Advice and practical support with the development of planning policies and plans, including the production of development briefs for major sites.
“The presentation by the developers was followed by rigorous questioning by a well-informed Panel”
Swale Borough Council
“The Panel’s comments added considerable weight to the Council’s concerns about the original proposals for the site”
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council
“It confirmed the weaknesses we were aware of ourselves but came up with useful ways of addressing the issue”
“Very useful, it gave credence to our own opinions about the design quality of the scheme and has prompted the developer to withdraw the scheme and start again with a new design team”
“It was a very worthwhile experience involving SERDP, and helped Officers and Members reach a balanced conclusion”
Eastleigh Borough Council
“The advice of the Panel was straightforward and clear, and has been very helpful in reinforcing the Council’s rejection of poor design”
Swale Borough Council
“The Panel had a very positive involvement at an early stage and helped us produce the best design for the site”
Worthing District Council
“It is a privilege to be able to use Design Review to stand back and listen to an independent view”
Wycombe District Council
Progressive design animates former industrial site
Checkendon – Starworks. This live-work development in a rural setting was brought to the Panel by its architect, who was seeking the Panel’s advice on the novel form of the scheme. Panel members were impressed by the integrity of the design, including the quality of the accommodation and the care taken over the detail and landscaping. The proposal is on an existing employment site and the need to retain an employment function in the long-term is key to its success. The live-work scheme would support more sustainable transport patterns in a relatively remote location.
SERDP offers a fantastically supportive service to help good design through the planning system
John Pardey, John Pardey Architects
Bold new buildings transform threshold to town centre
Worthing – Teville Gate. Scarred by ill-considered development from the 1960s, this part of the town is ripe for redevelopment. At the first of two Reviews, the Panel supported the broad ambitions of the scheme but felt that a wide residential slab block would be too forceful for its surroundings and invited the architect to consider alternative massing and plan forms, without necessarily relinquishing the height.
A revised scheme has pared the mass into two towers – a more appropriate response to the context as well as a more satisfactory architectural composition – and also re-established a direct diagonal path from the station to the town centre.
Taking a project to the Panel is a good discipline – the result is a more exciting and impressive building
Russ Drage, Russ Drage Architects
A blueprint for linking
Isle of Sheppey – Queenborough & Rushenden. These neighbouring
but distinct settlements on the Isle of Sheppey are separated by
a former industrial area where SEEDA is the main landowner.
The masterplan aimed to redevelop the former industrial land
for a variety of uses and unite the two communities.
The Panel was struck by the way the proposals had grown out of a genuine understanding of the local area and built on its natural assets such as its ecology, landscape and the heritage of Queenborough. Given the leading edge nature of the project, members challenged the relatively orthodox zoning of residential and employment areas. They also felt that Rushenden and the land to the south of it needed a strong draw – perhaps cultural, leisure based or ecological – to integrate it fully with Queenborough and overcome its current isolation.
The Panel was exactly and correctly formulated,
and quick to understand the proposal with
a clear grasp of the overall issues
Robert Rummey, Rummey Design Associates
Vibrant mixed-use redevelopment in a historic town
LEWES – Phoenix Quarter. The Panel first visited the site in 2006 and reviewed the masterplan for a substantial mixed-use development with around 770 homes as well as commercial, retail and a multi-storey car park. Whilst strongly supportive of the approach being adopted the Panel identified areas for improvement. The scheme has now been amended by changing the massing and reducing the heights of the former ‘tower’ elements to a maximum of six storeys
They take a rounded view, drawing out the benefits of a design for planners and stakeholders to appreciate – whilst also helping designers to think about any aspects that could be improved
Piers Gough, CZWG Architects
A contemporary museum
on a historic site
Chichester – Regional Museum. Because of its dual role as client and planning authority, Chichester District Council was keen to have an independent and expert view of the scheme within the city’s historic core. Panel members felt that the architects had struck an effective balance between an expressive new design and a respectful contribution to Chichester’s exceptional townscape.
Many local authority planning committees find it difficult to assess contemporary architecture. On this occasion the Panel’s “independent, objective and expert” advice gave the Council renewed confidence in Keith Williams’ designs. Planning consent was granted in 2009 and a start on site is anticipated early in 2010.
The Panel was most important in that it gave an independent assessment of design and urban
quality which was significant in the planning committee’s eventual decision
Keith Williams, Keith Williams Architects
New housing integrated with industrial heritage
Sevenoaks – Horton Kirby Paper Mill. The Panel was glad to see a proposal to bring a complex of historic buildings back into use but had a number of concerns about the initial design, and suggested a number of ways to strengthen integration with the existing community. The site access, originally proposed as a roundabout on the main street through the village, has now been rethought in response to the Panel comments.
A large square is to be created at the centre of the site but the success of this will depend upon the activities around the edge
and the integration of car parking. The Panel stressed the need
for simple and robust landscaping throughout, using materials
It was a very positive, interactive
and productive process
Gilbert Gehrmann, Formation Architects
Sustainable remodelling of outworn Council HQ
Winchester – Hampshire County Council. As planning authority for its own HQ complex, Hampshire County Council needed expert opinion on the appropriateness of proposals for its transformation. Typical of the 60’s, it had an aggressive external presence and was conspicuous in long views. The complete remodelling, retaining the concrete frame, integrated an approach to the townscape with engineering of natural ventilation through the building.
The Panel had concerns about the retention of some car parking underground, but endorsed the reconnection to the street, setting back of the top floor and the creation of a finer-grained, vertical rhythm to the façade – using vertical ducts and wind troughs to create suction and drive the ventilation. It felt the design, which would enhance the skyline, was well founded and welcomed the commitment to energy efficiency.
The Panel is very supportive, but doesn’t hold back on big issues – they made me stop and think,
and we changed the design as a result
Julian Lipscombe, Bennetts Associates
Striking new architecture enlivens town centre
High Wycombe – Buckinghamshire New University. Because of the
prominence of the site, Wycombe District Council wanted reassurance that it would be suitable for a landmark of the kind proposed. The Panel welcomed this project which heralded
wider changes such as removing the gyratory road, restoring
the River Wye and uniting the campus with the town.
They commended the architects’ design, finding the height of the new building ‘perfectly acceptable’ given its location below
the old town. However, they recommended a full examination
of the performance, weathering and appearance of the
proposed cladding in a variety of light conditions.
The Panel reinforced the critical nature of the cladding decision and, as a result, the client
funded a much deeper analysis of the options
Murdoch Cameron, RMJM