proposal to reintroduce the Motorways Bill. The principal object of the Bill is, I understand, to facilitate the construction of the motor-road referred to in your letter between the Midlands and the Mersey, and my attitude towards it will therefore necessarily be dependent on my views as to the practicability and the desirability of this particular scheme. As you are of course aware, the proposal was carefully considered by the Trade Facilities Act Advisory Committee in 1923 and by successive Governments in 1923 and 1924. The result was not encouraging to the promoters of the scheme and frankly, unless there has been a material alteration of circumstances in its favor, I do not think that any useful purpose would be served by bringing it forward again.”

(sgd) CA Birtchnell

16 July, 1929 CAB/ME



The Motorways Bill was first introduced in the House of Commons in 1923 by Mr Clynes. It ws in general terms, but was intended to facilitate the Statutory authorization of a motor-road of some 180 miles in length between Coventry and Salford, a project which was specifically mentioned in a Schedule to the Bill. One of the most ardent supporters of the scheme was the late Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, who in 1923 urged the Conservative Government to lend it their support mainly with a view to the relief of unemployment. The cost of the cheme was estimated by the promoters to be in the neighborhood of £6,000,000, and the idea was that the Government should finance it to the extent of two-thirds of the cost. They were advised by the Ministryof Transport to apply to the Trade Facilities Act Advisory Committee.

The Scheme was examined in 1923 by an interdepartmental committee under the chairmanship of Sir Henry Maybury. This Committee consisted of representatives of the Ministry of Transport, the Board of Trade, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Labour and the Trade Facilities Act Advisory Committee, and a copy of their report dated 1st October, 1923, to the abinet Committee on Unemployment is attached. The Inter-departmental Committee came to the conclusion that in order to earn 5½% on the estimated capital expenditure as adjusted on figures supplied by Sir Henry maybury it would have to be assumed that mechanically-propelled traffic other than omnibuses using the principal main roads between Birmingham and Manchester at the time of the 1922 Census were multiplied nearly four times and that the whole of it would use the motorway.

The result of the reference to the Trade Facilities Act Advisory Committee was no more favourable. In January, 1924, they informed Lord Montagu that in view of the novelty of the project and the necessary absence of any reliable data as to revenue, it would be impossible for them to consider the question of a guarantee of more than 50% of the cost, and that it appeared to them to be most unlikely that under the then existing financial conditions the balance of some £3,500,000 could be obtained from the public. The Cabinet Unemployment Committee thereupon agreed:

“That no useful purpose would be served by further consideration on the part of His Majesty’s Government of the proposal for constructing the Northern and Western Motorway.”

The Bill in a slightly modified form was reintroduced in 1924 by Sir Leslie Scott, but in the absence of any new financial proposition that the promoters could make which would render it likely that the Trade Facilities Act Advisory Committee would reconsider their decision and of any evidence that any substantial body of motor users really pressed for the construction of such a road, the Minister of Transport, Mr Gosling, did not feel that he could consider the question of reopening the matter.

Road traffic has of course considerablyincreased in volume since 1924, but it appears hardly more likely now than it was then that the financial results of the scheme would justify assistance from public funds. In these circumstances, it does not seem necessary at present to consider other questions of policy, such as those involved by the creation of new toll roads, to which the introduction of the Bill would give rise.

[This doc has a number of inaccuracies!]





Report of the Interdepartmental committee appointed to consider the proposed London-Birmingham-Manchester-Liverpool Motorway.

In accordance with the instructions contained in Minute 2 of the 65th conclusions of the Unemployment Committee of the Cabinet, an Inter-departmental committee under the Chairmanship of Sir Henry Maybury met at the Ministry of Transport. The following departments were represented:

Ministry of Transport BOT MOH MO Labour Trade Facilities Act Advisory Committee (the representative of the Trade Facilities Act Advisory Committee also represented the Treasury)

A memorandum (copy attached) was circulated by Sir Henry Maybury, which the Committee considered and agreed. They desire particularly to call attention to the fact that in this memorandum on any doubtful point the view most favourable to the Promoters has been taken, the costs of construction are estimated optimistically, and the Promoters’ own estimates of the proportion of the total traffic which they would attract to the motorway, as also of the tolls they will be able to charge, have been accepted.

From the memorandum it appears that if two-thirds of the traffic using the principal main roads between Birmingham and Manchester at the time of the last census (August 1922) are attracted to the new motorway, the resulting traffic will only be about 25% of that required to earn an estimated profit of £567,000, which equals 5 ½ % interest on capital.

