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Quality Review Panel

Panel Remit

The Somerset West and Taunton Quality Review Panel has been established to support the achievement of high quality, innovative and sustainable placemaking. The Panel provides independent and objective advice during the development of planning policy and development strategies and advising on pre-application development proposals and planning applications. The Taunton Garden Town Vision and Somerset West and Taunton Districtwide Design Guide set out the strategic development principles for design quality across the District and Taunton Garden Town.

Council officers and applicants are encouraged to make use of the panel at an early stage in the design process to identify and test the proposed design’s key objectives and assumptions. The Council will generally expect schemes of more than 50 homes or 5,000 sq metres of commercial/other floorspace to be informed by review. Other smaller complex schemes may also be appropriate for review.

The panel’s advice to the applicants and to the Local Planning Authority will support sound planning decisions in respect of design quality and the advice provided will be a material planning consideration in the determination of planning applications. It is intended to assist Council officers and applicants to achieve design improvements and support planning committee decisions, where design quality is a key consideration.

Panel Composition

The Somerset West and Taunton Quality Review Panel brings together leading professionals, working at the highest level in their field. It is made up of around 17 panel members, including the chair. The panel will be chaired by Andrew Beharrell, an architect and Senior Advisor at Pollard Thomas Edwards.

Panel members are chosen to provide a broad range of expertise with particular relevance to the development proposal, including:

  • Urban design / town planning
  • Landscape architecture
  • Transport infrastructure
  • Social infrastructure
  • Sustainability
  • Development delivery
  • Heritage

Many of those appointed to the panel will have expertise and experience in more than one of these areas. For a full review, 5 panel members are selected; the composition of the panel for each review is chosen to suit the project / issue being reviewed.

Membership of the panel is reviewed regularly, at least once a year, to ensure that it provides all the necessary expertise and experience to undertake the panel’s work effectively.

From time to time, it may also be of benefit for specialist advice to be provided beyond the Panel membership. In such cases, a professional with the relevant expertise may be invited to attend a review meeting, participating in the discussion with the status of an adviser to the panel.

In support of the Council’s commitment towards community engagement and long-term stewardship, there may also be potential, on occasion, to invite the chair of a community group to attend Panel review meetings as an observer.

Types of Review

The panel will be available for different types of review:

  • Formal Review
  • Chair’s review
  • Surgery review

For further information on the Somerset West and Taunton Quality Review Panel, including the process, panel members, review types and costs, please refer to the Quality Review Panel Terms of Reference.