The Design Review Panel offers both in-person and online design review panel sessions.
Design Review Panel site visits can be carried out in-person or online using 360 degree virtual photographic tours (click here to see an example).
Design Review Panel sessions should be booked using our online design review panel booking system.
'The Design Review Panel' TM operates nationally, providing an impartial, multi-disciplinary, constructive, expert, design review process during the pre-application stage of the planning process, to applicants & local authorities. Feedback from The Design Review Panel TM is a material consideration in planning application process, as per paragraph 133 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)
About The Design Review Panel TM
The Design Review Panel provides impartial expert advice to applicants and local authorities on design issues in relation to important new development schemes and proposals for important public spaces, including both significant minor applications, major planning applications and pre-application development proposals.
As stated within the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), The Design Review Panel's feedback is a material consideration for local authorities and the planning inspectorate when determining planning applications. The Design Review Panel provides its impartial, independant design review services directly to applicants as well as to local authorities.
The Design Review Panel operates nationally across England including in:- Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Bristol, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, City of London, Cornwall, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Devon, Dorset, Durham, Yorkshire, East Sussex, Essex, Gloucestershire, London, Manchester, Hampshire, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Merseyside, Norfolk, North Yorkshire, Northamptonshire, Northumberland, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Rutland, Shropshire, Somerset, South Yorkshire, Staffordshire, Suffolk, Surrey, Tyne and Wear, Warwickshire, West Midlands, West Sussex, West Yorkshire, Wiltshire & Worcestershire.
Two publications ‘Design Review Panel: A guide for Developers & Applicants' and ‘Design Review Panel: A guide for Local Authorities' These have been produced by The Design Review Panel to provide guidance to applicants, design team & local authorities on how to best use The Design Review Panel as part of the planning process.
The Design Review Panel operates in accordance with the publication entitled:- ‘Design Review: Principles and Practice’:- This document was jointly produced by CABE at the Design Council, the Landscape Institute, the RTPI & the RIBA.
Sample Design Review Panel Case Studies
Reviewed by The Design Review Panel in Exeter, Devon & now constructed on site, 600 student accommodation units, with ground level retail, restaurant uses, designed by MAKE & AHR. The development will achieve BREEAM Excellent and will be a positive addition to the Exeter skyline.
This £105 million development in Taunton, (by LHC & Stephen George & Partners LLP) is to deliver a mixed-use scheme with a waterfront setting. To include offices, retail, cinema leisure, restaurants, hotel & new homes, together with associated landscaping, public realm, infrastructure & parking. Initially the Panel was not supportive of the proposals & the scheme was refused by the local authority. Following further input from the Panel the scheme was granted planning permission.
A C2 assisted living community in Devon for Pegasus Life. The Design Review Panel were instructed by East Devon District Council to (EDDC) to provide guidance & feedback during the pre-application design stage. The Design Review Panel reviewed the scheme several times & ultimately supported the high-quality design. EDDC refused the scheme & the proposals were approved at appeal. The Planning Inspector stated the applicant’s engagement with The Design Review Panel as a reason for approval
RIBA award wining development reviewed by The Design Review Panel & now completed on site, the new headquarters for the United Kingdom.Hydrographic Office (UKHO), was designed by AHR. The existing site contained fourteen different buildings, serving a mixture of industrial & office functions. The scheme involves the construction of new office accommodation of around 11,000 m2 & achieves a BREEAM Excellent rating.
A proposal to create a single storey, pavilion restaurant in the historic Exeter Quay by Grainge Architects. First reviewed by The Design Review Panel in 2017. The scheme has obtained planning approval and is currently being constructed on site (due for completion during early 2019)
Leisure Complex by Corstorphine + Wright architects; comprising an 11 screen cinema, 13 restaurant units and a sky bar - 15/00159/FUL Rob Heard, Planning Officer, Plymouth City Council: “The Design Panel Review provided articulate comments that both the Planning Officer and the applicants found useful during the period leading up to the submission of a formal planning application."
