Cornwall Design Review Panel

About the Panel

The Cornwall Design Review Panel (CDRP) was relaunched in September 2015.  It uses a pool of external design expertise.  A Panel meeting includes:

  • independent experts especially appointed for this role
  • experienced officers from within the Council as advisors to the Panel
  • the planning case officer, if appointed.

It operates:

  • independently from the development management function of the Council
  • to peer assess a range of new development schemes.

The Panel Chair is Mark Pearson, Head of Design Action.  Mark brings expertise in architecture, urban design and place-making.  The 4 other panellists will be selected from the broad pool of appointed experts.  They cover the full range of design disciplines:

  • Architecture
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Urban Design
  • Historic Environment
  • Sustainable Development
  • Highways and Street Design
  • Transportation and
  • Planning.

The governance of the Panel is supported by:

  • the Royal Institute of British Architects Cornwall Branch
  • the Royal Town Planning Institute and
  • the Landscape Institute.

The purpose of the Design Review Panel is to encourage design excellence in both the public and private sectors. Its role is to:

  • review development proposals within Cornwall and
  • provide constructive guidance to developers, clients and their appointed agents.

The aim is to enhance the quality of the design of significant projects. It should be seen as a forum within which developers, architects and designers are able to test and refine their ideas.

The best use of the CDRP is:

  • maximised at pre-application stage
  • often included in Planning Performance Agreements.

It does not have any statutory planning function in its own right. Its guidance reports are a material consideration for planning case officers.  This is as set out in the NPPF2 Para 129.

The CDRP review development proposals and plans within the context of the statutory planning framework including:


  • assists design teams, planning officers and Councillors
  • assists in their understanding of design principles
  • promotes high quality design
  • encourages the delivery of better schemes
  • identifies and resists poor quality development.

The CDRP also has a wider role in promoting good design. It helps develop an informed and aware community of practitioners in Cornwall. It has a commitment to sustainability and considers the role of design:

  • in relation to the National Planning Policy Framework and
  • its aspiration to create:
    • sustainable development and
    • strong communities.

The Panel considers:

  • the architecture of individual buildings
  • the quality of place
  • its functionality (how a place works) and
  • impact of the proposed development upon the whole site
  • its wider context including:
    • local character
    • quality and sustainability of the existing place of which it will form a new part.

The CDRP examines how the designs contribute to making better places for people.

Unless presenters/promoters request a different approach, we will invite the local Member(s) and a representative from the local council:

  • they attend as observers
  • they will follow any confidentiality requirements. This may be necessary at a pre-application stage.

The CDRP wishes to encourage this as part of our commitment to improve the design education of elected decision-makers involved within the planning process.

Terms of Reference and Panel Guidance

View the full terms of reference for the Design Review Panel and Guidance to Applicants.

View our testimonials for further information.

Meeting dates and venues

Please note: Face-to-face design review meetings are currently suspended.

  • Panel meetings
  • Desktop Reviews
  • Consultation and Desktop Reviews

are currently taking place virtually using Microsoft Teams.

Special meeting

It is possible to arrange a special meeting if none of the scheduled dates are possible. The fee for this will depend on:

  • the proposed event duration
  • availability of Panel Members
  • venue hire etc.  

Please contact Julie Hoare at for more information or to book a review slot.

How to book

Please submit a booking form stating the date you would like to apply for.

A project synopsis form and advance information must be submitted strictly 2 weeks in advance of the Panel.  This is a good example of how to inform the panel about the basic parameters of a project.  Please limit the key visual and written information to a couple of A3 sheets.

Fuller detailed information is presented at the meeting.  We need all information to be included in the review 2 working days ahead of the meeting date.  Full details can be found in the Guidance to Applicants.

Attendance by press/public

Most proposals come to the Panel at the pre-application stage.  The design review process will preserve commercial and other confidentialities:

  • members of the press and public may not attend its meetings
  • panel reports are only published once the project is in the public domain. These guidance reports are made available to the planning case officer dealing with any subsequent application.

NB: There are three other Design Review Panels operating across the South West:

  • the South West Design Review Panel (Creating Excellence)
  • the Design Review Panel (Design Review Ltd)
  • the Local Mobile Design Review Panel (Architecture Centre Devon and Cornwall).

Need help?

Most issues can be resolved online, it's the quickest and most convenient way to get help.

Use our contact us form

Your feedback is important to us

Help us improve our service