The panel is selected for each review to ensure there is an appropriate mix of skills and backgrounds available on the day and are required to declare any conflict-of-interest advance of the meeting.


Each panel member is a qualified professional in their field, selected to get the right blend of skills for the scheme being reviewed and give advice that will be clear, objective, and impartial.


It is an essential part of the design review that the right mix of professionals are engaged to provide a rounded view. These may include architects, landscape architects, urban designers, planners, conservation consultants, transport consultants and environmental consultants etc.


The panel are independent and are free to give advice to all parties whether it is the planning officer or the developer. If the scheme is at a pre-application stage, any information is kept confidential and will not be shared with the wider public. 


The panel have a general debate without the applicant and then discuss their recommendations with the client towards the end of the meeting.  The notes are signed off by the chair of the meeting and sent to the developer, design team, local authority, or anyone else that has been involved in the design review meeting. There may be occasions when a panel member is required to present a project to the panel as the applicant, and in this situation, the panel member may not attend the meeting or be part of the process as a panel member and is solely the applicant. 


The panel reviews schemes that are significant by nature of their scale, impact, sensitivity, or because they are likely to set a precedent for future proposals. Projects can be proposed by the developer, planning authority or members of the public. 


A review can take place at any time in the design process, but to gain the maximum benefit from the design review session, it is recommended that the proposal should come before the Panel at an advanced pre-application stage, whilst the designs are sufficiently well-developed to give focus for comment, but not so well developed that it’s too late for alterations. This helps resolve design issues before the application is submitted, saving both the applicant and the Local Authority time and expense. 


The panel does not make decisions, its role is to offer impartial expert advice. The panel is selected to give different perspectives and may give both positive and negative feedback.


Panel members use their expertise and professional judgement to give advice and recommendations. A range of professionals are used to provide different perspectives of the scheme and will consider all aspects of the schemes impact on its surroundings.

Accessible / understandable

The written report should be a concise summary of the discussions held at the review and should not include acronyms and jargon.