Enlarged design review panel will operate throughout the South East and East of England regions

Design South East is looking for a range of built environment professionals to join its successful regional design review panel for a three year term from September 2014. Applications are also invited for new co-chairs to lead the panel’s work across an expanded region.

The South East Design Panel was established in 2002 and was the first of its kind in England. Since then the Panel has reviewed over 600 schemes, including many of the most significant projects in the South East. Design South East has recently assumed management responsibility for the East of England Design Panel, and the two panels will now be brought together to offer developers and planning authorities across the combined region a broad range of national and international expertise.

The greater south east region – an area known for its outstanding landscape, coasts and historic environment – is facing increasing pressure to accommodate growth and infrastructure. By bringing the two regional panels together, Design South East is providing the very best skills in order to help local planning authorities and the development sector across the expanded region to balance new development with design quality. The South East Panel, for instance, has already advised on hugely significant projects including new settlements and extensions: a workload that will continue to grow as population growth and other factors (including the advent of Ebbsfleet Garden City) continue to drive development across the region.

Through its design review work, Design South East offers an expert and independent review service to local authorities, developers and architects across a combined region that stretches from Oxfordshire, through Kent, to Norfolk. That work is now particularly important, given the concentration of new development in the region and the emphasis placed on design review in the National Planning Policy Framework. Through Design South East, design review is becoming increasingly embedded at the local level too through the development of branches of the regional panel. Such partnerships with local planning authorities will continue and develop, allowing authorities to satisfy the requirement in paragraph 62 of the NPPF that they should have local design review arrangements in place.

Design South East’s place-based approach to design review was presented as exemplary by the Farrell Review, and offered as a successful model as design review becomes further embedded within the planning system.

Design South East is keen to ensure that the new panel has the best available skills to address increasing demand for its services, and to address the wide range of issues thrown up by major development proposals. Applications are sought from experienced individuals working in urban design, architecture, historic building conservation, planning, ecology, environmental policy, transport, engineering and landscape architecture. Meetings are held around the South East region and members are eligible for an attendance fee.

The work of the panel varies from single reviews to long-term project based design panels for major developments. Developers, local authorities and architects alike benefit from the objective and constructive advice provided by the panel and its multidisciplinary approach to placemaking. Schemes reviewed by the panel include the Novium Museum in Chichester, the Brighton Aldridge Community Academy, and urban extensions in Ashford and Thanet.

The South East Design Panel is currently chaired by Paul Koralek, who will be stepping down from the role in September. Bob Allies, currently Chair of the East of England Panel, will continue as a co-chair of the expanded panel and serve alongside other leading industry figures from around the UK.

Potential members should contact Robert Offord (Programme Manager – Design and Planning Support, Design South East) at robert@designsoutheast.org or 01634 401166 for further information and an application pack.

Chris Lamb (Director, Design South East) said:

“The South East Design Panel is hugely respected by a many different people and organisations across the South East and beyond. They value the Panel’s expertise, impartiality and constructive approach, and our ability to address a wide range of projects whatever their scale, type and location. The clarity and consistency of the ‘voice’ of the Panel is valued by public and private sector partners. As design review is increasingly seen as a welcome and integral part of the planning process, we are looking forward to further opportunities for collaboration between applicants, local authorities and communities.

I would also like to pay tribute to Paul Koralek, who is stepping down as Chair of the South East Panel. Under his chairmanship the Panel has grown in strength and stature, and he has managed a growing workload with real commitment. His will be difficult shoes to fill.”

Download the recuitment pack here

Download the application form here

Closing date for applications is Friday 5 September.