Design Review

Design Review is an independent and impartial evaluation process in which a panel of multi-disciplinary experts on the built environment assess the design of a proposal. The process is in place to improve the quality of buildings and places and is widely recognised as having a positive impact. The importance of Design Review is specifically referenced in both the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and the London Plan.

It offers additional breadth of vision and support on design-related issues to aid decision making in the planning process, embedding best practice. Design Review gives decision makers the confidence and information to support innovative, high-quality designs that meet the needs of their communities and customers, and to resist poorly designed schemes. It also offers feedback without redesigning the scheme, highlighting opportunities for design changes that could significantly raise the overall quality, in cost effective ways, to deliver a better outcome for the benefit of the public.

Brent Design Advice Panel

Established in 2017, the Brent Design Advice Panel (BDAP) supports the Council by offering independent and expert advice on:

  • Major schemes and strategically important built environment projects;
  • Other schemes regarded as sensitive in terms of design, context, public interest or local impact;
  • Infrastructure, landscape and open space projects;
  • Council-led policies, strategies and supplementary planning guidance.

The panel is managed externally by the Design Council and operates in close collaboration with our Placemaking team. A typical panel is composed of two, four or six panellists and led by one Chair. Schemes are presented to the panel by recommendation only and selected based on whether they meet the following criteria:

  • Major or strategic sites;
  • Controversial or difficult sites due to impact on the public realm;
  • Sites within designated intensification corridors;
  • Sites with special significance to the local area and interests;
  • Sites with the potential to significantly improve the quality of urban design in the area;
  • Schemes involving community or public uses; and
  • Schemes which are referable to the Greater London Authority.

To ensure design review in Brent is delivered in a consistent manner to other local authorities in London, the Council has signed the London Quality Review Charter. Further information on the panel can be found by either contacting the Principal Urban Design Officer or consulting the Brent Design Advice Panel handbook


As a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, we are running virtual BDAP sessions via Microsoft Teams until further notice, in accordance with Design Council policy. We hope to be able to return to non-virtual BDAP sessions in the near future.


Applicants are required to pay for BDAP sessions. Prices are based on panel size as follows:

  • £2,500 for a 2 Design Council Expert (DCE) panel;
  • £5,000 for a 4 DCE panel; and
  • £7,000 for a 6 DCE panel.

Within this price structure there is a degree of flexibility to ensure reviews meet the specific needs of applicants and schemes. We are able to offer both formal and informal reviews, with the latter typically run as more collaborative workshops with a smaller panel. Workshops are particularly effective for helping shape schemes at the early stages of the design process, and we strongly encourage schemes to come before the BDAP as early as possible.

Panel Chairs

Fred Manson, Heatherwick Studio

Fred trained as an architect, before moving into public sector management where he oversaw planning, property management, regulation services and environmental management for Southwark Council. He oversaw the development of Tate Modern, the Millennium Bridge, and Peckham Library. Since retiring from Southwark Council, he has worked as an internal critic at Heatherwick Studio. He was a member of the CABE design panels including school review panel and Local Development Framework panel. Fred has also been a trustee of Artangel, the Foundation for Allergy Research, Photographers Gallery and Open City. He is currently a trustee of Studio Voltaire.

Lynda Addison OBE, Malcolm Baker Consulting

Lynda is a planner and transport planner who has worked for or within the public sector for more than 45 years. She was previously Chair of both the Sustainable Transport Panel of CIHT and the Transport Planning Society, and is a Policy Associate to the Campaign for Better Transport. In 2006, she received an OBE for services to planning and was awarded the Royal Town Planning Institute/Transport Planning Society (RTPI/TPS) Award in 2010. In 2019, she was awarded Transport Planner of the Year by CIHT. Prior to working in the private sector, she was Director of Planning and Transport at Hounslow Council and spent 30 years in local government working on a wide variety of policies, programmes and projects.