National Archives 2003-04-15

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Arrived at Kew as usual.

MT 116/3

This is the second working party papers file. A quick catalogue attempted; not detailed review of each paper. Code: TSCDR = Traffic Signs Committee/Draft Report (plays a prominent role in titles of most of the papers, as they are drafts for the eventual report.

49 TSCDR Pedestrian crossings—recommended no change to signing or marking except possibly making the flashing of the Belisha beacon more conspicuous by day. Anonymous commentor didn’t like the idea. 50 TSCDR Traffic light signals—much as in published report. Recommends phasing-out of fixed-time signals and greater use of OH-mounted signals in congested urban and high-speed locations, with consultation on design if urban. 51 TSCDR Estimated cost of converting existing traffic signs to the types proposed to be recommended by the TSRC—estimates based on provisional sign population estimates for various sign types. Bottom line: changeover will cost £19.6m, and thus about £2.3m additional per year for five years until done (depending on how cost spread), but the ultimate savings will be about £10m over continuing with present system because newer signs will last longer (about 15 years average) and so present annual running costs will be cut to 1/3. Interesting fact: conversion of “Keep Left” bollards to account for 2/3 of the cost of converting the mandatory signs. (NB—“DR” part crossed out in file copy. Not clear this info was included in the eventual report, at least to this level of detail. About 10 pp, P.) 52 TSCDR Administration of traffic signs. 53 TSCDR Individual warning signs—contains much of the eventual warning signs chapter, in early draft. 54 TSCDR Traffic Light Signals—another draft of WP no 50. 55 TSCDR urban signs to railway stations, police stations, stadia, cathedrals etc. and hospitals—not altogether clear whether this recommends that design of such signs should be left in local supervision, but clear that the decision as to whether to place such signs should be local. 56 TSCDR the administration of traffic signs—timing of changeover to recommended signs. Lobbies for a five-year changeover period. 57 TSCDR individual mandatory signs—an early draft. One of the first paragraphs lobbies for the Worboys-redesigned protocol sign, rather than the octagon-shaped American stop sign (adopted as the standard in 1975). Apparently Germany also using “HALT” sign which looked like give way sign (red border etc) but had blue background with word “HALT” in white on it, and Britain was using the “HALT” sign with distinctive red part and T-shaped plate so that it would be conspicuous even if obscured by snow. 58 TSCDR individual prohibitory signs—an early draft. Some debate over whether the “Do not enter” hamburger should keep its word message. On balance, Worboys committee said no, conformity with protocol likely to be greater, plus adequate publicity should take care of it. (Worboys put too much faith in publicity in general.) 59 TSCDR temporary signs—develops the principles of roadworks signing. Basically, same types of signs should be used on low and high-speed roads (designed to nudge out the Anderson c’ttee’s special warning signs for motorways). Also suggests that drivers should be permitted to use hollow red warning triangles, but MOT wanted checked with ME Branch and RS Division. 60 TSCDR temporary signs [II]—this part deals with signs erected by motoring assns. 61 TSCDR miscellaneous signs—recommends traffic cones with retroreflectorized center bands, hollow to permit stacking. They are called “trafficones” (interesting way of compounding the 2 words). 62 TSCDR publicity—how to get the motoring public to recognize the new signs. Cooperation of press, BBC, ITV recommended to be secured. 63 TSCDR sign clutter—measures to control it. Worboys committee’s real contribution to this is reducing the frequency of waiting restriction signing. Other than this, sign clutter to be eliminated by general good design, which most LAs don’t have time for. 64 TSCDR individual signs—a grab-bag. Specific signs discussed include portable school crossing patrol signs (“lollipop sign”), clearway signing both rural and urban on the same general lines as red-cross “no stopping” signing used in continental Europe rather than Kinneir’s special bespoke clearway signs, but with supplementary plate in rural areas indicating length of road subject to the clearway restriction. 65 TSCDR illumination. Committee doesn’t trust quality of lighting provided by local authorities, and insists that all mandatory/prohibitory/direction signing (other than waiting restriction signing) be illuminated in street-lit areas, and either illuminated or retroreflectorized in areas not street-lit. 66 TSCDR revisions to section on carriageway markings. C’ttee considers not making “Give way” marking, when used without vertical “Give way” sign, a sign having compulsory meaning. It would be “guidance”; IOW, not compulsory, but if drivers ignored it, they could be subject to DWD. 67 TSCDR revised paragraphs for section on individual warning signs. This paper has to do mainly with indicating major/minor junctions on the minor road—how to address the situations where no direction signing is provided and it’s not immediately obvious the major road is important. 68 TSCDR revised section on directional signs—much as in the report. Some additional interesting information, however. Worboys impressed with Anderson sign design ethic because negative contrast meant most of the sign didn’t require retroreflectorization, which meant that the added cost of providing blank painted background was not all that much, and it did enhance target value. Also, the dispute over sign colors. Relevant paragraph quoted:


For the reasons given in Para III as regards motorway signs we felt that a dark background should be used for through-route signs and that blue, as used on motorway signs, should obviously be avoided. We observed the experimental use of black in Oxfordshire but throught that this was too funereal for general use and also that it lacked target value when used for small signs. Our attention turned to green which has already been in use since 1960 on the Stamford By-Pass. We found considerable difficulty, however, in agreeing on the appropriate shade of green. Our problem was to find a shade which was light enough to be clearly recognizable as green in varying conditions of light and one which would be adequately conspicuous in urban and rural areas whilst not being offensive on amenity grounds whatever the nature of the background against which it would be seen. After a great deal of thought and experimentation, we have finally chosen the color 6-074 of British Standard 2660, which is the one already used at Stamford with no adverse comment.

