Review suggests developers should pay for design review through planning or pre-application fees

Developers welcomed the findings of an independent report on the future of design review this week but balked at the idea that they should pay for the service.

The review, which looked at the future of Design Council Cabe and was carried out by former head of design at the London Development Agency Peter Bishop, suggested developers should pay for design review through planning or pre-application fees.

Speaking at the launch of the report on Tuesday, Bishop said there was still a need for expert-led design advice and support in the era of localism but said this should be delivered in a less centralised way, probably through local planning authorities.

The British Property Federation (BPF) said it supported the main findings of Bishop’s report but said far greater clarity on how design review would work on the ground was needed before developers would be willing to pay for it.

Local authorities need to be able to access independent design advice

Liz Peace, chief executive BPF

“The government’s proposed changes to planning policy place design firmly at the centre of the new planning system and so it is vital that we have a way of ensuring that local authorities can access independent and imaginative design advice,” BPF chief executive Liz Peace said.

“However … we are not prepared to support developers paying for design review without […] further consideration of how this process will actually work.”

Bishop said Design Council Cabe needed to position itself as a body that could “broadly” speak for the industry in order to persuade central and local government of the need to ensure good design.

“All the major institutions need to come together on a shared agenda to build a national infrastructure where good design can flourish at all levels,” he said.
Bishop’s report involved consultation with 450 organisations and individuals.