Reviewing your designs
Design Enabling Panel
We launched The Design Enabling Panel (DEP) in 2014, to encourage design excellence across the district. The Design Enabling panel enables customers to review their desings making the design better, we have already successfully reviewed over 70 schemes.
The National Planning Policy Framework (2012) required Local Planning Authorities to have local design panels in place to provide design assessment and support to ensure high standards of design are achieved in development proposals. 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 a peer assessment which provides constructive advice to design teams 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 who understand the development pressures faced in this area. Their experience covers architecture, landscape design, urban design, historic environment and sustainability.
When to use the 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, so 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.