It must be noted that omnibuses and traffic not mechanically propelled form approximately one-third of the present traffic, so that the Promoters’ estimate that two-thirds will use the motorway means that all mechanically propelled vehicles other than omnibuses, whatever distance they are travelling, will use the toll road.

In other words, in order to earn 5 ½ % on the estimated capital expenditure as adjusted on Sir Henry Maybury’s figures, it must be assumed that mechanically-propelled traffic, other than omnibuses, on these roads will be multiplied nearly four times and that the whole will use the motorway.

The Committee is unable to accept the view that either of these propositions is sufficiently probable to form a basis of sound commercial investment.

The Committee suggest that in view of these figures it is unnecessary at this stage to consider the questions of principle involved by the creation of a toll road or the desirability of facilitating the measure by special legislation. It may be noted, however, that even if legislation were passed in the Autumn session to enable the motorway to be constructed under the Light Railway Acts by Order of the Minister of Transport, it would be impossible to get such an Order throughin less than three months after the passing of the Act, even assuming that the Promoters were immediately able to deposit full plans and specifications and to give the necessary notices, so that in any case no work could be begun this Winter.

The Committee suggest that the Unemployment Committee of the Cahbinet should authorize a letter to the Promoters enclosing the Ministry of Transport’s memorandum and stating that the Committee are unable usefully to consider the other difficulties involved in the proposals of the Promoters until the Promoters are able to show a more favourable commercial prospect for the undertaking. They will therefore be glad to receive the observations of the Promoters on the memorandum at an early date.

1st October 1923.


Midland Motorways, 40 Rusholme Road, Putney

24th June, 1929

Dear Mr Clynes,

You may remember that during the last Labour government a deputation waited upon you urging that facilities should be granted for passing a Motorways Bill introduced by Sir Leslie Scott into the House of Commons. This Bill ws a duplicate of the one introduced in the preceding Parliament by you and on each occasion the Bill was given a first reading, but changes in the Government made it impossible to proceed with the Bills.

It is proposed that the Bill should be again introduced in the House and I should be much obliged if you could find time to have a talk to Herbert Morrison about the matter.

The construction of a special Motor Road is obviously needed between the Midlands and the Mersey and then formerly proposed the Scheme was welcomed by all the local authorities along the line of route. It would give employment to a very large number of men and though some railway opposition may be anticipated, it would be a success if only a fiar proportion of the commercial traffic now actually going by road from the Midlands to the Mersey were to use it.

Of course I know the Government cannot in any way sponsor such a Bill, but it would mean a great deal if we were assured of your benevolent neutrality.

Yours truly,

(sgd) GP Blizard

• File also contains the position paper and special clauses prepared by the Manchester town planning people. These have to be copied but not sure they need to be retyped right now. Closing up the file and moving on to other stuff for time being.

• Closed up and moved on. Ordered MT 39/794, to see what it looked like (it was described as “Plans part 1” in PRO catalogue). It wasn’t actually plans in the contract plans sense—more a set of very long, and very cumbersome to unfold, plan and profile drawings for a bridge near Swansea which was being reconstructed as part of a trunk road by Swansea CBC on behalf of MOT.

