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The Forum Exeter, Devon

An RIBA south west award wining building at Exeter University in Devon; The Forum. This building benefited from design review during the design and pre-planning stage

Design Review Panel Training 2018

Design Review Panel training session carried out in Taunton and the Somerset County Cricket Ground in November 2018. The event was extremely well attended by local authority representatives, house builders and design team members

Exeter Quay by Jonathan Braddick

Photograph of Exeter Quay taken by Architect and Design Review Panel Manager Jonathan Braddick. The Design Review Panel holds regular design review panel sessions at Exeter City Council

Design Review Panel Training 2018

Design Review Panel training event 2018. Jonathan Tricker, Highways Engineer, Urban Designer & Director at Phil Jones Associates, gave a talk entitled: ‘Highway Design in Placemaking’

Steiner School Exeter

The design review Panel was engaged by Willmott Dixon during the pre-application design stage of the project to help them prepare a design that would be acceptable to the local authority

Design Review Panel Site Visit Poole

Photograph from a 2018 design review panel site visit carried out in Dorset in 2018. A full sit down design review panel was subsequently held in the Poole Borough Council Offices

North Grays Farm Para 80 House

External visualization for a NPPF paragraph 55 (now 79) house that was presented to the design review panel. This project has subsequently gone on to achieve planning permission and is now built on site

Design Review Panel Training 2017

Design Review Panel training session carried out in Exeter, Devon in December 2017. The event was extremely well attended by local authority representatives, house builders and design team members

Exeter Quay - Rockfish Restaurant

A small but sensitive project in Exeter Quay; The Rockfish Restaurant has been designed by Grainge Architects who engaged with The Design Review Panel during the design & pre -application planning stage

Extra Care Development by Sarah Wigglesworth Architects

Pegasus Life secured planning permission through public inquiry for a Sarah Wigglesworth Architects scheme for a C2 assisted living community at The Knowle, Sidmouth, Devon. The Design Review Panel ( were instructed by East Devon District Council (EDDC) to provide multidisciplinary, expert, independent and impartial guidance and feedback to the local authority, applicant and design team during the pre-application design stage.

Plymouth Hoe

Photograph of Plymouth Hoe, Devon. The Design Review Panel holds regular design review panel sessions at Plymouth City Council

Design Review Panel Training

Design Review Panel training session carried out in Exeter, Devon. The event was extremely well attended and incorporated a mock design review panel session and design workshop.

Additional Terms of Reference

Conflicts of Interest 


The Design Review Panel provides a constructive pre-application forum for developers and their design teams seeking design guidance at an early stage of development proposals. In order to ensure the Panel’s independence and professionalism, it is essential that Design Review Panel members avoid any conflicts of interest that might arise in relation to schemes that come before them during the reviews. The following policies and procedures therefore apply:


  • Conflicts of interests by Panel members should be formally recorded, ideally in advance of each meeting.


  • Panel members are notified of the schemes coming before the Panel at least a week in advance. It is expected that at this time, Panel members should declare any possible interest in a project to the Panel administrator by email:


  • Design officers, in collaboration with the Design Review Panel Chair and other local authority officers, will determine if the conflict of interest is of a prejudicial nature.


  • A Panel member has a prejudicial interest in a proposal if he or she has:

  • financial, commercial or professional interest in a project, its client and / or its site;

  • a personal relationship with either the site or an individual or group involved in the project, where that relationship prevents the Panel member from being objective.


  • If it is deemed that a conflict of interest is of a prejudicial nature, the Panel member will not participate in reviews for the proposal. He or she will not take part in private discussions in connection with the project, and will not be in the room during the discussions about the project.


  • If it is deemed that a conflict of interest is of a non-prejudicial nature, the Panel member may be allowed to participate in the review. In this situation, the interest will be noted at the beginning of the review, discussed with the presenting design teams and formally recorded in the final report.


  • If a Panel member reviews a scheme, he or she should not comment on the proposal in any other formal capacity, for example through a public consultation exercise.


  • If a member is approached to become involved in projects that have been presented to The Design Review Panel which they sat on, it is suggested they should not do so for a period of at least one year after the last review session they took part in.


Site Visits 


A site visit can be arranged prior to presentation to the Design Review Panel and this can be booked as a session in the normal way. For smaller project proposals, a site visit may not occur prior to the review. In such cases, detailed site contextual information will need to be included in the briefing information. In general, site visits will not be required for second reviews, unless major contextual or other changes have occurred since the last review. 

Confidentiality Requirements 


The following procedures apply:


  • Panel meetings are only to be attended by the Design Review Panel members, local authority officers, and officers from statutory bodies involved in the project, as well as the developer and their design team. If any additional individual is to be in attendance, it should be approved by the Panel Chair and officers.


  • Panel members shall keep confidential all information provided to them as part of their role on the Design Review Panel, and shall not use that information for their own benefit, nor disclose it to any third party (with the exception of reports that are in the public domain – see points below).


  • The Panel’s advice is provided in the form of a report written by the Design Review Panel Chair, containing the key points arrived at during discussion by the Panel. If any developer, architect, or agent approaches a Panel member for advice on a scheme subject to review (before, during or after), then they should decline to comment and refer the inquiry to the relevant local authority. This should not limit Panel members from professionally working on projects within the local authority. However if such a scheme comes up for review, that Panel member should not be involved and must declare a conflict of interest.


  • Following the meeting, the Design Review Panel chair writes a draft report, circulates it to the Design Review Panel members in attendance for comments, and then makes amendments, as required. The Chair then forwards the report to the refering party, who may then distribute to all relevant stakeholders. Until that time, the report remains confidential.


  • If the proposal is at the pre-application stage, then the report is not made public and is only shared with the relevant local authority, the developer and design team, and any other statutory bodies involved in the project.


  • If the proposal is reviewed at the application stage or once a reviewed scheme is submitted as a planning application, the report becomes a public document and is kept within the proposal’s case file. However, only the final report is made public. Any other information from the Panel meeting that is not expressed in this report remains confidential.


  • If a Design Review Panel member wishes to share a final report with a third party, they must seek approval from the relevant refering party, who will confirm whether or not the report is public. 



Panel Members Presenting to the Panel


Situations may arise where a Panel Member or their company/employer is required to present a project to the Panel as the applicant/applicant’s representative. In this situation the Panel member is not acting as a Design Review Panel member, but in the capacity as the applicant/applicant’s representative. Panel Members may attend meetings as part of a team presenting a project; however they should not attend any other part of the same meeting in their capacity as a Panel Member.

We offer both 'in-person' and online sessions. 

Site visits can be carried out 'in-person' or online using 360 degree virtual photographic tours (click here to see an example).Sessions should be booked using our online booking system.

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