Oxford City Council announces new partner for Design Review Panel

Published: Monday, 7th September 2020

Oxford City Council has announced that Design South East will be its new partner for the Oxford Design Review Panel (ODRP).

The ODRP was established in 2014 to provide an independent design evaluation service for development proposals within Oxford. The multi-disciplinary panel comprises expertise and skills in the built environment and is an essential part of the planning process, promoting high quality design to help create better buildings, streets and public spaces within the city.

A new partnership

The appointment of Design South East as its chosen partner follows the Council’s review of its offer when its previous contract with Design Council came to an end, and provides an opportunity to maximise the full potential and city-wide benefits of design review, in accordance with the latest guidance and national planning policy. Design Council, in developing its national remit and service, chose not to tender on this occasion.

The Council is also looking to use the new partnership with Design South East to help consolidate the lessons learned since its establishment, both from its own experience and from design review nationally.

The City Council is committed to the process of design review and its particular value to Oxford; a world-renowned city with a rich and diverse built heritage, which is also rapidly evolving to address change and growth. The Council is keen to ensure that the ODRP remains relevant and effective, and delivers a wide range of benefits, not only in terms of adding value to development schemes but in managing change positively and creating a lasting legacy of high quality design and place making for the whole city.

“We are committed to ensuring that developments in the city reflect high quality design. Having an independent design review panel that can offer expert and detailed advice has been, and will remain, an integral and valuable part of the planning process for major schemes in Oxford.” 

Cllr Alex Hollingsworth, Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing Delivery.

“We are delighted to have been appointed to develop and manage the ODRP. We really value the recognition of our design review expertise and the wide range of services we offer to support local authorities to deliver quality of place. We are looking forward to developing a bespoke approach to this unique city and to working collaboratively with the Council and its stakeholders. Our ambition is to ensure that the value of the panel’s expertise and innovative thinking is used to maximise its beneficial impact on policies, projects and people.

Design South East Director, Chris Lamb. 

For more information on the ODRP visit the Council’s Design in the planning process page.