Common Design Elements

From the HS2 Phase One Planning Forum Meeting Minutes: July 2018

4 Common Design Elements

ML explained that since the last Planning Forum HS2 had been reviewing progress with design in relation to certain contractual milestones. Part of this review had been focused on common design along the route. HS2 realise the maturity of design is not sufficient to allow progress to Notice to Proceed. The decision is to put more time into the front end design process, which has delayed the Notice to Proceed by three months. Designs are to be looked at not geographically but asset based to improve commonality. ML is leading on surface assets, Mike Hickson (Programme Director, Area Central) leading on subsurface assets and Rob Carr (Programme Director, Area South) everything else. ML explained that there has thus been a slowdown in progressing the CDEs. ML provided an example to illustrate the decision that various contractors had different designs for pier structures. This pause is necessary to get commonality and efficiency in design.

The Chair stated that it was a useful update. He recalled the challenging programme that had been set for Planning Forum in January and observed that it is now stalling. It is important to explain the stalling.

ML explained that the approach is not one size fits all. SNC/CDC noted that ML mentioned commonality, efficiency and effectiveness, and suggested that another key word was missing – distinctiveness. Structures should respect local distinctiveness. How is this assessment going to be factored in?

ML explained that HS2 is designing for place and certain aspects of the design can be modified to take account of people, place and time. This will not be altered by the change in design programme. Schedule 17 is the process through which this can be examined.

An authority remarked that the designs are not assessing landscape context.

PG explained that if something is a CDE it will still be well designed. Draft planning forum notes will set the CDEs and LAs are part of the process of settling them. Once the PFNs are agreed, each asset will still require Schedule 17 approval. It is through pre‐application discussion that the LA decides whether the CDE is appropriate.

ML provided further clarification stating that the approach is likely to be a family of structures, with different materials based on local environment.

It was asked whether key design elements have also been delayed three months? ML clarified that it depends on the area.

PG explained that the delay will be articulated in the next round of lookaheads. HS2 is working though what the three month delay means for pre‐application discussions.

AVDC raised concerns that effort and resource has been put in from LAs on CDEs. ML explained that for the avoidance of doubt HS2 is not discarding the work undertaken to date with the Forum.

TA enquired when the next CDE presentation, on Noise barriers, would be? ML explained that it also is being pushed back three months.

HS2 Ltd said that the intention is that the November 2018 Planning Forum will include a substantive item on CDEs covering noise barriers and bridge piers and parapets.

There was a discussion at to when it would be best for the Forum’s working group on bridge piers and parapets to next meet. ACTION. HS2 Ltd to update working group members on the timing of the next meeting.