Four of our number however (Messrs. Jack Howe, JM Richards, Peter Shepheard and L Hugh Wilson) had reservations about the use of green, on amenity grounds and especially in relation to the countryside. The only green they were prepared to accept was British Standard color 6-068, a darker and more muted shade than that favored by the majority and one of the several shades with which the committee conducted full-scale experiments. These four members were convinced that the green chosen by the majority would have a damaging effect on many types of landscape and on architecturally noteworthy town and village streets, and they saw no practical disadvantages in the darker green that would need to be set against their preference for it on amenity grounds. In their opinion it had, when surrounded by the whit eborder proposed, adequate conspicuity both in urban and rural settings, was a more pleasing color in itself and would be more readily distinguishable from the greens commonly used on shop-fronts, advertisements, vehicles and the like. By providing a greater contrast in tone it also, they thought, made the message carried by the sign easier to read.


This draft also included a paragraph preaching against use of white panels on green-background signs—ie rejecting an important component of the Guildford rules. This was crossed out in red ink, however.

69 TSCDR siting of signs. Much as in report. 70 TSCDR materials for sign construction. Much as in report, but also makes reference to a special c’ttee report on “three-dimensional signing” and it’s not altogether clear what this means—signs with raised surfaces, such as the ones that used to be made by casting as described in the Hatfield file?

1961-62, closed till 1993.

MT 39/465

Finally biting the bullet and going through the Maidstone BP file in detail.

• 21/8/1934—letter from Graham Wilson, Maidstone town clerk supporting a petition to widen A20 through Maidstone.


Chief Engineer, with file

Maidstone town council Proposed Maidstone Bypass

With reference to the letter from the Town Clerk dated the 21st August 1934, a survey has been made by the Kent CC but not detailed estimate has yet been prepared.

An approximate figure for this BP is £400,000. The scheme has been included in lists of major improvements submitted to you, but so far funds have not been made available.

As you are aware, Maidstone is on the London-Flokestone Road (A20). There are a number of narrow lengths through the town and congestion is acute, particularly at weekends during the summer.

Owing to development in the town it is not practicable to widen the existing road and a BP is certainly required.

[unreadable signature]

for DRE/London

1 September 1934

• Letter from HR Pratt Boorman, editor of Kent Messenger, asking Paterson at MOT about MBP (5/11/1934). Pertinent part: “With reference to the MBP. I enclose herewith a cutting taken from the Maidstone Town Council meeting last week. You will note that it is stated that an agreed route for MBP had been sent to the Ministry for their remarks, but no reply was to hand. This somehow does not seem to coincide with your remark over the phone on Friday that the Ministry is waiting for the local authorities. Coul you give me further details please?”

• Minute from Bressey, to Paterson. Pertinent part: “Please see minute of 1st Sept on file. This shows the present situation, so [unreadable name] tells me this morning. The survey supplied by the Kent CC will require careful study before we can approve in principle, and then we have to decide whether the state of our funds enables us to offer a grant of “x”%, after which the CC have to tell us whether “X” will satisfy them. You will moreover observe that the estimate—an important document—is not yet in our hands.” Dated 9/11/1934.

• Letter, Cook to Paterson, 15/11/1934. Preliminary plan indicating the proposed BP has been submitted to the DRE, needs further investigation. DRE to get in touch with CS for joint inspection of proposed route.

• Wilson again (11/1/1935): MBP urgently needed.

• Wilson again (13/2/1935): Will MinT (Leslie Hore-Belisha) receive a deputation regarding the need for the MBP. To include HG Tyrwhitt Drake, Lord Mayor of Maidstone and member of Kent CC Highways & Bridges Committee, and AC Bossom, MP, member for the borough.

• Tyrwhitt-Drake, trying to play on a personal connection with Hore-Belisha (the latter had been at one of his wild animal shows at the Agricultural Hall, Islington): can the BP be hurried up for the Watch Committee, responsible for getting the traffic through Maidstone.

• Memo from DRE/London office to CE. Suggests that the deputation which Wilson wants to send MinT would be better off going to Kent CC and having them put the Maidstone BP on the list of Long Term Schemes. 20/2/1935, and signed by the same DRE/London bureaucrat with unreadable signature (Howard Davis?).

• Hore-Belisha writing to Tyrwhitt-Drake much as suggested by DRE/London office.

• Reply from Tyrwhitt-Drake:


March 6th, 1935

Major L Hore-Belisha, MP Ministry of Transport 6 Whitehall Gardens, SW1

Dear Major Hore-Belisha,


Very many thanks for yours of the 2nd instant. You say you would be glad to receive a deputation but tht the first step should be the preparation of a scheme by the CC.

Such a scheme has been prepared. Plans and sections of the proposed route were submitted to the Ministry of Transport on July 20th, 1931.

