WHY is there a need for a Design Panel?
The National Planning Policy Framework places high quality design within its core principles; it suggests a local review panel as one way of helping to secure quality.
Prior to the establishment of the Panel, not all Gloucestershire authorities had access to local design review. So, the Panel sits below national and regional review arrangements, but is able to consider locally significant proposals – filling a gap in provision for those planning authorities with no panel and supplementing the detailed level of provision available to those with a panel.
WHEN should the panel be involved?
Review can take place at anytime in the design process – but ideally proposals should come before the Panel at an advanced pre-application stage, when they are sufficiently well-developed to give a focus for comment; but not so well developed that it is too late for alterations.
WHAT indicates ‘Design Quality’?
A well designed building and place:
- is fit for its purpose
- responds positively to the site, its history and its surroundings
- respects the needs of its users, the wider community and the environment
- is visually pleasing, enjoyable to use and engenders local pride
HOW will we decide whether a building and place is well designed?
Considered, using criteria which help us to assess the indicators. We will expect to see:
- A clear summary of the requirements and aims of the Design
- A clear understanding of the site and its context and its history
- A clear representation of the design intent
- meets the brief
- responds positively to the design issues
- respects its intended users, the wider community and the
- is visually pleasing and likely to be enjoyable to use and
The Panel does not have the resources to review all schemes, so reviews are at the Panel’s discretion. Projects will normally be significant by nature of their scale, their impact, their sensitivity or because they are likely to set a precedent for future proposals.Projects for review can be proposed by the developer, the planning authority or members of the public. Occasionally, the Panel itself may invite a scheme for review.
A Panel of five or six is selected for each review from the pool of designers available – so that there is an appropriate mix of skills and backgrounds available on the day. The Panel is selected to avoid conflicts of interest – Panel members are required to declare any interest in advance of the meeting so that replacements can be drafted in. A representative from the local Planning Authority will be invited to attend.
Design information should be summarised and manageable and must be received at least 2 weeks prior to the review meeting so that Panel members can give considered though to the project. At least one Panel member will visit the site prior to the meeting.
The applicant will receive in advance, more detailed information about the review format and will be notified of any deficiencies in the information supplied.
Each review will last about an hour:
- 15 minutes presentation
- 30 minutes discussion with the developer
- 10 minutes for the Panel to discuss the scheme and
- 5 minutes feedback
Facilities will be available for projection of computerised information. A written response will be sent to the developer’s agent and the planning authority within 5 working days indicating the Panel’s support or otherwise for the scheme and giving a commentary on its views.