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Cornwall Design Review Panel

Re-launched in September 2015, the Cornwall Design Review Panel (CDRP) draws on a pool of external design expertise that is especially appointed for this role and these are supported by experienced officers from within the Council. It operates independently from the development management function of the planning authority to peer assess a range of new development schemes. The Panel is chaired by Mark Pearson, Head of Design Action; and includes expertise in Architecture; Landscape Architecture; Urban Design; Historic Environment; Sustainable Development; 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 that will enable them to enhance the quality of the design of significant projects. It should be seen as a forum within which developers/ architects / designers are able to test and refine their ideas and is therefore best consulted within the pre-application period and will often be included in Planning Performance Agreements.

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The Cornwall Design Review Panel does not have any statutory planning function in its own right, but its guidance reports do form a material consideration for Cornwall Council’s statutory planning function as empowered by the NPPF2 Para 129.

The CDRP will review development proposals and plans within the context of the statutory planning framework including Design Policies of the Cornwall Local Plan and the ‘Cornwall Design Guide.’

The key objective of the Panel is to assist design teams, planning officers and Councillors in understanding and promoting high quality design, encouraging the delivery of better schemes, whilst identifying and resisting poor quality development. The CDRP also has a wider role in promoting good design and developing a more informed and aware community of practitioners working within the county. Along with a commitment to sustainability it will consider the role of design in relation to the National Planning Policy Framework and its aspiration to create sustainable development and strong communities. 

The design review panel will consider the architecture of individual buildings, and also the quality of place – the functionality and impact of the proposed development upon the whole site and its wider context including the character, quality and sustainability of the existing place of which it will form a new part. In particular the Panel will examine how the designs contribute positively to making better places for people.

Unless presenters/promoters specifically request a different approach, we would normally invite the relevant Cornwall Council ward member and a representative from the Parish Town Council to attend as observers.This is on the understanding that they will, as necessary, adhere to, and uphold, any confidentiality that may be required at a pre-application stage. We wish to encourage this as part of our commitment to improve the design education of elected decision-makers involved within the planning process.

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

NB: Please note the advice set out in the terms of reference and guidance to applicants on the arrangements and timetable for accepting the appropriate material in preparation for each Design Review Panel meeting.

View our testimonials for further information.

The Panel will meet every month from 9.30am to 4.30pm in the Committee Room, St Austell Information Service.

13 January 2021 St Austell Information Service
3 February 2021 St Austell Information Service
3 March 2021 St Austell Information Service
7 April 2021 St Austell Information Service
5 May 2021 St Austell Information Service
2 June 2021 St Austell Information Service
7 July 2021 St Austell Information Service
4 August 2021 St Austell Information Service
1 September 2021 St Austell Information Service
6 October 2021 St Austell Information Service
3 November 2021 St Austell Information Service
1 December 2021 St Austell Information Service


NOTE - face-to-face design review meetings are currently suspended. The normal dates in our Design Review Panel schedule can be used where convenient for either a conventional Desktop Review or a virtual Consultation and Desktop (utilising Microsoft Teams) provided we have information in advance. Information needs to be received in full 2 working days ahead of an agreed review date. However we do have to agree and book the review date with at least 2 weeks’ notice and the project synopsis must be submitted with that booking. The guidance report should normally be available within 10 working days after the review as usual but it may be possible to issue the report earlier subject to confirmation. Please contact Julie Hoare at for more information or to book a review slot.

In order to encourage promoters to present their ideas early, at a ‘pre-application’ stage, the design review process will look to preserve commercial and other confidentialities. Therefore, the Cornwall Design Review Panel will not normally allow members of the press and public to attend its meetings. Once projects are in the public domain any guidance reports already issued by the Panel will then be published and formally submitted to the Case Officer dealing with any subsequent planning application.

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

A project synopsis form must be submitted strictly 2 weeks in advance of the Panel, followed by a separate presentation to the Panel on the day itself.  Full details can be found in the Guidance to Applicants.

Please view the following good example of how to concisely inform the panel about the basic parameters of a project ahead of more detailed information that would be presented at the meeting, whilst limiting the key visual and written information to a couple of A3 sheets.

If none of the above dates are suitable then, if given sufficient advance warning, the Panel can work with a developer to find a suitable date on which to hold a special meeting. The fee for this will depend on the proposed event duration, availability of Panel Members, venue hire, etc. Developers should contact the Panel Administrators, whose contact details are on the booking form, to check availability prior to the submission of the booking form.

NB: It should be noted that there are three other Design Review Panels operating across the South West, namely the South West Design Review Panel (Creating Excellence), the Design Review Panel (Design Review Ltd) and the National Design Review Panel (CABE).