The Local Authority may sometimes suggest that an applicant seeks an independent view on the quality of the design of their proposals, to assist both the applicant and the Council in the decision making process.
Particularly sensitive schemes, such as larger proposals or single dwellings proposed under Paragraph 79 of the National Policy Planning Framework (NPPF), are likely to benefit from being reviewed by the RIBA Suffolk Design Review Panel at pre-application stage. These may include schemes proposed for Conservation Areas, within the Suffolk Coasts and Heath AONB, in the settings of Listed Buildings, of great local interest or of significant contention (ranging from single houses to estate-scale layouts). However any scheme may be brought forward for review if desired.
The RIBA Suffolk Design Review Panel is an independent body comprised of experts from across the built environment professions, with the fundamental aim to promote and encourage high standards in design of the built environment in Suffolk.
The Panel was established in 2012 in response to the advice given in NPPF where Paragraph 62 states that;
“Local planning authorities should have local design review arrangements in place to provide assessment
and support to ensure high standards of design. They should also when appropriate refer major projects for a national design review.”
Further information on the panel can be found on their website: Suffolk Design Review Panel.
Following a short presentation on the scheme usually involving both the applicant and the local authority, a discussion is carried out by the Design Review Panel, after which a short report is produced.
Such information can be useful in verifying the quality of a design and can assist in improving and refining a scheme, with the report taken into account by the local authority when determining the application.