Owing to the financial stringency and crisis later in that year the scheme, like many others, was deferred.

Since finance has now become more normal both the CC and the TC have on several occasions asked your Ministry’s approval and support of this scheme, as I, from my own personal knowledge, am well aware (I am a member of the Kent CC Bridges and Roads Committee, the special sub-Committee dealing with road improvements and acting Chairman of the Maidstone Borough Works (and Roads) Committee).

It is because we have been unable to obtain either your Ministry’s approval or disapproval that we have “appealed unto Caesar,” a course I was loth to do knowing how busy you are, and only because we really do not know how to deal with the summer coast traffic passing through this borough.

I understand your Ministry has written during the last few days and asked the Kent CS to prepare a large scale plan shewing the Eastern end of the BP, which he is sending you forthwith, and also to give consideration to the West end of the route. With these reports available your Ministry will no doubt be able to give you in the very near future a report, with which before you I think a deputation of this Borough might be able to give you facts as to its own difficulties with regard to the trffic already mentioned and to obviate which, in our opinion, a BP is the only remedy.

Yours very truly,

E Tyrwhitt Drake


• Miscellaneous correspondence regarding surveys for the route—v little of it appears to be to the point. In light of file material below, its relevance appears to be (1) that it establishes the position of the Kent CC surveys (substantially complete, no estimate in, and two locations need refinement meaning further surveys and more work before monies can be committed), and (2) glides over the 1931 submission date of the original BP scheme.

• MinT’s reply:


16 April, 1935

Dear Mr Mayor

I hav enot send an earlier reply to your further letter of the 6th March because I have been trying to ascertain what action the Kent CC are likely to take with regard to the BP for Maidstone. It appears that the CC will not consider the Five Year Programme of road works until the end of April but if, as I gather from your letter, they are likely to adopt the scheme and, if they are satisfied with the route chose, as a result of their further surveys, they will presumably approach me for a grant towards its estimated cost.

I can assure you that I fully appreciate your difficulties with regard to the summer coast traffic passing through the Borough. The scheme for Bping Maidstone has by entire goodwill but I cannot give a definite promise to make a grant until it has taken concrete form and I am able to approve it and to earmark the normal Road Fund proportion of the estimated cost.

Yours sincerely,

(sgd) Leslie Hore-Belisha

Alderman HG Tyrwhitt-Drake, JP Mayor of Maidstone Town Hall, Maidstone

• Reply quoted above had been suggested to MinT by AJ Lyddon to O’Neill, MinT’s private secretary; AJ Lyddon apparently DCE.

• Letter, 10/3/1936, from a member of the public, submitting a recommendation as to a revised eastern junction. (The E junction in original BP plan proved to be controversial.) Letter readable, but signature not.

• Letter from Claude Martin, 18/7/1936, elaborating on the E junction problem. Basically, it brings the MBP to an end at an already built-up portion of the A20 which is very congested especially on summer weekends (“In fact it is difficult for one to get to one’s own house on a Sunday”) while, if the BP were continued to the east a bit, it could rejoin the road in open country to the N of the Village of Bearsted.

• Note from DRE/London office to CE office (attention Southin). Rationale for bad siting of E junction: Maidstone is a primary destination for much traffic, so desirable to have existing A20 handle as much Maidstone and through traffic as possible. So close-in favored by MOT. Not loudly, however, as compulsory purchase will be necessary, with CPO made by Council, and MOT has to be neutral. (Because it would hear the inquiry?) “Agreed” alignment (not sure if this is the unrefined one) brings MBP back to A20 at roundabout near Weavering House. It’s one of five alternatives; second can’t be done because it puts the junction at the bottom of two hills, 3 was objected to by PC because it would destroy village amenities, and 4 and 5 would require alterations to a golf course and newly built houses.

• Maidstone BP estimate paperwork (Form No. 3 [Roads]) (29/4/1936, signed by FW Greig): applicant authority named as Kent CC, work to begin as soon as land acquired, estimated completion 2 years, estimated cost £445,531 of which £47,550 is for land acquisition. Rest is mostly costings. Interesting quote re division into sections: “Section No. 1 commences near Preston Hall 2 miles west of Maidstone and terminates at junction with A20 near Weavering House. Length 4.62 miles. Section No. 2 commences near Weavering House and terminates near junction of Willington Lane with A20. It follows the line of the existing road A20. Length 0.57 miles.” Other particulars: 100 ft wide. Average width of existing carriageway is 22 ft. New carriageways (dual) are to be 22 ft each. Two footways, each 6 ft wide. Total length 5.19 miles. Estimate includes 10% contingency.

• Form No. 4 (Roads) (27/4/1936, signed by FW Greig), dealing with the railway bridge required on this project. Cost is £8400, which is included in the Form 3 costings. Page 8 “General Remarks” covers the rationale: “This bridge is being widened as part of the Maidstone BP. The existing bridge is an elliptical brick arch in good condition but very flat at the crown and it hs been deemed advisable to demolish it in preference to attempting to retain it in the widened structure. The County Concil maintain the roadway over the existing bridge for the sum of £11.13.4d. per annum payable by the Company. This will be extinguished by a commuted payment and the County Council will in future maintain the roadway. The Heads of agreement regarding the new structure are under discussion with the Railway Co., but not agreement has been reached. Details of the agreement when settled will be forwarded in due course. It is anticipated that the new structure will be mtained by the county Council in which case a commuted sum will be paid by the Company to the Council in respect thereof.”

