Cornwall Design Review Panel


Design review services

Cornwall Council expects all new development to be of the highest quality, and we are committed to raising the standard of design. The Cornwall Design Guide (CDG) 2021 provides a guide to delivering high quality places in Cornwall. This recognises the important role that the Design Review Panel plays in embedding great design practice. The CDG follows the National Design Guide and includes:

  • the ten characteristics of good design and
  • links to the new National Model Design Code.

Cornwall Council and Neighbourhood Plan groups will progress design codes in due course.

The DRP has a key role.  It:

  • provides independent commentary to applicants, committees and case officers
  • helps them prepare or determine applications that fulfil policy expectations in spirit and detail
  • creates opportunities to inform future policy development. 

We have invited Design West to set up the new Cornwall Design Review Panel (CDRP).  An independent body comprising architects, urban designers, landscape architects, engineers, transport planners, heritage experts and other design-related professionals. Panel members have a local interest and recognised expertise in their field to provide design support in the assessment of development proposals.

Design Review & the National Planning Policy Framework

The National Planning Policy Framework paragraph 133 requires local planning authorities to have regard for the outcome of design-led processes.  This includes recommendations made by design review panels. Establishing the new CDRP will ensure consistent advice across Cornwall.

How it works

Design reviews benefit:

  • the applicant
  • their design team
  • the local planning authority

by allowing them to contribute to a panel discussion. Other statutory consultees may be invited such as the Highway Authority. If applicable, agencies such as Historic England, Natural England or the Environment Agency may attend.

The meetings will be held where possible at Council offices or online.

Before the review

The CDRP will:

  • request information on the background of a scheme in advance
  • invite the applicant’s team to present their proposal to the panel.

After the presentation

The CDRP will ask clarification questions and then discuss the scheme’s design. The Panel Chair will coordinate the discussion and summarise recommendations at the end of the review. Applicants will receive a report within ten working days from the date of the meeting.

For first-time design review schemes, we arrange a site visit immediately before the review. The applicant’s team should lead the site visit. If there is a follow-up review, we will try to ensure that the same panel members attend for consistency. 

The Elected Division Member and Parish Council will normally be invited to observe the CDRP. Please contact us to discuss arrangements for confidential pre-application submissions.

How to submit a scheme for review

The service applies to all pre-application submissions for:

  • major schemes and
  • other proposals where the development is considered sensitive in its setting.

Design review may also be recommended for submitted applications. Planning Officers will advise whether your scheme is appropriate for design review.  They will refer you to Design West to discuss the process.

The costs are:

  • £2,500 + VAT for a 1.5 hour session
  • £3,950 + VAT for a 4-hour session
  • £4,950 + VAT for a 6-hour session

Book a design review

For more information about this service, contact Jo Widdecombe at Design West

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