Sheffield is a city with a distinctive character and setting, comprising a diverse range of communities and neighbourhoods.

We believe high quality Urban Design is of critical importance to the city, supporting Sheffield’s transformation, promoting sustainable development and delivering high quality places.

We lead on a wide range of projects and programmes across the city, produce policy and guidance, and offer advice to help raise the standard of Urban Design in Sheffield.

We are involved in leading, contributing to, as well as co-ordinating preparation of Urban Design Frameworks, Area Action Plans for regeneration areas and Planning Briefs for strategic regeneration sites.

We work with different sections including City Regeneration Division, Forward and Area Planning and Development Management.

The Sustainable Development Panel

The Panel is made up of a group of experts from a range of built environment professions including sustainability, urban design, architecture and landscape architecture. Their background ranges from both the public and private sectors and represents local and national practices.

Appropriate development schemes from across the city are presented to the Panel, who provide design comment during the Panel session. The Panel is independent, and provides formal advice which is a material consideration in the Planning process.

Schemes are encouraged at the earliest possible stage; early engagement with architects and developers is a critical means of facilitating the highest quality development for Sheffield. Good design does not have to equate to additional cost when integrated from the beginning and the Panel is keen to review schemes when the comments can make a positive difference.

Aims of the panel

We launched the Sustainable Development and Design Panel with the aim of:

  • continuing Sheffield's transformation by encouraging high quality urban design
  • securing design excellence in the built environment
  • contributing toward our objectives to become a low carbon city
  • assisting in local action to tackle climate change
  • helping to reduce carbon emissions

The Panel aims to support and encourage well designed, environmentally sustainable buildings and public spaces; and will also provide support to the South Yorkshire Pathfinder ‘Delivering Design Quality’ Initiative, reviewing schemes within the Housing Market Renewal Areas.


The Chair and Panel members:

  • English Heritage and Sheffield Conservation Advisory Group representatives
  • relevant representatives from ourselves including the Member Design Champion to observe only

We facilitate the panel and provide direct support to the Panel Chair.

How the panel works

The Panel meets every 5 weeks (or as required) with the agenda agreed by the Chair and the Head of Planning in advance. Approximately 3 schemes are reviewed at each session, depending on their size and complexity.

Prior to the meeting the Panel is briefed on the schemes being considered. The applicant also has an opportunity to submit a description of the scheme.

Site visits are considered to be an essential part of the process, and these are carried out on the morning of the Panel.

Format of a typical panel meeting

Each scheme presented to the Panel is allocated one hour, which is split up as follows:

The first 20 minutes is allocated to the architect and client team to make a formal presentation to describe their scheme.

Following this, the Panel will ask questions and have a general discussion on the proposal, lasting around 20 minutes. The Chair will ask the design team to briefly leave the room so that the Panel can reflect on the discussion and agree their design review advice.

The Chair will then invite the team to return and will summarise the main points of the Panel's comments.

Advice and timescales

The Panel will set out their comments in a letter that will be sent out by email two weeks after the Panel meeting.

In the case of projects which are in the public domain (i.e. if they are the subject of a planning application or are being publicised by the promoters) the Panels comments will be published on the website.

Where schemes are at a pre-application stage and are subject to commercial confidentiality, information will not be published on the web. If this is the case a reason for confidentiality will be stated.

Contact Urban Design Team

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