Road and rail constructors urged to take the scenic route for travellers


Road and rail infrastructure should be "beautiful", a transport minister has claimed.

John Hayes, the minister responsible for Highways England, said there is "something profoundly elitist" about the way that "ugliness has been imposed" upon transport architecture.

But the current investment in transport projects, such as HS2, Crossrail and new roads, "offers a way forward", Mr Hayes told the Independent Transport Commission.

He said: "We have a precious opportunity to do more and do better.

"Transport is the perfect medium for leading the way to the public realm of the beautiful."

He went on: "Our busiest stations are used by millions every day.

"Their design has a profound effect on the well-being of those who pass through."

Mr Hayes said the UK is fortunate that a lot of its transport network was built before the 20th century, which was a "more aesthetically demanding age", citing examples of railway stations such as London King's Cross, Bristol Temple Meads, Huddersfield and Carlisle.

He also praised more modern designs, such as London's Blackfriars station - which he said has been transformed from "a subterranean nightmare into a station with the world's best platform views" - and the New Routemaster bus which was introduced to the capital by former mayor Boris Johnson, which the minister claimed "certainly has style".

Mr Hayes told the audience that he will review the remit of HS2's design panel and expects it to "do more and do it better".

"No more soulless ubiquity," he said.

"No more demolition of our railway heritage. No more sub-standard, conceptually flawed buildings.

"No more excuses, in the guise of ergonomics, for an ignorance of aesthetics."