Watford Borough Council announces members of new Place Shaping Panel

As part of its commitment to enhancing quality of life for all those living in the borough, Watford Borough Council today announced the members of its new Place Shaping Panel...

Published: Tuesday, 30th June 2020 Watford high street 12

As part of its commitment to enhancing quality of life for all those living in the borough, Watford Borough Council today announced the members of its new Place Shaping Panel. The panel will provide a rigorous independent review process to major development proposals, and is comprised of individuals with skills and expertise ranging from planning and heritage to sustainability and inclusive design. It will play a key role in ensuring Watford’s townscape exemplifies thoughtful, high quality design.

Elected Mayor Peter Taylor said: “Watford Borough Council is thrilled to have such a talented panel in place to help navigate our increasing development challenges and provide independent insight. With the new Place Shaping Panel, Watford is better positioned to ensure we embrace innovation while protecting our historic character, deliver our ambitious sustainability agenda, and make sure we have a thriving community with developments built to last for generations to come.”

The panel will be chaired by Peter Bishop, a Professor of Urban Design at UCL’s The Bartlett School of Architecture with over 25 years of senior management experience. Well versed in urban design policy and environment strategies, Bishop has led major planning and land negotiations and community regeneration projects. He previously served as a design advisor to the Mayor of London and consulted on several design projects around the world.

Peter Bishop said “I am very pleased to be appointed as chair of this outstanding panel of people. There is a lot of pressure on councils across the UK to get more housing and commercial projects delivered but we must create the best buildings for people that are life enhancing- we spend 80-90% of our lives in our homes, offices and other indoor spaces so it is hugely important.  Our collective expertise will help Watford Borough Council ensure that only the highest quality design is achieved on major developments. I look forward to convening the first panel meeting”

From July, the panel will independently assess the major planning submissions received by Watford Borough Council Its collective assessment will then be passed to planning officers and used to inform the decision making process.

Panel members also include:

  • Helen Allen – Director, David Bonnett Associates
  • Irfan Alam – Associate Director, Pitman Tozer
  • Anna Bardos – Director, Tim Ronalds Architects
  • Maurizio Biadene – Associate, Karakusevic Carson
  • Thomas Bryans – Co-Founder and Director, IF-DO
  • Marie Burns – Consultant (Founding Director, Burns + Nice)
  • Joanne Cave – Partner, David Lock Associates
  • Laurie Handcock – Director, Iceni Projects
  • Rachel Hearn – Design Principal, LLDC
  • Bevan Jones – Associate, Greengage
  • Michael Popper – Founding Director, P3r Engineers
  • Tahera Rouf – Associate, RCKa
  • Nicola Rutt – Partner, Hawkins\Brown
  • Linda Thiel – Partner, White Arkitekter
  • Andrew Thornhill – Director, Churchman Thornhill Finch
  • Alex Wraight – Partner, Allies and Morrison

The new Place Shaping Panel was created to help Watford overcome mounting development pressures as the borough continues to grow. A busy and historic Hertfordshire town that is well connected to central London, Watford is a growing economic hub. It has a population of more than 96,000 and is home to a number of head offices, a premiership football club, award-winning parks and Warner Bros. Studio Leavesden (home to Harry Potter). But as one of the smallest boroughs in the UK, land for development is limited.

Panel members were selected through a competitive application process and will be overseen by a third party to maintain the independence of the panel’s advice.

For more information, please contact Linda McKeown, email linda.mckeown@watford.gov.uk

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