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Bishop review: time to pay up for design review

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Design Council CABE (DCC) has been urged to abandon its top-down approach to design review and start charging developers for the service

According to the findings of a new independent report, design review should be funded through planning fees and conducted locally.

The six month-long review was led by former London Development Agency deputy chief executive Peter Bishop and comes almost exactly one year after CABE’s funding was pulled.

Other recommendations include empowering others to deliver ‘good design’ and to work with partner bodies, such as the RIBA, RICS and the RTPI.

The eight affiliated panels and 55 local panels could carry out paid-for design reviews ‘regardless of project size’, while the national panel is expected to refocus on ‘themed topic reviews’. A new London review panel could also be set up, if the review’s recommendations are followed.

In response, the British Property Federation (BPF) said the property industry supported paying for design review ‘in principle’. However, Liz Peace, chief executive of the BPF, said: ‘While we welcome these high-level aspirations, we’re not prepared to support developers paying for design review without further consideration of how this process will actually work.

‘We would need assurance regarding the materiality of design review recommendations in the planning process and on the funding, governance and transparency of design review.’

Released on Tuesday (18 October), the review argues for a new focus on emerging ‘next practice’ and research into housing, the environment and demographic change.

Bishop review

Bishop review

The 50-page Bishop Review sets out a vision for DCC as anindustry ‘centre of excellence’ and ‘key advisor’ to the government on design in the built environment.

Bishop said: ‘If we are to leave a lasting legacy for future generations, then all the major bodies and institutions need to come together to build a national infrastructure where good design can flourish at all levels.

‘In this respect, the DCC has a key strategic role as a facilitator, as a champion and as a principal advisor to government.’

The report comes a year and a half before the remaining design review funds from the Department for Communities and Local Government run dry, and eight months after CABE merged with the Design Council, forced after CABE lost £5 million of its core funding. At the time, the combined organisation’s chief executive David Kester promised to ‘press the reset button’ on the design review process.






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