MT 39/41, again



1 Where the motorway is indicated as passing over or under an existing first-class road as classified by the MOT, a clear road width of 100 feet shall be provided. 2 Where the motorway is indicated as passing over or under an existing second-class road as classified by the MOT, a clear road width of 75 feet shall be provided. 3 Where the motorway is indicated as passing over or under any other existing roads being highways not at present classified by the MOT, such roads shall be properly bridged of a width adequate to at least deal with existing traffic on such roads, and, further, the Company shall be responsible for nay necessary future widenings of such road bridges (at the cost of the Company) to any reasonable width required by the local authority or other body liable for the maintenance and improvement of such roads. Any disagreement with the Motorway Company as to reasonable road width required by such local authority or other body to be decided by the MOT, whose decision shall be final and binding. 4 All road approaches to bridges over or under the motorway shall as herinafter provided be constructed by the Company, and such approaches shall not be of a gradient exceeding 1 foot in 40 feet, and where the motorway passes over any road being a highway a clear headway of 19 feet at least measured from the surface of the highway shall be provided and maintained. 5 During the construction of the proposed motorway, or thereafter, the Compnay at its own cost shall provide to the requirements and satisfaction of the local authority and/or the Joint Committee proper road bridges including all necessary approaches and other incidental works thereto for all new roads proposed by a local authority and/or the Joint Committee as ultimately to cross the motorway, and, further, the Company at its own cost shall build any additional road bridges required from time to time by a local authority in connection with the development of the district. Any disagreement between a local authority and the Compnay as to any future bridge and incidental requirement of a local authority to be decided by the MOT, whose decision shall be final and binding. 6 The company shall at its own cost maintain all road bridges and all approaches to such bridges which may at any time be erected over or under the motorway, but in the case of roads being highways repairable by the inhabitants at large at the time of the construction of the motorway the HA concerned may, after the construction by the Company to the satisfaction of the HA of any suchbridges, approaches, or other incidental works, continue to maintain the road surface of such highways subject to the execution of an agreement as to the terms and conditions under which such highways shall be maintained by the HA. 7 The Company shall not interfere with any public rights of way or any easements or other services belonging to, enjoyed or erequired by a LA or other statutory undertakers and lying in, upon, across, under or over the site of the motorway without first obtaining the consent of any such LA or other statutory undertakers, who may impose conditions as to the interference with any such public rights of way or any easements or other services, and, further, the Company shall at all times grant facilities to a local authority or any other statutory undertakers to carry any public way or easements or other services in upon, across, under or over the proposed motorway without imposing any monetary consideration therefore. In the construction of the Motorway the Company shall, to the satisfaction of the LA concerned, make or construct, and thereafter properly maintain in, upon, across, under or over any lands forming the site of the Motorway or adjacent thereto such temporary or permanent inclined planes, tunnels, embankments, aqueducts, bridges, roads, ways, passages, conduits, drains, piers, arches, cuttings, and fences as may be required by such LA. 8 Notwithstanding anything contained in the Railway Clauses Acts or any other Acts which may be incorporated therewidth and which Acts may be incorporated in any Order made by the Minister under this Act all land acquired or to be acquired, leased, or rented by the Company, whether or not in actual use or to be actually used as part of the motorway, shall be subject to all of the provisions of the Town Planning Acts or any supplementary or amending Acts, and the Company shall be required to give an undertaking not to endeavor to seek the exclusion of any lands from the operation of such Acts or any supplementary or amending Acts. 9 As to rating—the motorway shall be rated. 10 The area of the Joint Committee through which the motorway is proposed tobe constructed shall be developed in accordance with the regional development plan when prepared, or in accordance with any approved town planning schemes, as the case may be, and the company shall be required to give an undertaking not to oppose any of the proposals of the Joint Committee or a LA in regard to the regional development plan or local town planning schemes affecting the area of the Joint Committee.


The Northern and Western Motorway Windsor House Victoria Street Westminster, SW1

18th February, 1924

Dear Sir, [letter apparently addressed to a RC Morrison at MOT—name not given in letter]

I have to thank you for your letter acknowledging receipt of Brochure “The Northern & Western Motorway, its aims and objects.” I now send you estimates showing in detail the cost that will be incurred for sections of the road between Coventry and Manchester. You will be able to gather some idea of the proportion of the total expenditure which will necessarily be incurred in the form of wages. Indeed it is estimated that no less than 2/3 of the total cost will be spent in this direction.

May I call your attention to the following figures which are indicative of the enormous growth in heavy motor traffic on the roads in recent years. They were given by the Mayor of Newcastle-under-Lyme when a deputation from LAs, whose area will be traversed by the proposed Motorway, recently waited on the Minister of Transport to urge that the work should be put in hand immediately:

“Official census of motor traffic showing the number of motor vehicles passing a given point over six days of the week (Staffordshire)

Motor vans

1913 2 2 1 4 6 3 Daily average 3 1922 85 93 83 83 106 70 Daily average 86

Motor lorries

1913 4 4 1 8 4 1 Daily average 3.6 1922 142 219 219 217 222 229 Daily average 208”

Perhaps when you have perused the Brochure and Estimates, you will give me an opportunity of discussing the matter with you in the Lobby. I may add tht it is proposed sometime within the next few weeks to have a large scale model in relief placed in one of the Committee rooms, when no doubt you will take the opportunity of inspecting it.

Yours truly,

(sgd) Geo. P. Blizard

PS No doubt you will be glad to hav the enclosed transcript of my Notes of the Deputation which we had with Mr Gosling last week.




