Panel Format

The Essex Quality Review Panel will be based around the traditional design review format where it is felt this provides the most productive and structured outcomes.

The panel will be formed of at least five panel members who would include the Chair, Panel Manager from Place Service who will arrange, record the panel and compile the panel report. It would be recommended that planning officers involved with the application site would attend the panel; these could include the case officer, landscape, urban design, conservation or highways officer. Any external involvement such as Historic England will also be invited to the review.

We also encourage elected members to observe quality review panels to gain an understanding of the discussions that input into a panel report.

The panel will be made up of the following:

  • Panel Chair
  • Four Panel Members
  • Panel Manager
  • Applicant and Team


  • Planning Case Officer / Representative from Local Authority
  • External Consultants (Historic England etc)
  • Council/Ward Member (Observer)

Panels will be offered on either a half day or full day basis. This will depend on the size, complexity, requirements of a site visit and how developed project proposals may be. The panel manager will confirm or recommend the panel format during the request process.

Panels in most cases will require a site visit by the chair and panel members. Again should this be required, a site meeting will be recommended and scheduled in before a review. Depending on the location, the panel review can be organised locally to a site to ensure a full review is achievable within one panel review.

The need for a site visit will be agreed between the Panel Chair and Panel Manager prior to the meeting date. Those attending site will consist of the Panel Chair, Panel Members, Panel Manager and Local Authority representative (Case Officer). Should other parties wish to attend this will be considered by the Panel Chair on a case by case basis.

Panels will be formally structured to ensure the applicant has sufficient time to present their design and concepts while allowing suitable time to ensure a constructive discussion can be held around the feedback provided.

The typical structure will follow the below principles:

Step 1 - Site Visit

The panel will undertake an independent site visit. This is an opportunity to review constraints and opportunities. The Panel will walk the site but also view the site from the wider context where applicable. On very large sites transport may need to be provided by the applicant.

Step 2 - Local Authority Briefing

Once at the venue the chair will request the Local Authority presents the planning context and their observations around the application. The panel will be invited to seek clarifications and questions prior to the applicants presentation.

Step 3 - Presentation

The applicants team will be requested to present the project. Presentation will be flexible and it is requested suitable amount of information is provided to allow comments and observations to be made (PowerPoint, boards, models etc).

Step 4 - Questions, discussions and feedback

Following the presentation the panel will be invited to ask questions to clarify any issues. Feedback will then be given on the designs presented. The chair will verbally conclude from the advise provided.

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