Roads Design Panel to spell end of highways “monstrosities”

Grant Prior 9 years ago
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Transport Minister John Hayes has unveiled plans for a Roads Design Panel to make transport schemes more beautiful and end the perception of new routes as an “ugly necessity”.

Hayes said: “We allowed bad design to become ubiquitous. Hideous footbridges. Unnecessary light pollution. Roads that divided the landscape rather than threading through it.

“Everyone will have their own worst example in mind.

“Let’s be absolutely clear. For a long time, we got it wrong, very wrong. We allowed sub-standard, ubiquitous, drab, cheap, soul-sapping design to proliferate, until it become the norm.”

He now wants roads to be “green-plated” as the highways industry works with environmental campaigners to use new routes to improve the landscape.

Hayes said: “Roads are part of our landscape. We cannot un-invent the car or order people to stay in the village of their birth.

“So we need to integrate roads into their surroundings.Flowing with the landscape. Or concealing structure where possible.

“They should be environmental assets.And carry cleaner, greener vehicles.

“I believe roads can lift the soul. It’s a massive task. But I want to see the same kind of transformation of how we perceive road travel as we have seen with parts of the railway.”

He also wants to see motorway service station transformed from “buildings that look like outstations of the South Bank Centre towards miniature Terminal 5s.”

Hayes said: “I want to create a Design Panel. Such panels have been successfully used for Crossrail and HS2.

“Not just ensuring that the projects benefit from good design principles, but also that costs are controlled.

“Of course the Roads Design Panel would need to include a variety of organisations with different interests. Groups like the CPRE and CBT, and the Princes’ Foundation for Building Communities.

“But also architects, engineers, highways authorities and construction businesses. The panel will become a key forum, bringing together visionaries and practitioners, and may consider awards for good design.”

 

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