An Exceptional and Innovative New Country House (NPPF Para 55) East Devon District Council 14/0088/FUL. The planning consultant for the project, James Ellis, Associate Planner at Rural Solutions Ltd, (www.ruralsolutions.co.uk) has said:- "We would be pleased to recommend the [Devon & Somerset] Design Review Panel to other projects team considering third party review.”
Block of 40 New Apartments Taunton Deane Borough Council 38/13/0420 Architect, Jonathan Scanlan, Director of Reed + Holland Associates:- "It is our honest opinion that the feedback of the Design Review Panel played a significant role in persuading the members of the Committee that the scheme that might otherwise have challenged the views of some of the Committee members ... This experience has demonstrated to us the worth of the Design Review Panel and the contribution that it can make"
Construction & Refurbishment of Exeter’s new Steiner Academy Exeter City Council—13/5108/03 Laura Davies, RIBA, Design Manager at Willmott Dixon Construction Limited:- "...We found the Panel to be most professional and very forthcoming on ideas to better the scheme that didn’t impact on the project’s budget, ... We would certainly recommend the Panel’s input on design and we look forward to working with the Panel again on future projects in the region.”
Paragraph 55 / 80 house designed by McLean Quinlan architects. The proposed house was granted planning approval in 2016 under the “Paragraph 55” exception (now paragraph 80e) having been presented to The Design Review Panel (aka The Devon and Somerset Design Review Panel). https://www.designreviewpanel.co.uk/post/2019/05/29/nppf-paragraph-79-previously-55-house-in-open-countryside-the-design-review-panel-visits
A New Residential Development of 257 Houses Mid Devon District Council 14/01047/MARM Simon Trafford, Area Planning Officer, Mid Devon District Council said: "Without input from the Panel the LPA’s job in terms of persuading and guiding the applicants team to a more acceptable scheme would have been made even harder.”
Petroc College Replacement Teaching Blocks North Devon District Council - 57308 Peregrine Mears, Director at Peregrine Mears Architects Ltd said: " ... Panel members were very enthusiastic about our approach and the way we had developed the proposals... The scheme has definitely improved as a result and the planning application process has been easier. All in all we found the experience to be enjoyable and of real benefit so we would certainly recommend it.”
Aims & Objectives of The Design Review Panel TM
The aim of The Design Review Panel is to improve design quality in the built environment. Its role is to review development proposals and provide feedback to developers, clients and local authorities. Design review is a very valuable opportunity to get additional expert help with the project. Projects will be presented to a Panel with at least 50 years combined experience in all aspects of design and built environment. We want to work with you to make the project as good as it possibly can be, for the benefit of the design team, the client, the local authority, the future users of the project and the public at large.
The Design Review Panel is not there to pass judgment; we aim to provide a constructive conversation about your project, the result of which is better design. The overwhelming majority of people who present to our Design Review Panel find it to be a positive and immensely useful experience.
The objective is to provide an independent, impartial evaluation process, where a multi-disciplinary panel of built environment experts assess the design of significant proposals.
Therefore The Design Review Panel TM:-
will be conducted by an independent panel of multi-disciplinary experts – practitioners with a different range of current experience and expertise in design and construction. As a prerequisite to joining the panel, these practitioners will have demonstrated a track record of good design in their own projects and the skills to appraise schemes objectively.
exists to offer applicants and their design teams with clear and constructive comments and guidance on schemes, aiding their improvement, but not to fundamentally redesign them.
advises and empowers the decision makers on how to improve design quality, so as to meet the needs of their communities and customers.
will support decision makers in resisting poorly designed schemes.
will support applicants and decision makers in gaining planning approval for well designed schemes.
Andy Robbins Service Lead City Development at Exeter City Council and Jenny Clifford, Head of Planning, Economy and Regeneration at Mid Devon District Council share their experinces of working with our independant, impartial and multidiciplinary Design Review Panel.
“The Design Review Panel provides an opportunity for developers and local authorities alike to have access to some of the best built environment practitioners in the region. Working together proactively and passionately we can raise the quality of urban living and conserve and enhance the places that make our County the best in the country.” - Andy Robbins - Development Manager, Exeter City Council