The NSW Government has launched a State Design Review Panel (SDRP) pilot program with good design a key focus.

The SDRP will be made up of 40 members, selected from more than 200 applications, following a successful six-week recruitment campaign in late 2017.

Panel members represent a diverse range of expertise in the built environment and will play a key role in assisting the Government Architect and the Department of Planning and Environment with design and planning advice for State Significant Developments.

NSW Minister for Planning and Housing, Anthony Roberts, said the panel would work with the Government Architect NSW to review and consider key elements of the assessment process such as local character and design excellence.

“The State Design Review Panel pilot program will provide expert advice on the most significant developments in the state and will help ensure better design and planning outcomes for NSW,” Mr Roberts said.

“Having a diverse group of expert and experienced voices guiding the decisions of the department will not only ensure that we continue to have a strong assessment process, but also ensure the community has an even greater say on the future direction of planning and design.

“NSW is already leading the country in innovative design and planning, with statewide policies such as Better Places and Greener Places showing we’re planning not just for today, but tomorrow as well”.

Although 40 members will make up the pool of experts, a panel of four to five members with the appropriate experience and qualifications will be assigned a project to be reviewed.

The 12-month pilot program will review future State Significant Developments, which include developments such as large-scale commercial and residential, hospitals, educational institutions, and tourist and recreation facilities.

Mr Roberts said the 12-month pilot program will provide a consistent and transparent approach when reviewing significant developments.

NSW Government Architect, Peter Poulet, said the panels will act as a mechanism to assist both the Government Architect NSW and the Department of Planning and Environment to evaluate design quality, as well as providing proponents access to high-quality design advice.

“By consulting with the SDRP, both government and private sector projects will benefit from expert design advice at no cost for the period of the pilot program. This will further ensure their projects are at the forefront of community-focused design innovation.”

The panel will engage with councils through the inclusion of locally nominated panel members for the assessment of relevant applications.

It will also support the review and development of state planning policies, site specific Development Control Plans, precinct planning and urban renewal.

At the end of the pilot period, a recommendation will be made to the government about the continuation of the NSW SDRP program, including any adjustments to how it may operate. 

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