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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.

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.

Design Review Panel
Session Format
Depending on the option selected when booking, sessions are between 90 minutes and 4 hours long. The Panel will strictly adhere to the session times, to ensure one session does not run into another.




At each session the Panel will be made up of a range of built environment professionals;  the administrator/chairperson and several other rotating Panel members, who will be selected from a pool of expert volunteers.


Any Design Review Panel is only as good as its members. It is therefore crucial to have the right mix of skills and experience to provide clear, objective advice. In recognition of this, the Panel pool includes built environment professionals from a range of disciplines. This enables panel members with the appropriate skill set and experience to be selected for the scheme being reviewed. 


The Design Review Panel pool includes, architects, urban designers, landscape architects, conservation specialists, ecological or sustainability experts, civil engineers, structural engineers, chartered surveyors, independent town planners and arboriculturalists. For details of The Design Review Panel members, Click here ...



Design Review Timing


Ideally, schemes will be submitted to the panel at the pre-application stage of the planning process. This is the best time to take advantage of a review, whilst the design is still fluid. This can help proposers to identify the design aspects of schemes that should be improved. This in turn may help the applicant and local authority to resolve design issues before the application is submitted, saving both the applicant and the Local Authority time and expense.


The design review process will be treated as a conversation about work in progress, not a verdict on an outcome.


The review may precede the pre-application meeting with the planners, but it will usually follow it, when wider policy matters have been aired.


Leaving review until the planning application stage is possible, but may make it more difficult for the design team to make changes.

Information for the Panel


There is no set requirement for the level of information to be submitted in advance of a panel session, or the content of the presentation made to the panel. However, in order to gain the maximum benefit from The Design Review Panel session, it is recommended that the project team provide as much information as possible. Click here, for a guide to the information to be provided ... 


Presentation to the Panel ...

Applicants or the design team present their scheme. They may do this in whatever format that they wish, (e.g. Powerpoint presentation, physical model or display boards). Clear and detailed presentations that explore the wider context will enable a more beneficial review process. Presenters will be expected to bring their own laptops, projectors, power cables etc. Click here for a guide on suggested information to be provided to the Panel as part of the presentation.


Questions & Discussion ...

Having watched the presentation and made notes, the Panel members will be given the opportunity, in turn, to ask questions of the presenters. These questions may lead to further discussion, but in-depth feedback will not be given at this stage.


Private Panel Consideration ...

Once each of the Design Review Panel members have asked their questions, everyone other than the Panel members (including the applicant, design team and any local authority representatives) will be asked to leave the room. The Panel will then confer privately with each other, thoroughly discussing their thoughts.


Panel Summary & Feedback ...

The presenters and local authority representatives will then be asked to return to the room. The Design Review Panel Chairperson will verbally summarise the comments made by the Panel in a clear and constructive manner. Each of the Panel members will then be given the opportunity to make final comments. This verbal summary does not constitute the Panel's formal feedback and applicants and the local authority should await the Feedback Document. At this stage the Design Review Panel session is concluded. The Panel Administrator will amalgamate the notes from the meeting and produce a clear actionable written report that will be provided in a pdf digital format via email to the person who made the booking, either the applicant or the relevant local authority (LA) planning department via the designated planning officer. 

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