Design review of developments

Local planning authorities should have local design review arrangements in place to provide assessment and support to ensure high standards of design. They should also when appropriate refer major projects for a national design review. In general, early engagement on design produces the greatest benefits. In assessing applications, local planning authorities should have regard to the recommendations from the design review panel.

National Planning Policy Framework

Design review is an independent and impartial evaluation process in which a panel of experts assess the design of a build proposal. The process is designed to improve the quality of buildings and places for the benefit of the public.

The review is conducted by expert practitioners with:

  • current experience in design and development
  • a record of good design in their own projects
  • skills to be able to appraise schemes objectively

Good design review:

  • offers feedback and observations that will lead to the improvement of schemes (but doesn't redesign them)
  • gives decision makers the confidence and information to support innovative, high quality designs (that meet the needs of their communities and customers) and to resist poorly designed schemes
  • seeks to improve the quality of architecture, urban design, landscape and highway design
  • follows the 10 principles of design review

We'll discuss the possibility of your build proposal or scheme being referred to the Design Review Panel at an early stage in your development proposal, preferably as part of pre-application discussions. More details on this referral, including terms of reference and panel members are available on the Design Review Panel and South West Design Review Panel websites.