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Design review - A new initiative for high quality development

30th August 2016

Design review - A new initiative for high quality development

On 23rd Feb.2015, GBC announced they have secured agreement with Design South East - an independent, not for profit, provider of expert design advice - to refer proposals for new development within the borough to the South East Design Review Panel whose specialists provide design advice during the pre and post application stage of development. This initiative is noted with interest by The Guildford Society which in its response to the Consultation Draft Local Plan had called for a  a Design Panel. Having advocated such a step, GSOC look forward to learning more about the function and purpose of the DSE remit.

The Design Review Panel offers constructive criticism and recommendations to secure a higher quality of design in new development.  It comprises professionals with expertise in architecture, urban design, landscape planning, building conservation, transport planning and sustainability.  From now on, we will refer appropriate schemes to the panel for their advice. Cllr Stephen Mansbridge, Leader of Guildford Borough Council, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to secure expert design advice from some of the most influential and respected professionals in the industry. We are confident that the involvement of the Panel will drive up the quality of design for large-scale new developments.  The Council is committed to ensuring that new development is of the highest quality of design and our association with Design South East is testament to that objective.”

Julian Lyon, Chair of The Guildford Society, commented: "We warmly welcome this initiative and the focus on quality design and great place-making it should bring. We have been critical of the lack of independent design scrutiny in the past and we will look forward to working with GBC and Design South East to help make Guildford's new buildings better by design." Robert Offord, of Design South East, said: "Design Review from Design South East provides expert, independent advice on great architecture and placemaking to developers and local authorities. We look forward to working with Guildford Borough Council to help ensure the high quality of the built environment for future generations.”

Click here  to read the Joint statement to the Review Panel from GSOC and GVG
Click here to read supporting comments to the Joint Statement
Click here to read our views on Guildford's Special Character