Funding boost for design review service

The Places Matter! Design Review Panel, a regional group of experts that provide advice to architects, clients and planners on new developments, has been awarded funding from the Design Council CABE.

All eight affiliated design review panels across England have been awarded funding for 2011/12 to enable them to run local design reviews alongside CABE's national design review service. The grants will enable the delivery of 250 design reviews of schemes across England in the next year.

The Places Matter! Design Review Panel will receive a grant of £65,000 for 2011/12 towards its continuing work providing expert advice to local authorities, community groups, clients and design teams so that they can achieve the highest quality of design.

Annie Atkins, Places Matter! programme director, said: "We greatly appreciate CABE's support of local design review across the country. Since its creation in 2007 the Places Matter! Design Review Panel has reviewed over 200 unique schemes in the North West, representing over £3.5bn of investment. We're delighted to receive the backing of CABE to continue to deliver this valuable service."

Design review is a tried and tested method of upholding design quality in the built environment. The affiliated panels' local knowledge will be of particular significance in the context of the localism agenda and the evolving planning system. The panels will be expected to use planning and urban design experts to review neighbourhood plans as well as conduct reviews involving the local community.

Diane Haigh, director of Design Council CABE, said: "CABE and the vibrant network of affiliated panels share a commitment to ensuring high quality design in the built environment. We have always worked closely with the eight panels; this grant is an important milestone in reinforcing that network and will strengthen our collective design review offer to local authorities, community groups and clients."

Liverpool-based Places Matter! is funded by the North West Development Agency and is hosted by the Royal Institute of British Architects North West. The Department for Communities and Local Government is providing the funding for the continuation of key CABE services including local and national design review.

There are more than 40 members on the North West design review panel, chaired by Martin Stockley and administered by Places Matter!.

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