Responding to the launch of the HS2 Ltd ‘Design Vision‘ today, Ben Middlemiss, Senior HS2 Project and Stakeholder Manager for the National Trust, said:
“We are encouraged to see the long-anticipated Design Vision by HS2 Ltd, and one that contains some good principles. The principles around demonstrating commitment to the natural world, celebrating the local, and engaging with communities through the life of the HS2 project give us hope for the quality of design that HS2 Ltd must incorporate into all of its plans, especially when they go on to construct the railway.
“The point made within the vision about the need to ‘make the most of the time to design’ highlights the late timing of this vision and the imperative importance of design as a central aspect of the way the railway will impact on people and places along its route. In order to do this, HS2 Ltd faces the challenge of building design into its ways of working, including how it engages with local communities and other stakeholders.
“With this in mind, we encourage HS2 Ltd to work quickly to demonstrate that this Design Vision has not arrived too late for Phase 1, between London and Birmingham, by taking the time to deliver locally coherent design excellence along the route. Design is central to the successful mitigation of the adverse impacts of HS2 as well as creating positive perceptions of the railway, so as this Vision is embedded into HS2 Ltd’s culture and working practices it must consider the context of the small, local, apparently routine elements of the railway as much as flagship pieces such as stations.
“We eagerly look forward to the appointment of the HS2 Ltd Design Panel under its new chair Sadie Morgan, holding the project to account as Government prepares to write its signature across the landscape.”