Design watchdog updates guidelines to regional panels in effort to review more planning applications across the country

The design watchdog Cabe has revealed that the number of design review panels it runs jointly with local planning authorities and regional development authorities has risen to 81 across the country.

The news came at the launch of Cabe’s guidance document on how to set up and manage regional design review panels.

Cabe said the number of review panels, which are made up of town planners, architects and landscape architects, had doubled over the past five years.

The guidance document, compiled by the RIBA, Royal Town Planning Institute, the Landscape Institute, is meant to enable up to 20,000 planning applications to be appraised by a design review panel.

At the launch of the document, “Design review: principles and practice”, culture minister Margaret Hodge said: “We want to see every local authority able to use design review to help create world class places. Design matters even more as we try to minimise carbon emissions.”

When asked about how Cabe plans to broaden its audience, MJ Long, chair of design review panels, said: “We now need to be really careful about the way reporting is done and the language used. I would put emphasis on sharing lessons with others.”