• Correspondence (6/3/1936) between District Valuer and FW Greig, Kent CS, about assumptions underlying the costings. GA Cooper, the DV, wants confirmation of the assumptions. Estimated cost of land acquisition, exclusive of solicitor’s costs, surveyor’s fees and accommodation works, is £37,000.

• Letter from DV to Greig (6/8/1936), saying that added cost of 120’ width Ministry wants will be £5,000.

• Form No. 194 (Roads), the form for Major Improvement Schemes. For 1936-37, the Maidstone BP form is enclosed. Description of scheme: “Construction of a BP to the town of Maidstone, 5.19 miles in length and 120 ft. in width commencing at a point on the London-Folkestone Road, A20, immediately west of Coldharbour Lane and terminating at the junction of A20 and Vinters Lane, including dual carriageways, cycle tracks and roundabouts; together with a widening of A20 from Vinters Lane to Willington Lane; in accordance with statement and plans marked RWN.19/61.” Justification of expenditure proposed:


At present rhough traffic on the London-Folkestone Trunk Road has to pass through the County town of Maidstone which is much subjected to traffic congestion due, in part, to the fact that this is a County town and one of the most important shopping centres in Kent and, in part, to the onsiderable lengths of A20 in the town which are narrow and entirely unsuited to through traffic requirements.

The cost of widening the existing road to anything approaching the standard which can be obtained by building a BP would be both prohibitive in cost and impracticable, and in consequence the project forming the subject of this report and recommendation has been submitted by the CC.

It is proposed to build a BP on the north and east sides of Maidstone on the line shown in pink on the 6 in. key map. This line has been the subject of much careful planning and consideration, and will completely BP the whole town and those areas immediately outside the town which may be expected to develop in the future. The route commences on the London side near Preston Hall and proceeding NE crosses the Southern Rly line and the River Medway east of Little preston. It has not yet been definitely decided whether the length of approximately 200 yards between the railway bridge and the river bridge shall be built on embankment or viaduct.

From the east side of the river bridge the route is approximately eastwards crossing the Maidstone-Chatham Road, A229, north of Sandling. Owing to physical conditions at this junction it will be controlled by a signal installation. From this junction the route is approximately south-eastwards as far as the junction with the Maidstone-Sittingbourne road, A249, at which a roundabout will be constructed. From this point the route is approximately southwards until it rejoins A20, one mile east of the centre of Maidstone. A aroundabout will also be constructed at this junction

Incorporated in the project is the widening of the existing road, A20 from the above-mentioned roundabout to Willington Lane, beyond which A20 has already been widened.

Constructional Particulars

The road will be constructed to a width of 120 ft. which will be divided as follows:

Dual carriageways, each 20 ft in width 30 ft central reserve Two cycle tracks, each 6 ft in width Two footways, each 6 ft in width Grass verges, 3 ft 6 in in width between the cycle track and the carriageway and between the cycle track and the footway, a width of 9 ft 6 in to allow for future extension of cycle track and footway.

The above details apply to the whole length of the BP and the widening of the existing road including the bridges over the railways and the River Medway and to the road on either embankment or viaduct immediately south of the River Medway.

Bridges Bridges are to be provided with a width of 100 ft. between parapets over the Southern Railway and the River Medway; and the existing bridge carrying A20 over the southern Railway line, one mile east of Maidstone is also to be widened to the ame width between parapets.

Roundabouts Three roundabouts are included in the scheme as follows:

1 At the junction with A20 near Coldharbour Lane 2 At the junction with A20 at Vinters Lane 3 At the junction with A249

Each of these roundabouts has been designed with a central island 150 ft in diameter and adequate weaving space.

As already indicated the junction with A229 will be controlled by a signal installation which will be dealt with as a separate scheme.

The County Council are anxious to proceed with the acquisition of land for this scheme at once as this is expected to take an appreciable time.

In these circumstances it is recommended that a grant should be issued to the CC covering the cost of acquisition of land only, leaving the issue of a grant towards the cost of constructional works until tenders have been received.

The following are the additional particulars which will be required in connection with this scheme:

1 The total length of new road is 4.62 miles 2 The length of existing road to be widened is 0.57 miles. 3 The length of existing road (A20) to be BP’d is 3 ¾ miles. 4 Maximum gradient on any part of the BP is 1 in 25. 5 Owing to the importance of the existing route through Maidstone, it will not be declassified. 6 The CC intend to put the works in hand as soon as the land has been acquired and the probable duration of the work is two years. 7 The project is complete in itself and will not involve as its immediate consequence the execution of other works.

• Correspondence in the file: a MOT civil servant (W Lorrie Shaddock?) advocates increasing width of carriageways to 22 ft (1/10/1936). Also, Southin asks Bull (a DCE or AsstCE at this point—not sure when he became DRE/Mids) if the road qualifies for a trunk road grant. Not sure what the answer was. Question asked 2/8/1936.

