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Urban Design Compendium

Case Study 008 - Improving design quality

008 - Design Review

        The draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) places good design at the heart of the delivery of sustainable communities. This makes it essential for local authorities to have access to reliable and locally-led design support in the planning decision process. Design review provides a cost-effective method of delivering design advice to developers, local authorities and other organisations and could play an important role in realising the design quality aspirations set out in the NPPF.

The process of design review allows developers and their design teams to present ideas and concepts at the preapplication stage to a panel of respected and experienced built environment professionals that come from a range of disciplines. Design review panels from all parts of England are affiliated with Design Council CABE to ensure consistency in the advice provided. In Scotland, Architecture and Design Scotland provides a design review service.

For local authorities, design review provides an opportunity to improve the quality of schemes coming forward in their locality, for architects and designers it is an opportunity to develop their plans, drawing on the range of expertise that is available within the panel. Developers may benefit from the process by raising the quality and profitability of the schemes as well as helping them progress through the planning process. For all those involved in the process it can provide a valuable conversation about design, raising capacity and understanding.

Reviewing schemes at the pre-application stage offers the best opportunity to easily incorporate feedback into designs. This saves developers time and money, with the knowledge that they are getting quality advice to help evolve the design, but also establish consensus between all those involved, acting as a neutral party between the developers and local authority. 

       Other Information


UDC2 Section - Sowing the Seed 

Presenting to the MADE design review panel in the Midlands.

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