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Somerset Quality Review Panel has been established to support the achievement of high quality, innovative and sustainable placemaking

IntroductionPanel RemitPanel CompositionTypes of Review


The Council is committed to ensuring that development in Somerset is delivered to the highest standard and that new proposals exhibit high quality design in its broadest sense – architectural, urban and landscape design, planning, transport, sustainability and deliverability will all be essential elements to the creation of the quality placemaking.

To help ensure that these aspirations are fulfilled, the Council has established an independent Quality Review Panel to provide critical friend advice and guidance to applicants and the local planning authority to support the delivery of high quality development in Somerset, including Taunton Garden Town.

Panel Remit

The Somerset 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.

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 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 Quality Review Panel, including the process, panel members, review types and costs, please refer to the Quality Review Panel Terms of Reference.

Somerset Quality Review Panel – 2023 dates

Monday 16 January
Monday 23 January

Monday 13 February
Monday 27 February

Monday 13 March
Monday 27 March

Monday 17 April
Monday 24 April

Monday 15 May
Monday 22 May

Monday 19 June
Monday 26 June

Monday 10 July
Monday 24 July

Monday 14 August
Monday 21 August

Monday 11 September
Monday 25 September

Monday 9 October
Monday 23 October

Monday 6 November
Monday 20 November

Monday 4 December
Monday 18 December

Last reviewed: May 31, 2023 by Adam

Next review due: December 1, 2023

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