Memorandum prepared for the information of the deputation to the Minister of Transport (Mr H Gosling) on Wednesday, July 2nd, 1924, at 12 o’clock noon.

The object of the interview with the Minister of Transport on the question of motorways is to place on record with the government the views of the Joint Committee on the proposal.

It should be noted in the first place that the Joint Committee neither approves nor disapproves of the proposal to construct a motorway but the Committee is keenly interested on behalf of the sociated local authorities in securing what is considered necessary protection to local authorities in the vent of a motorway being constructed.

Summarised the following views on the Motorways Bill are submitted for the consideration of the Minister:

1 The Bill should not be considered by parliament as a Public Bill as this procedure does not offer due facilities for affected parties endeavouring to btain protective clauses. The form of wording in the text of the Bill as to the employment of unemployed persons is considered to simply be a move on the part of the promoters to enlist sympathy with the proposal and to secure a grant in aid of the works from the Government. 2 The appointment of a Committee of both House of Parliament to consider any application to the Minister of Health or Transport for an Order to construct a motorway does not sufficiently meet the case as to enable opposition to be properly lodged by interested parties, and further the fact of the Bill having been assented to might be prejudicially construed as establishing a prima facie case for the construction of a motorway. 3 A bill authorizing an undertaking by a private body of persons trading for profit should be promoted as a private bill, and under no circumstances should power be granted to a Department of the State to authorize the compulsory acquisition of land for private purpose. Any such power of making an Order shouldbe limited strictly to the acquisition of land for public purposes or needs. 4 The Bill as drafted is too brief and is entirely inadequate as authorizing a proposal which might possibly have very far reaching effects so far as road transport and user is concerned. 5 Any such Bill, if proceeded with, should contain proper protective clauses to local authorities. The protection suggested by the Joint Committee, on behalf of the 92 associated authorities is contained in the memorandum attached hereto. Parliament as safeguarding the general interests of the community should insist on the Bill being fully drawn and in any consideration by a Committee of both House of Parliament of any application for an order under the Bill the financial ability of the Promoters to carry through to completion the construction of a motorway shouldbe carefully considered. 6 The construction of a motorway is in effect equivalent to the construction of a railway and the advent of regional planning and development schemes throughout the country has brought into prominence the importance of obtaining proper protetion against anyproposals which make possible the construction of what in railway practice has proved to be serious barriers across the country and preventative of full scope for town and country development except, in many cases, at excessive cost to taxpayers and or ratepayers in the paying of compensation for facilities to cross such barriers. 7 Any bill authorizing a motorway or other similar proposal should at least provide for a local authority or properly established group of local authorities acting as a Joint Committee or otherwise being able to proceed with and carry out any planning or development schemes and consequential operations without having to incur additional expenditure due to the construction of a motorway or other similar proposal. 8 The reintroduction of toll roads (such as the proposed motorway) into the country is considered to be a retrograde step and requires careful consideration before nay sanction is given to the construction thereof. [Para] Further it is considered that by the establishment of regional planning and development Committes a system of regional or arterial roads will be provided for ultimately and which regional or arterial roads, being of free use to all classes of traffic and the communityin general, will more properly and efficiently serve the needs of the country than a few motorways. 9 If the proposal is tobe proceeded with the motorway shouldbe constructed as a public highway at the expense of the Government. It is not considered local authorities should be asked to contribute towards the cost of construction as a percentage of maintenance cost would no doubt fall upon such local authorities and the initial cost of construction would to a degree be paid by landowners obtaining a frontage to the road or benefiting thereby.

General remarks

It is considered that the construction of a motorway shouldbe examined from the point of view of a private bodyof persons being authorized to construct what in effect would be a barrier across the country and which brrier might in many instances seriously injure or interfere with the development of the areas adjacent to the route of the motorway.

A motorway can be placed in the same category as a railway, the only difference being that a surface for road vehicles would be provided instead of a railway track for the use of flanged wheel vehicles.

It is considered that a project of the kind contemplated should not be permitted tobe undertaken by a private body of persons trading for profit and that if such a road is necessary it should be constructed by the Government and that the road when constructed should be free for full use in the same manner as existing highways are free.

The reintroduction of the toll road principle in the country is condemned and any improvement in the facility of movement by road should be a free benefit for the community in general.

