Supporting the planning and delivery of high-quality new places



From our work with councils across London and the wider South East, we recognise that many local authorities are faced with the challenge of securing design quality without the necessary in-house capacity. Councillors increasingly want to be sure that they are receiving sufficiently high-quality recommendations, even for smaller schemes, in order to achieve the high quality of design that residents deserve. Officers need design support.

Design South East is here to help.


  • Virtual design surgery sessions enable case officers to obtain design advice on smaller proposals that would not normally be brought to a design review panel.
  • A cost-effective source of expert and appropriate design advice on a case by case basis.

Scheme sizes and types considered appropriate for a design surgery:

  • Small scale: residential extensions, new dwellings (up to 5 units), details applications (materials), house conversions
  • Medium scale: new dwellings (6-10 units), heritage-sensitive matters, commercial proposals of up to 1000sqm
  • Large scale: new dwellings (10-50 units) and larger commercial proposals

This list is not exhaustive, and we will advise on which service you need for a complex scheme. For a scheme larger than 50 units we may advise a design review or workshop session.


The booking process is quick and easy:

  • fill in a form with key details about the scheme, including a brief description of the proposal, key concerns, statutory planning constraints, application reference and determination date (if applicable).
  • upload files to be reviewed in advance, such as pre-application documents or Design and Access Statements.
  • online payment by local authority, who can either cover the cost themselves or pass on the cost to the applicant as part of the pre-application process or through PPAs.
  • notes in bullet-point format delivered to the case officer within 5 working days.


If this service is of interest to you and for more information, please get in touch: