The Places Matter! Northwest Design Review Panel has joined with seven other regional design review services to affiliate with the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE). This will create a national network of design review panels, providing all local planning authorities with access to independent practical design advice. The network (including CABE) will collectively review more than 800 schemes a year.
Affiliation means that there is an agreement defining shared values, a shared service, and a joint commitment to high standards in design review. It will ensure that the panels work more closely together, learning is shared, and a consistent service is provided to developers and planners across England.
Design Review is a respected method of improving the quality of built environment development proposals by offering constructive, impartial and expert advice to developers, planning authorities and regional agencies on development schemes. Design Review is entered into by agreement at an early stage in the development process. It aims to be constructive in its recommendations.
To date, the Places Matter! Northwest Design Review panel has reviewed schemes from over three quarters of the 42 Authorities in the Northwest. We have commented on a wide range of schemes, from BSF Schools to bridges and other infrastructure, housing developments to parks, public spaces and visitor centres – we are looking at every type of project whether it be a redevelopment or a brand new building or proposal, masterplan or strategic design document.
Richard Simmons, CABE chief executive, comments: “Design review panels have proved themselves to be a great success story in England. Just look at the Falmer Academy in Brighton, for example, where the comments made by the South East regional design panel have resulted in a really imaginative planning application. Affiliation is recognition of the high quality service provided by regional panels and it will ensure that more schemes benefit from the best possible design advice.”
Martin Stockley, Chair of the Places Matter! Northwest Design Review Panel, says: “This affiliation recognises the valuable role of a regional perspective in design review and is an affirmation of the shared quality values of regional panels and CABE. Places Matter! are delighted to have had a key role in bringing this affiliation to fruition.”
Affiliation will also contribute to the government’s commitment, as set out in World Class Places (the government’s strategy for improving quality of place) to strengthen advisory support on design quality for local authorities, the public sector and developers. The strategy, published in May, sets out to ensure that regional support for quality of place, including design review, is strengthened.
The affiliation only applies to design review and not to other services on offer from any of the organisations.
The eight regional design review panels that have affiliated to CABE are: the South East design review panel (run by the Kent Architecture Centre); the South West design review panel (run by Creating Excellence); the North East design review panel (run by Ignite); the North West design review panel (run by Places Matter!); the West Midlands design review panel (run by MADE); the East Midlands design review panel (run by Opun); the East of England design review panel (run by Inspire East); and the Yorkshire and Humber design review panel (run by Integreat Yorkshire).