• Rowland Hill to DCE, 2/9/1936: “With reference to my grant recommendation dated 18th ultimo, the Clerk of the CC has indicated that unless a 100% grant will be made towards any expenditure incurred on land acquisition or works prior to 1st Spril next it is extremely doubtful if the CC will proceed with this scheme. I have asked the Clerk to bring this matter before the Council again at their next meeting with a view to their decision being reversed.”

• Traffic census results. Point 1530 is near Preston Hall, NW of Maidstone, with 7688 vehs/15,226 tons per day, and 1368 cyclists per day. Point 1552 is ½ mi W of junction with B2011 E of Maidstone, with 6090 vehicles/11278 tons/461 cyclists by day, and 393 vehs/674 tons/29 cyclists by night. 1/10/1936.

• Bull to DRE/London (2/10/1936): shall we amend carriageway width from 20 to 22 ft? 20 ft mentioned in your grant recommendation of 18/8/1936, 22 ft used on Ashford BP which has a similar level of heavy traffic.

• EB Hugh-Jones for DRE/London: CS already agreed to 22’ carriageways, but defer further action on grant recommendation as BP is now trunk road and needs further review.

• Aldington heard from at last.


Chief Engineer

Widths of carriageways to be provided on trunk roads in the neighborhood of London, with particular reference to the Swanley BP, Maidstone BP, Crawley BP and Brentwood BP.

It has, I think, been generally agreed that, in widening the Trunk Roads in the immediate neighborhood of London, we should provide at once for two 30 ft carriageays, and this action has been taken on the Kingston BP (A3) Trunk Road 6, on the Great West Road (A4) Trunk Road 9, and on A40, Trunk Road 10. Similar action will be taken with regard to Trunk Road 1 in the immediate neighborhood of London.

With regard to the particular BPs referred to above, the intention so far has been to provide two 22 ft carriageways with a central reservation of sufficient width to enable two 30 ft carriageways to be provided ultimately. Having regard to the heavy volume of traffic which will use these BPs, and from general observation on them particularly at weekends, I think that the new carriageways should be made 30 ft wide in the first instance and not 22 ft because the traffic is tidal, and my observation is that the fast trffic cannot get throughin less than 30 ft in safety. The slow moving vehicle take sup 10 ft adjacent to the kerb. Then there is the second category of driver who proceeds that a speed from 35 to 45 MPH, and the third category who drives at from 45 to 60 MPH. These latter cannot get through as they should on a Trunk Road in less than 30 ft.

Illustrations of this can be seen on A20, for example, where the carriageway has been widened to 30 ft. The fast driver has to go on to the wrong side of the road adjacent to the kerb on the offside to get through, and our experience on the Great West Road has shown that carriageways 30 ft wide are required near London.

I shall be glad if you will be good enough to concur that the carriageways on the Swanley BP, Maidstone BP, Crawley BP and Brentwood BP should be made 30 ft in the first instance.

I would also recommend that, owing to the tidal nature of the traffic on the Brighton Road (A23), any widening carried out on this road should provide for two 30 ft carriageways.

I have omitted the Ashford BP owing to the fact that a considerable volume of traffic branches off at Charing towards Canterbury, and in the case of this BP, I am of the opinion that two 22 ft carriageways are all that is required.

(sgd) HE Aldington DRE/London

7th May, 1937

• Memo in reply from AJ Lyddon, 19/5/1937, saying that provision of service roads will be the basis for choosing between 22 ft and 30 ft carriageways. 30 ft to be provided when not possible to provide service roads. Great West Road, Kingston BP to be fitted with 30 ft for this reason; other BPs to be fitted with 22 ft because service roads can be provided.

• Aldington bidding up the scheme again.


Chief Engineer

Trunk Road A20. Maidstone BP

Further to my minute of the 7th October, further surveys and comparative estimates hav enow been obtained on similar bases from the CS and the DV.

You will recollect that the recommendation for grant put forward by this office on the 18th August, 1936, applied to the line shown in red on the attached plan AA. It was thought, however, that the eastern end of that proposal was out of keeping with standards desirable on trunk roads, partly because of the awkward bend or roundabout which would be necessary at its junction with A20 near Weavering House; also because the BP would be one mile or 26% longer than the existing congested route and further that east of the original proposed eastern termination there is about one mile of old road which is completely built up on both sides and a further 1 ½ miles which is partially built up. All of this development is part of the rapidly growing village of Bearsted, which under the revised scheme would be bypassed. The width between the houses is such that service roads could not be provided. A considerable amount of standing traffic would, therefore, obstruct the TR traffic and pedestrians would be numerous owing to the very large number of individual accesses which could not be prevented except at vast expense in the acquisition of property.

Prolonged discussions have taken place with the CS and at times with the Chmn of the Kent CC Highways C’ttee and they have expressed their agreement that it would be desirable now that the road has been taken over as a TR for the scheme to be extended eastwards and thereby much improved from the traffic POV.

I attach hereto a small plan on a scale of ½” to the mile showing in yellow the line which I have to recommend. I also attach a paln on a scale of 6” to the mile showing in red and green alternatives which have been looked into in detail. Comparative estimates for these have been prepared by the CS and the DV and these are set out on the sheet attached hereto, which, however, do not include legal expenses of the vendors. I have, therefore, added 10% to these figures to cover these legal expenses and a further allowance for contingencies.

