Getting the best out of design review

Design review with a local focus

Urban Vision offers a Design Review Service which is well-informed, constructive, and truly local.  Urban Vision's Design Review Panel has a combination of national experts and experienced professionals, who also have extensive local knowledge.  Our Panel members have been involved in the local area for many years and know North Staffordshire well.  Our Panel managers have considerable experience in working for and with local planning authorities in North Staffordshire, and understand how local authorities work.

Arranging an Urban Vision Design Review Panel Meeting

Our Panel meetings are arranged by request.  To programme a meeting we need 2 to 3 weeks' notice, which allows us to co-ordinate the diaries of the 5 professionals involved.  Panel meetings are always held in the morning, which ensures the best light for the site visit during the winter months.  If you would like to arrange a Design Review Panel meeting, contact us by phone on 01538 386221 or email

Before the Design Review Panel Meeting

The drawings, plans and supporting documents which describe the proposal must be received by Urban Vision one week before the date of the Panel meeting.  This allows us time to circulate the material to the Panel members, and for them to familiarise themselves with it before the Panel meeting.

The Urban Vision Design Review Service includes an unaccompanied site visit for every review done by the Panel, which is carried out immediately before the Panel meeting.  This ensures that before making comments and giving advice the Panel is aware of the physical context of each development proposal it considers.  As a result the Panel’s advice is relevant, practical and up-to-date. 

The Design Review Meeting

After introductions, the review session begins with a presentation of the development proposal by the architect, design team or developer.  Individual Panel members then ask questions to clarify their understanding of the proposal.  Then each Panel member in turn make comments and gives advice on the scheme.  Finally the Panel chair sums up the Panel’s in his or her concluding remarks.  Each individual review takes 30 to 45 minutes.

The Design Review report

The Panel’s comments and recommendations are summarized in a written report which is issued within five working days of the Panel meeting.  The report is sent to the architect or developer, and at the same time to the relevant local authority.  The report summarises the Panel’s comments and makes specific recommendations as to how the design of the scheme could be improved.  The design review report is used by the local planning authority in its negotiations with the developer, and is a material consideration in determining the planning application.

Early review is best

To get the best out of design review, proposals should be referred to the Panel at a relatively early stage, certainly before much detailed work has been done on the scheme.  When schemes are at an early stage of development it is a lot easier to take suggestions and new ideas on board, if these improve the scheme. 

Development proposals which have been through design review and have responded positively to the Panel’s recommendations are well placed to satisfy the local planning authority’s design requirements.  Quite often the planning case officer attends the panel meeting and can hear the Panel’s views first hand.

Return to the Design Review Overview page here.

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