Our independent Torbay Design Review Panel (TDRP) acts as a constructive ‘critical friend’, reviewing proposals to help deliver design excellence within Torbay. We are committed to securing high-quality development and public realm for those who live, work and visit Torquay, Paignton and Brixham.

What is TDRP?

TDRP was first established in 2006 and re-constituted in 2022. It is made up of a pool of independent built environment professionals who provide design guidance on new development and public realm proposals.

TDRP is an important part of the planning process and we recommend that schemes are reviewed early as part of the pre-application process. TDRP does not make planning decisions and is not a substitute for our Spatial Planning team. TDRP members provide supplementary expert appraisal, comment and support.

Its use is endorsed in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). Torbay Planning Committee takes into consideration TDRP comments and they place weight on the panel’s findings in their determination of planning applications.

By offering advice to applicants the panel support Torbay’s planning officers and planning committee in securing the delivery of high-quality developments and the creation of exceptional places. Those involved in the decision-making process such as our Councillors and the Neighbourhood Forums understand how this process helps, particularly if it is shown that TDRP endorses, or has helped raise the quality and design of a particular scheme.

For detailed information on our TDRP, please see our terms of reference.

Torbay design review panel terms of reference
Detailed information on the Torbay design review panel

Schemes that may be referred to the panel

The types of schemes that may be referred to the TDRP include all those for which achieving ‘good design’ (as required by the NPPF) has a strong significance:

  • large buildings or groups of buildings,
  • large public realm proposals,
  • masterplans, design codes or design guidance,
  • schemes being developed through Planning Performance Agreements (PPAs).

Significance related to site and public/civic interest, for example:

  • proposals affecting sensitive views,
  • developments with a major impact on their urban or landscape setting,
  • schemes involving significant public investment.

Projects may also be referred to the panel by the planning authority at its discretion, for example where it requires advice on:

  • challenging building types, for example, single-aspect dwellings,
  • environmental sustainability,
  • design for climate change adaptation and mitigation,
  • proposals likely to establish an important precedent for future development,
  • proposals that seek to establish a new or distinct character in relation to their context,
  • schemes with significant impacts on the quality of everyday life,
  • landscape/public space design.

Panel members

The TDRP pool of experts is made up of around 20 members (including a chair), with expertise in urban design, architecture, landscape architecture, transportation, highways and sustainability. Membership is refreshed periodically and new members are recruited through online advertisements.

Types of review and the review process

Depending on the scale and complexity of each case, alternative review formats/durations can be offered:

  • Desktop Review (remote, no site visit – suitable for ‘returning cases’ only)
    The chair and one other panellist inspect the submitted information
    £750 plus VAT
  • Consultation ‘Workshop’ Review (virtual) 1.5 hours
    The chair and two other panellists in informal discussion/workshop with applicants
    £950 plus VAT - £300 plus VAT supplement if site visit necessary and/or requested)
  • Full Panel Review (virtual) 2 hours
    The chair and four other panellists in review with applicants via Microsoft Teams
    £1200 plus VAT - £300 plus VAT supplement if site visit necessary and/or requested 
  • Full Panel Review (in person with site visit) 3.5 hours
    The chair and four other panellists in a meeting space provided by the presenting team/local planning authority
    £1850 plus VAT - plus supplement, if the venue needs to be provided by the Architecture Centre Devon and Cornwall (charged at cost)

All reviews include the issue of a guidance report as a summary of the meeting. this is sent to the applicant and the local planning authority, normally within 10 working days.

We reserve the right to decline to offer a particular type of review if the format requested is deemed unsuited to the case. Other bespoke service offers may also be possible, subject to agreement.

How to Book a Review

Reviews should be requested by sending an email to mark.pearson@acdandc.org.uk and jim.blackwell@torbay.gov.uk then arrangements and timing can be discussed and agreed upon. Early engagement is encouraged and pre-application cases will be treated as confidential. We may wish to propose observers (e.g. elected ward members) to witness the review discussion.