On account of the damage which would be done to property, I do not think that any other alternatives to the red or green lines could reasonably be put forward, largely because of the position of the Gold Course crosshatched in pencil and also because whilst the red line to a very large extent passes through ground which is of poor agricultural quality and interferes with practically no buildings, the green line will interfere with a number of buildings but there would probably be less compensation for severance.

These matters, you will appreciate, will be reflected in the DV’s reports and it has turned out that the red line will be rather more than £15,000 cheaper than the green line, which incorporates lengths which are common to both. In actual length there is no difference; both are 6 2/3 miles long compared with 6 1/3 miles along the old road.

The cost of the scheme is estimated at £656,000 which includes £60,000 for property and compensation and legal expenses.

The BP at its western end would start on A20 near Preston Hall and pass in a NE direction over the Medway Valley where a bridge over the Medway and a bridge over the Southern Railway, together with a length of viaduct to allow for floods etc., will be necessary. It then passes over with a cloverleaf junction the Maidstone-Chatham Road (A229), on which the traffic according to the last cfensus amounted to about 4200 vehicles per day. A roundabout would be provided at the crossing of the Maidstone-Sittingbourne Road (A249), partly because th elayout of the ground does not lend itself to a flyover junction and also because the traffic on that first class road amounts to only some 1300 vehicles per day.

The existing road passes through the centre and most congested part of Maidstone and is completely built up for by far the greater part of the length which would be eliminated by the new scheme.

Some years ago two miles of the existing road at the eastern end was widened so as to provide a carriageway 30’ wide. At the western end of the existing road there is a length of about one mile where the carriageway has been widened to approximately 40’, but the bridge under the railway has not been widened and the frontages have now to some extent been built up; further the alignment of the road would necessitate considerable improvements and superelevation to bring it to Trunk Road standards.

The layout proposed is 120’, but the bridge and viadcut over the Medway Valley would be constructed to a width of only 98’.

The traffic on the existing road according to the last census amounted to about 7600 vhicles per day and the congestion through Maidstone is at times particularly in the summer and at holiday periods, very acute, chiefly because of the other first class roads which join A20 in Maidstone from Hastings, Chatham, Sittingbourne and Tonbridge. Delay of course occurs at all these junctions and this would be completely eliminated for trunk road traffic by the scheme which is recommended.

You will be aware that this scheme has been approved in principle under the Trunk Road proposals, but I understand that you will hold a Public Inquiry before making an Order under Section 1(3).

As far as Ihave been able to ascertain, no serious opposition will be encountered. The village of Thornham appeared to think that they would be cut off from their shopping centre of Bearsted by the BP, but this objection would be met by raising the side road and carrying it over the BP as proposed. There is certain objection raised to the alignment near Boxley Abbey and the alternative in green was suggested. You will note, however, that the rod will be some distance away from the Abbey and also that the alternative shown in green would cost about £13,000 more than the line shown in red, which is recommended.

I shall be glad to know when the Public Inquiry can be held.

I think you are aware that the Kent CC wish to carry out the work by direct labour excepting only thebridge and viaduct work over the Medway Valley, which I recommend should be undertaken by Consulting Engineers and carried out by contract. IMO it would be advisable for the Consulting Engineers to be appointed ASAP, so tht the borings etc can be undertaken and avoid delay later on

HE Aldington

DRE/London 28/6/1937.

• Yet another letter from Wilson, 27/8/1937. Kent CC getting restive: Maidstone BP has been sitting in the five-year schedule with no action for 3 years.

• Memo: the Section 1(3) Public Inquiry was scheduled for 27/10/1937. Memo from Hollinghurst (for CE) dated 10/9/1937 telling him of this, and asking him what to do with the £40,000 allocated for the MBP that FY.

• Letter from one Simmons, 15/9/1937. He advocates a new-location road serving as a bypass of Maidstone, Ashford, Medway towns, Sittingbourne and Faversham.

• Memo to Finance Dept, seeking sanction for the project.


Finance Department, Mr. Herbert

Treasury authority is sought to carry out the undermentioned scheme on the London-Folkestone-Dover TR (No 4).

