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

Planning Inspectorate Gives Significant Weight to Applicant’s Engagement with The Design Review Pane


The Design Review Panel are delighted to note that Pegasus Life have secured planning permission through public inquiry for a Sarah Wigglesworth Architects scheme for a C2 assisted living community at The Knowle, Sidmouth.


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. Having reviewed the scheme over a number of sessions, ultimately The Design Review Panel were very supportive of what they considered to be a high-quality design. It is excellent to see that the Planning Inspectorate has agreed with the view of The Design Review Panel and given weight to the applicant’s engagement with the Design Review Panel.


The planning application was for an assisted living community for older people comprising extra care units, staff accommodation and communal facilities, including a kitchen, restaurant/bar/café, a well-being suite comprising gym, treatment rooms and pool, a communal lounge and storage facilities; car parking for residents, visitors and staff of the assisted living community; comprehensive landscaping comprising communal and private spaces; and associated groundworks.

The application site was East Devon District Council (EDDC) own office building at The Knowle, Station Road, Sidmouth, Devon, EX10 8HL.

There were a variety of issues considered as part of the inquiry, however the main issues raised were the effect on the character and appearance of the area; the effect on neighbours’ living conditions, with particular regard to loss of privacy and overbearing impact to Hillcrest and overbearing impact on Blue Hayes and Old Walls and the effect on the adjacent grade II listed summerhouse.


The Planning Inspector states that the applicant’s engagement with the, multidisciplinary, Design Review Panel is one of the reasons for approval, the Inspectors decision notice states: -

“The scheme was subject of various consultation events with the public and other interested parties and was amended several times during the course of the planning application to respond to feedback. This includes extensive comments from the Devon Design Review Panel, used by the Council to provide professional advice on design matters. The proposed development has clearly evolved to take such views into account.”

The Inspectors report goes on to concur with the Design Review Panels guidance and feedback given during the pre-application design stage, stating: -

“The development is much larger in scale than the immediately surrounding residential properties, but the proposed design appears to be a response to site circumstances, particularly the highly irregular topography. I have had regard to the high level of concern raised by interested parties and note that the contemporary approach adopted may not be to everyone’s taste. However, I am satisfied that the appeal proposal has evolved through a thorough analysis of the site circumstances and that the development would, overall, make a positive contribution to the character and appearance of the area …

… As such, I find no conflict with Strategy 6, Strategy 48 or Policy D1 of the LP, which support development within built-up areas where compatible with the site and its surroundings; seek to reinforce local distinctiveness, including through the use of local materials; and generally, require high quality design, amongst other things.”


This project provides an excellent example of the benefit of engaging with an independent, impartial, multidisciplinary and expert Design Review Panel as part of the early design / pre application stage of a built environment project.

A well-deserved result for the design team and Pegasus Life.

[For another example of the Planning Inspectorate giving the feedback from The Design Review Panel significant weight, please click here ...]

CGIs done by PreConstruct for PegasusLife

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