The Design Review Panel

What is the Design Review Panel?

If you propose to make large scale new developments in Guildford, you can get advice from the Design Review panel. Design South East organise the panel. It's made up of professionals who have expertise in:

  • architecture
  • urban design
  • landscape planning
  • building conservation
  • transport planning
  • sustainability

The panel's recommendations help improve the design quality of new developments. We strongly encourage developers to use the panel before applying for planning permission. The panel can continue offering design advice after an application too.

We recommend design reviews for any significant schemes in the area. These include:

  • developments which incorporate 100 or more new homes.
  • developments which exceed 10,000 square metres of development floor space
  • developments which are in important locations or are very complex

The review process does not replace our pre-application advice service. It's usually only appropriate if your proposal also requires a pre-application enquiry. 

What can the panel help with?

The panel will select members from a group of experts who provide independent and impartial advice. Their review will help:

  • improve the quality and functionality of development proposals
  • resolve design issues which could be contentious
  • anticipate problems and provide solutions
  • ensure your proposals move smoothly through the planning process
  • give supportive criticism on your design ideas and help you develop them
  • reduce the costs of your design ideas

What is the design review process?

Identifying schemes for review

First, we'll decide if a design review would be useful for your project. We'll discuss this with you as soon as practical. If possible, we'll suggest how long the process will take and highlight the costs. We usually recommend design reviews for any projects which will impact the local environment. This could be because of:

  • how big the development is
  • what the development will be used for
  • where the development will take place
  • if the development will be more important than its size, use and location suggest

Discussions with Design South East

If you choose to use the panel, we'll discuss your scheme with Design South East. We'll agree on the scope and cost of their review and find out how soon they can begin discussing your project. Design South East send the form and contract to the council's planning officer. We'll pass these on to you.

Submitting the contract with drawings

You'll need to send Design South East the following:

  • the signed contract
  • completed forms
  • scheme drawings

The contract could be between Design South East and us, or between Design South East and you. If the contract is between Design South East and us, you'll need to pay us back for the cost of the review.

Once you've done this, Design South East will confirm the date of their review. We'll contact the invitees and Design South East will contact you to make sure the panel have all the information they need. We will also liaise with Design South East to arrange site visits.

Feedback from the review

After the panel have met, you'll get a letter which explains:

  • what they discussed
  • what advice they've given

We'll also get a copy of the letter.


To apply for the panel's advice, email or phone us on 01483 505050.