On 5th November, the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (Cabe) launched the Greenwich Design Review Panel (GDRP) to evaluate large-scale regeneration projects within the borough of Greenwich, including the Peninsula. The panel will include experts from the built environment such as architects, urban designers and planners, and it will operate independently to Greenwich council. However, it will ultimately be the council that decides which developers and early stage schemes would benefit from the design review service.
A welcome development
Greenwich council is the first borough in London to commission Cabe for the review of its regeneration and development projects, and in doing so the service aims to enable the council to ensure that developers and their design teams create high quality buildings and public spaces, supporting the council in resisting schemes of poor design, whilst suggesting where improvements could be made.
Although Cabe has secured the backing of the council, it will also need the buy-in of developers. As the council can only go as far as recommending the service, the main incentive for developers to engage the GDRP would be the understanding that a scheme that has been evaluated and deemed to be of high quality would have a higher probability of gaining planning approval, therefore the level of risk in the design and planning application process is reduced.
How will the launch affect East Greenwich?
Applications that have been approved to date in the Peninsula will not be affected by the launch, such as Alcatel/Cathedral. However, upcoming applications anticipated closer to the O2 and on the East Peninsular could be affected. As an entity that is independent of the council and developers, the design review panel is very much welcomed news in ensuring that inspiring architecture and public realm is created in the Peninsular. However, as a body of experts from the built environment, there is little indication of whether the panel will encourage developers and their design teams to consult with local community groups and carry out community engagement during the early stages of design.