Reviewing your designs

The Design Enabling Panel encourages design excellence by reviewing customers designs

We launched The Design Enabling Panel (DEP) in 2014, to encourage design excellence across the district. The Design Enabling panel allows customers to review their designs and to make improvements to the design to make it better overall.
We have already successfully reviewed over 70 schemes.

The National Planning Policy Framework (2012) required Local Planning Authorities to have local design panel in place to provide design assessment and support ensuring high standards of design are achieved in development proposals. 

Reviewing your design

A design review often saves money and time by identifying and resolving design issues and helping to speed up the planning process.

It also gives Local Authorities, developers and their design teams confidence that they have had the best possible independent advice on design quality.    


The independent panel draws on a pool of trained external design experts.  The panel is a way of testing and refining proposed ideas through peer assessment. This provides constructive advice to design teams enabling them to enhance the design quality and promote the growth of sustainable communities.

The Design Enabling Panel Members

The panel is made up of 30 qualified design experts who have delivered high profile successful schemes across the south east of England and they understand the development pressures faced in this area. 

Their experience covers;

  • Architecture
  • landscape design
  • urban design
  • historic environment
  • sustainability.

When to use the design enabling panel?

We encourage proposals to be brought to the panel at pre-application stage, when designs are still fluid. 

Presenting proposals early on in the design process will give design teams time to respond to panel advice and address any design concerns prior to the finalisation of proposals. This can provide assurance to the applicant and help reduce risks, delay and costs further down the planning process. 

It is expected that all major and significant development will be brought to the panel. 

Applicants are welcome to use the panel more than once.
It may be beneficial for complex or schemes within a sensitive location to be presented at an initial concept stage, and then again as the design is more advanced.

Useful Pages

Using the design enabling service
SCDC DEP Referral Form April 2018
Core principles
DEP meeting dates for 2018
Referral criteria

Contact Details