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Tuesday22 August 2017

Morgan: HS2 design panel should have launched earlier

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Ecobuild latest: Sadie Morgan says an earlier launch would have had a greater impact

The chair of the HS2 design panel has admitted she would have liked to have set it up earlier.

More than 300 people applied to join the panel before the 45-strong group was finalised last November.

But Sadie Morgan (pictured), who is also a member of the government’s National Infrastructure Commission, told the Ecobuild conference: “If the panel had been set up way back, then it could have had an even greater impact.

“But we can’t harangue HS2 over this. The panel has been set up much earlier than a panel like this has ever been put in place for a scheme like this.”

Morgan said the design panel was in a position to have discussions about the design benefits of the second phase: “We can look at the potential impact in ways that they [HS2] have not thought about. But in the laying down of the route, our influence is very limited.”

Morgan also bemoaned the split between engineers and architects over the years and said the two professions needed to start working closer together.

She said: “There’s a silo mentality. For a long time the glue that has held us together has broken apart. As a group of creatives we need to get our voice back.”

Morgan added that big infrastructure projects needed to draw on the inspiration of engineers from the past. “It’s very important if we’re going to spend £100bn, then it lasts 150 years. The Victorian sewers we have are extraordinary feats of engineering and architecture.”

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