WC Wilson (sgd) for CE

16th October, 1937

1 Authority MOT and Kent CC 2 Name of road and classification MBP 3 Description of scheme A new road to BP Maidstone (which is situate on route A20) on the northern sideof the town. The new road will commence t a point on the existing route near Preston Hall a few yards west of the junction with Coldharbour Lane and proceeding in a NE direction will cross the Southern Railway and the River Medway by means of two new bridges. As the Medway valley is subject to floods a viaduct will be formed over the marshy land. Proceeding E the new road will cross route A229 (Maidstone to Chatham) by means of a flyover (cloverleaf) junction thence north of Sadling Wood to route A249 (Maidstone-Sittingbourne) which will be crossed by means of a roundabout. Proceeding via Horish Honeyhills Gore and Longsham Woods (the side road at Gore Wood to Thornham village will be raised to carry it over the BP) the new rod will cross the Southern Railway on the eastern side of Maidstone by a new bridge to make junction by means of a roundabout with the existing route at Woodcut. 4 Approximate length of improvement 6 2/3 miles. Existing route 6 1/3 miles. 5 Existing lay-out of highway to be widened or BP’d 30-40 ft 6 Proposed layout of the Highway 120 ft. Viaduct over Medway valley 98 ft. 7 Rate of grant proposed [left blank since this is a TR project] 8 Estimated cost £656,000 (a) Land £60,000 (b) works £596,000. 9 Special features such as embankments, cuttings, etc. Flyover junction with A229. Viaduct over Medway valley. 10 Traffic statistics On key map 11 Key plan showing location Attached 12 Probable date of commencement Land will be purchased during the present FY and works will be started in 1938. 13 Estimated duration of works 2 years 14 Justification for the scheme The existing route through Maidstone is totally inadequate to meet present day traffic requirements and it is impracticable to get a standard trunk road width on the existing line. Owing to its importance the existing road through the town will not be declassified. 15 Remarks It will be necessary tomake an Order under Section 1(3) of the Trunk Roads Act, 1936, and a Public Inquiry into the proposal is to be held on 27th October. It is proposed to carry out the works by diret labour except the bridges and viaduct work for which Consulting Engineers will be appointed, and this work carried out by contract.

• AJ Lyddon (DCE) brushing off Simmons’ new-location motorway proposal.

• 4/11/1937: Another member of the general public sees a bad drawing of the Maidstone BP cloverleaf interchange in the Evening Std of previous date (showing it basically as a diamond with double-loaded ramps), and suggests that the loop ramps be made actual loops. No evidence of an answer from MOT.

• First hint the BP has been souped up: Cook to Aldington:



Maidstone BP. Trunk Road No 4.

I quite agree that all practicable steps should be taken to secure the safety of traffic crossing the proposed BP.

You will doubtless take into consideration the relative advantages from economic and other standpoints for the provision of overbridges or subways, roundabouts and traffic signals, and I should be glad tohave your proposals as soon as they are in readiness.

FC Cook

5th November 1937

• Exchange of memos: finance dept wants to know costs of the new bridges and the justifications for them, and to have the plans amended for submission to Treasury.

• Memo from HEA, 18/11/1937: the cost of added bridges and accommodation works is now £65,000. So total scheme cost is now £721,000.

• Memo from C Lloyd, for DRE/London. Breakdown: Boxley Road bridge, £13,000; Hockers Lane bridge, £10,000; Water Lane bridge, £32,000. Other correspondence on same memo page: Can the application to Treasury now be made? (Finance Dept needed to know specifics of the overbridge, and also the implications re estimates if DRE/London’s suspicion that a reinforced concrete bridge over Medway would not be suitable, and that the portion between the railway bridge and the Medway should be carried on embankment rather than viaduct, turned out to be founded.)

• SL Engel (writing for DCE) writes to DRE/London asking for more specifics. These include costs of embankment between bridge over the Medway (£100,000 according to Bridges Branch) and railway (£20,000 according to same source), roadworks themselves, and flyover junction with A229. 25/4/1938.

• Draft note for Leonard Browett (a MOT functionary of some kind) to send to AC Bossom, MP for the area, sometime in April 1938 explaining why no progress on the MBP. Interesting side fact: scheme order made 26 March 1938. Letter to Bossom went out 29/4/1938.

• Bossom to Burgin, 9/5/1938, complaining that the delays associated with the MBP have been blighting property along the line. Cites example of Pearce Bros of John St, Maidstone, who find that they can’t build on land they had purchased, platted, and obtained the necessary approvals.

• Burgin to Bossom, 19/5/1938. Burgin reminds Bossom that sking how long it takes after a TR line is approved to actually build the road is like asking how long a piece of string is. Offers a brief chronology: whatever delays of scheme may have been, MinT’s responsibility began 1/4/1937, when it inherited the CC’s scheme (not up to TR standards); notification of intention to make a 1(3) order given 13/8/1937; local inquiry 27/10/1937; order made 26/3/1938; and MOT wants only 0.9 acre of Pearce Bros’ land.

• Bossom heard from again—8/6/1938—where can I see a map of the BP? Burgin replies: come to MOT HQ in London.

• Summary of latest iteration of scheme:


Chief Engineer

London-Folkestone-Dover Trunk Road, No. 4 Maidstone BP

With reference to your minut eof the 25th April, particulars are given below of the MBP, for which it is recommended that Treasury approval be sought.