If the proposal is tobe proceeded with it is considered that the Bill in its present form is entirely unsuitable on three main grounds.

1 The proposal should be introduced through PB procedure. 2 The entire absence of any protection to local authorities affected by the construction of a motorway, and 3 The delegation of power to the Minister of Transport or Health of making Orders authorizing compulsory acquisition of land for private purposes.

On the latter ground it is considered that ny Order issued by the Minister of Transport or Health for the compulsory acquisition of land should be issued only in the interests of the communityin general and not private individuals such as would be the case in the vent of the motorway Bill being approved by Parliament.

The recommendations of the Joint Committee attached hereto have been drafted purely with the object of proteting the interests of the various local authorities and through such bodies, the inhabitants at large, and such recommendations are considered essential to such protection.

The view taken in the drafting of the recommendations has been that, at present, the local authorities are, so to speak, in possession and can exercise through various Acts of Parliament, the right to prescribe the sites and levels of new roads, the widenings of existing roads, the stopping up and diversion of roads, the general development of their respective areas both with regard to the erection of houses, or industrial or commercial premises etc, and their position being an established one of requiring or controlling anyof the mtters enumerated above, it is considered that the loal authorities are justified in asking for the continuance in any motorways Bill of the full liberty to exercise those powes and of stipulating the terms and conditions under which constructional work maybe carried out which might in the future involve a local authority having to pay compensation to enable them to require or carry out those things which they can now carry out or control ithout the payment of compensation such as would be due to the Motorway Company in the vent of the proposal being sanctioned by Parliament and without the protection sought.

Whilst the bill at present before Parliament provides for any application for an order to the Minister of Transport or Health being subject to the consideration of a joint committee of both houses of Parliament, the associated authorities of the Joint Committee consider that the protection sought by them should be provided for in the Bill in its first passage through Parliament and that the interests of local authorities are of too vital importance to be allowed to remain for settlement by ajoint Committee of the Houses of Parliament after the Bill has received the Royal Assent, as it is considered that the passing of the Bill in its present form would be constructed as indicating the approval of Parliament of the principle of the construction of motorways by private individuals trding for profit and the consideration of any Committee of Parliament would therefore be limited in its scope.

It is suggested for the consideration of the Minister of Transport that the Government should not support the Bill in its present form and that the measure if proceeded with should be dealt with through the PB procedure of Parliament as the proposal is essentially one which should form the subject of a PB. The use made in the Bill of the unfortunate state of the unemployed and of the Unemployment Relief Works Act is considered to be purely a cloak by which to assist the passage of the Bill through Parliament.

If the Joint Committee could receive some assurance that the Bill would be rejected and if reintroduced dealt with as a PB they would be quite satisfied to place their objections before the Committee of either House to which the Bill might be referred, but if the Government should decide that the Bill should remain as a Public Bill it is earnestly requrested that the Government should insist on protective clauses being inserted in the Bill on the lines of the recommendations of the Joint Committee.

The Joint Town Planning Advisory Committee which is represntative of 92 local authorities within and adjacent to a radius of 15 miles from the City of Manchester is actively engaged in the planning of new arterial roads and the improvement of existing roads in the area of the Committee and it is considered it would be far better to concentrate on the development and reconstruction of the main road proposals of the Regional Committee rather than approve of a proposal of the nature contained in the Bill now before Parliament.

As an example of the work of the Committee it might be stated that the Committee has tentatively agreed on a series ofnew road adjacent to the line of the proposed motorway where passing through the area of the Committee, and it is suggested that the Joint Committee is more capable of planning roads of sufficient width and on suitable lines to meet the traffic requirements of the district than the promoters of the motorway.


• What follows are recommended protective clauses (datelined Town Hall, Manchester, 26/6/1924). These are much as in the previous document, with scattered quotes covering substantive changes.


2(d) [pertaining to bridges] All abutments to bridges carrying any motorway over an existing or proposed rod shall where suchbridges exceed 50 feet in breadth be fced on the frontage to such road with white glazed brick or other material to be specified by the Highway or other Authority concerned and the roadway shall be lighted to the satisfaction of such Highway or other Authority concerned, in each case at the expense of the Promoters of the motorway.


• Added provision for highway authorities to recover the costs of extraordinary traffic on their networks, due to vehicles entering and exiting the motorway, subject to arbitration by MinT. • Added provision for HAs to recover the cost of drainage improvements from the promoters.