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 79 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

Para 79 House by Hawkes Architecture

Para 79 House in Dover Kent by Hawkes Architecture

Rockfish Exeter Quay

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

Pegasus Life Project Sidmouth Devon

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 (www.designreviewpanel.co.uk) 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 2017

Design Review Panel training session carried out in Exeter, Devon in December 2017. The event was extremely well attended and incorporated a mock design review panel session and design workshop

The real life problems of achieving good, large scale, housing design.

Updated: Aug 29, 2019


Many thanks to David Lowin MRTPI, who has provided the excellent blog article below. David is a Chartered Town Planner, the principal of Lowin Associates and 2017 Chair of the RTPI’s South West Region. David is also a Design Review Panel member, attending Design Review Panels across the South West; in Cornwall, Devon (both Plymouth & Exeter), Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire and Swindon.


David Lowin BA, MA, MA 2017 Chairman SW RTPI Principal of Lowin Associates

"In recent times I have been considering the problems in real life of achieving good large scale housing design, particularly from the volume house building sector.

It is not an issue that I have been faced with since the early years of my career in the 1980’s. In those days, before I joined what my current boss in the public sector calls ‘the dark side’, planning applications for housing contained very little information, and outline ones even less. An Ordnance Survey extract with the site edged in red if it was an outline application, and a completed application form, ownership certificate and a set of drawings, house types and layout if a detailed application. No context plan, no design and access statement, no planning statement, no landscape visual impact assessment, in addition it was the early days of the plan led system, so design policy was scarce and there was only really Government circular advice to guide the decision maker. Now here’s the question: were the housing designs coming forward so much worse than today?


The drivers for the applicants have remained the same. Those drivers for the volume producers are adherence to a business model. A business model that views the production of homes as the same as the production of any physical good

I would say from my perspective, no. this is because the drivers for the applicants have remained the same. Those drivers for the volume producers are adherence to a business model. A business model that views the production of homes as the same as the production of any physical good. The producer wishes to know the cost of the product both as a whole and each constituent part, the capital goods employed as well as the labour element. Of course the land cost will vary over the economic cycle and over a geographical area, but the other costs are pretty much known. Next the producer will be able to work out the profit per unit, after deducting finance and administrative costs.

Now the producer who is most normally a limited company will wish to alert shareholders either public or private to the prospects of the firm. The costs and profit will be known per unit of production so setting an output target will allow a forecast to be given to shareholders. Such targets underpin the share price. How does this affect design? ... Well it leads to a very conservative attitude to product design, if the product has sold well in the past, why change it. So volume house builders are often very loathe to introduce new house types which actually respond to a specific areas vernacular design or a specific context. Why should they go down that route and introduce unwanted risk into the achievement of their business plan.