Guildford Borough Council signs up to design review through Design South East

24 February 2015

We delighted to announce that Guildford Borough Council has secured agreement with Design South East to refer proposals for new development within the borough to the South and East Panel for design review.

Cllr Stephen Mansbridge, Leader of Guildford Borough Council, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to secure expert design advice from some of the most influential and respected professionals in the industry. We are confident that the involvement of the Panel will drive up the quality of design for large-scale new developments.  The Council is committed to ensuring that new development is of the highest quality of design and our association with Design South East is testament to that objective.”

Julian Lyon, Chair of The Guildford Society, commented: “We warmly welcome this initiative and the focus on quality design and great place-making it should bring. We have been critical of the lack of independent design scrutiny in the past and we will look forward to working with GBC and Design South East to help make Guildford’s new buildings better by design.”

Robert Offord, of Design South East, said: “Design Review from Design South East provides expert, independent advice on great architecture and placemaking to developers and local authorities. We look forward to working with Guildford Borough Council to help ensure the high quality of the built environment for future generations.”

Design in a Nutshell for Planning Committees

As towns and cities continue to expand and new urban extensions are being planned, urban design remains a crucial skill in creating a vision for how a place works and looks.

The workshop – organised through Design South East’s Kent Design programme – provides an overview of what are the most important values that urban design offers in the improvement, planning and protection of places.

Participants gain an understanding of:

  1. The principles of good placemaking
  2. The urban design language in common usage
  3. How design policies can manage the quality of urban change
  4. The range of design drawings and what they mean
  5. Ways to appraise what is good urban design

DSE has now delivered two of the nine Kent Design – Design in a Nutshell member training events in this years programme. We are so delighted with the feedback from the councillors that we thought we should share it to ensure that other councillors can hear about how well it has been received.

The Kent Design training lasts 2.5 hours and is led by DSE across 5 distinct themes. The session has time for three discussions about the learning and local experiences – these have been highly valued by attendees. A workshop element encourages councillors to review a real scheme commenting on the urban design skills they have developed.

So what did councillors think of the training?

70% of attendees said it was very good and 30% said it was good.  In addition, 75% of councillors strongly agreed that the Kent Design training would help them undertake their duties. Councillors have commented on how informative the training was and how it has encouraged them to look at masterplans and development in a different way. In summary, 100% of councillors said that they would recommend this training to other Councillors.

If you are interested in organising a training event for your colleagues please contact

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