South Holland and The Deepings MP John Hayes is the driving force as a Government transport minister to persuade Britain to radically re-think the way it designs and builds roads.
He wants to put beauty at the heart of the process – and to give local people a bigger voice in design.
In December, the Government unveiled a £15billion programme to triple investment in the country’s major road network over the next decade, including upgrades of the A47 and A1 in Peterborough – improvements the MP hopes will link up to any future work to ease traffic flow on the A16.
But the massive investment also gives the country the chance to change direction.
In a major speech, Mr Hayes said: “Two paths lie before us. There is the well-trodden path we have travelled down as a nation many times, when driving public projects over the past century and that is the path of mere utility, of banality – even ugliness.
“But then there is the road less travelled. The road of beauty of form enhancing function. The road, I will argue today, that we must take.”
Mr Hayes has devised a five-point action plan and says the new investment “provides us with a golden opportunity to banish ugly, intrusive and ubiquitous design, and create a road system in harmony with its surroundings”.
The five points are:
1 Ensure local people are involved in all design processes
2 Include industry partners and contractors when planning delivery and construction
3 Create a design panel, involving organisations like the Campaign to Protect Rural England, the Campaign for Better Transport, the National Trust and the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community
4 Establish a solid set of design principles, underpinned by a review of the environment and biodiversity elements of the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges
5 Appreciate industry best practice, looking at the best of what can be achieved.