By politics.co.uk staff
Eric Pickles has found a new enemy in his bid to bring common-sense to Britain: street signs.
The communities secretary, who is well known as a jovial and memorable figure in the Conservative party, said the prevalence of signs was making towns and villages less attractive.
"Our streets are losing their English character," he said.
"We are being overrun by scruffy signs, bossy bollards, patchwork paving and railed off roads, wasting taxpayers' money that could be better spent on fixing potholes or keeping council tax down. We need to 'cut the clutter'.
"Too many overly-cautious town hall officials are citing safety regulations as the reason for cluttering up our streets with an obstacle course when the truth is very little is dictated by law.
"Common sense tells us uncluttered streets have a fresher, freer authentic feel, which are safer and easier to maintain."
Mr Pickles and transport secretary Philip Hammond have written to council leaders asking them to remove the signs.
The signs are a divisive topic in some local communities, with opponents saying they are confusing and ugly and defenders saying they can reduce traffic accidents.