1 Authority Ministry of Transport (Kent County) 2 Description From a point approximately 200 yards NW of the junction of route A20 with Coldharbor Lane in a SE direction to a point approximately 350 yards NW of the junction of route A20 with the road leading to Silver Hill, situate between Leybourne and Harrietsham BP. [para] The proposed route will pass to the north of the existing road, with a maximum distanceof 1 ¾ miles from the road through the town of Maidstone. A roundabout will be provided at the western and eastern ends of the BP with bridges over the Southern Railway Line to Chatham and the River Medway near the commencement of the BP at Preston Hall. Flyovers will be provided at the junctions with the Classified roads to Aylesford, B2011; Chatham, A229; Sittingbourne, A249, and the unclassified roads to Boxley, Detling (hockers Lane), Thurnham and Bearsted (Water Lane). A bridge will be provided also over the Southern Railway line to Ashford near the Eastern end of the BP. 3 Approximate length of new road 6 ½ miles. 4 Existing layout of highway to be BP’d Single carriageway with a general width of 25 to 30 feet and 8 to 10 ft footways, maximum width of carriageway being 35 to 40 feet with 10 ft footways, and a minimum width of 20 ft carriageway and one 7 ft footway. 5 Proposed layout of highway 120 ft wide; dual carriageways 22 ft wide; central reservation 26ft; footways 2 each, 8 ft wide; cycle tracks 2 each, 9 ft wide; verges 2 each 3 ft wide, verges 2 each 5 ft wide. 6 Estimated total cost £721,000 [table with detailed breakdown given, will have to be reproduced elsewhere] 7 Special features An embankment with a maximum depth of about 30 feet will be provided across the Medway Valley, see longitudinal section and mass haulage diagram herewith. 8 Map A 6 inch key plan of the route is attached hereto with the traffic census figures marked thereon. 9 Probable date of commencement Twelve months after Treasury approval has been obtained. 10 Estimated duration of works 4 years 11 Justification for the scheme The existing road passes through the centre and most congested part of Maidstone, and is completely built-up for by far the greater part of the length which would be eliminated by the new scheme. Some years ago a portion of the existing road at the eastern end of the road to be superseded was widened so as to provide a 30 ft carriageway. The western end of the existing road has been widened for a length of approximately 1 mile to provide a carriageway about 40 ft wide, but thebridge under the railway has not been widened, and the frontages have now been mostly built-up. Approximately 4 ½ miles of the length to be BP’d is completely built-up and the remaining portion is also built-up but less heavily developed. [para] The general alignment of the road is bad, and considerable improvements and superelevation would be necessary to bring the road up to TR standards. [para] A considerable delay is experienced at the junctions of the five classified roads with the route to be superseded, and this will be completely eliminated by the suggested BP. [para] As it is most undesirable for fast through traffic to be taken through the centre of such a densely populated area, and in view of the impracticability of the scheme and the prohibitive cost of widening the existing road to Trunk Road standards, no estimate is attached for such an improvement. 12 Restriction of Ribbon Development The route is ubect to the Restriction of Ribbon Development Act, 1935, by virtue of Section 4(2) of the Trunk Roads Act, 1936, the route having been made a Trunk Road on the 26th March, by an Order under Section 1(3) of the Act of 1936. 13 Views of local residents and CC A public inquiry under Section 1(3) of the TRA was held on the 27th October, 1937, into the suggested line of the BP, and the Minister has decided that it is expedient that a new road should be fconstructed for through traffic. 14 Views of land owners Objectors to the route have been met or have signified their concurrence to the attached plan 15 Ancient monuments No ancient monuments or commons are involved 16 Addresses of Catchment Boards and River Conservators Kent Rivers catchment Bd, 78, college road, Maidstone; Medway conservatory, Rochester. 17 Tidal rivers River Medway

(sgd) EB Hugh-Jones for DRE/London

20 June, 1938

[table of costings]

1 Road works, exclusive of items given in 3 below (including supervision): £401,260. 2 Land: £47,600. 3 A Bridge over S Railway, Aylesford: £20,000 a. Bridge over River Medway: £100,000 b. Embankment over Medway valley: £25,100. c. Flyover at B2011: £10,700 d. Flyover at A229: £22,840 e. Flyover at Boxley Rd: £13,000 f. Flyover at Water Lane: £10,000 g. Flyover at A249: £32,000. h. Flyover at Hockers Lane: £10,000 i. Flyover at Thurnham Lane: £9,060 j. Bridge over Southern Railway at Chrismill: £11,540. k. Cattle Creep, Sandling Farm. £1,500. l. Footpath subways: £3,400 m. Bridge over 24 in diameter sewage main. £3,000.



• The blow-back . . .


Chief Engineer (Mr BMF Pain)

Before submitting this scheme to the Treasury, Finance Division would be glad if the following points could be delt with:

1 It is observed that the construction of seven flyovers (two with connections with the minor road and five without) ar eproposed. As you are aware the Treasury are reluctant to approve these special features and Finance Division would, therefore, be glad to have some note on the need for each of the bridges. The highway dimensions over and under each bridge should be given. It is noted that on the 28th June, 1937 DRE considered that a roundabout would suffice at the junction with A249, a flyover being unnecessary on traffic grounds and difficult to construct by reason of the layout of the site. 2 An assurance is desired that the estimate for the Medway and railway bridges together with the connecting embankment is not likely to be substantially varied. Early estimates gave a figure of £120,000 for the two bridges and a connecting viaduct, subsequently (11th December 1937) DRE stated that the adoption of an embankment in lieu of a viaduct would result in a substantial sving (£60,000), yet, although the embankment has been decided upon, the total estimate now amounts to £145,000. 3 Please confirm that the Medway and railway bridges are to be 98 ft between parapets and also furnish the width of the railway bridge at the eastern end of the scheme. 4 Is it still proposed to engage a consulting engineer and an architect for the Medway Bridge as stated in the CE’s minute of the 15th March, 1938?

RA Eales 28th June, 1938

[rest of file to be continued later . . . .]