London Borough of Croydon has announced the creation of a ’place’ review panel to review planning applications before they are assessed by its planning committee
The multidisciplinary team will provide advice on urban design, architecture, planning, landscape architecture, conservation, engineering, placemaking and culture.
The 20-strong panel will be made up of industry professionals and will assess all major schemes submitted to the council for planning. The south London borough is anticipating a development pipeline worth £5 billion in the coming years.
Paul Scott, chair of the council’s planning committee, said: ‘The council has recently seen the delivery of several new high-quality built environment schemes, and this review panel will take us a step closer to our goal, as well as hopefully speeding up approvals and therefore saving time and expense for developers.’
The council said that the panel would enhance, rather than replace the current design guidance provided in pre-application discussions by its placemaking and development management teams.
In 2014, the Farrell Review said that replacing design review panels with place review panels would ‘ensure that all aspects of the built environment are given equal consideration’.
Croydon last year announced that it had created an in-house architecture practice to design housing schemes across the borough.
The move bucked the trend of recent decades, which has seen councils closing architects departments.