Leading design experts join new Waltham Forest Design Review Panel

The new Design Review Panel posing in front of Waltham Forest Town Hall
Published: 22 May 2024
Filed under: Regeneration and Housing

A new independent Design Review Panel, consisting of design experts and architects, will help guide good growth in Waltham Forest. 

The panel, commissioned by Waltham Forest Council and managed by Frame Projects, will work to advise on the delivery of high-quality development, closely aligned with the council’s missions: to make Waltham Forest a great place to live and age well, to tackle the housing head on, to lead the way for a net-zero borough and create safe, green neighbourhoods where everyone can thrive.

The borough is a leader in attracting and delivering good growth in London - the council works hard to make a big difference to residents’ lives. A key priority for new development in the borough is to achieve the highest – or ‘exemplar’ – design quality. Exemplar design is about more than what a development looks like: it considers human, social, environmental, and financial value.

Waltham Forest has a rich natural, built, and cultural heritage alongside a vibrant and strong sense of community. It was one of the four Growth Boroughs for the 2012 London Olympics, was awarded the first-ever London Borough of Culture in 2019, and became a Night-time Enterprise Zone in the same year. The council has recently adopted its Local Plan (Part 1) that sets out a 15-year vision for the inclusive, sustainable growth needed to help the borough thrive. Through providing specialist independent design advice, the panel will play a key role in helping to deliver this.

The new panel has a strong Waltham Forest identity with the right mix of skills needed to secure exemplar design. It comprises 25 leading experts in architecture, urban design, landscape, heritage, transport and sustainability with links to the borough and it is proudly reflective of the borough’s diverse communities. 

The new Design Review Panel will be chaired by Melissa Dowler, director of award-winning practice Bell Phillips Architects. Over the last decade, Melissa has developed strong links with Waltham Forest on both a professional and personal level. Melissa has worked closely with the council from concept design to construction stage including on the award-winning Jazz Yard – a development of 83 new and affordable homes and a new NHS Health Centre.

Melissa Dowler said: “As chair of the new Design Review Panel, I will support the high level of ambition and engagement with the council, bringing a holistic understanding of the opportunities and challenges faced by developers and design teams.”

Cllr Khan welcoming the new Design Review Panel at Waltham Forest Town Hall

Pictured above: Councillor Khan welcoming the Design Review Panel in the Town Hall. 

Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Housing and Regeneration, Councillor Ahsan Khan said: “It’s the right time launch our new Design Review Panel to help steer our ambitious plans to create 27,000 new homes and vital infrastructure that Waltham Forest needs following the adoption of the Local Plan earlier this year. With the help of leading design experts, we can achieve great things as new developments come forward and I’d like to welcome them all as we embark on this journey to deliver the best outcome for residents.”

A selection of panel members will meet monthly to consider applications, at the request of the council. The review process will be managed externally, by Frame Projects, to ensure its independence.

The full panel is made up of:

  • Melissa Dowler (chair) - Director, Bell Phillips Architects
  • Miranda MacLaren (vice chair) - Director, Morris+Company
  • Adam Khan - Founding Director, Adam Khan Architects
  • Alex Spicer - Director, Matthew Lloyd Architects       
  • Amber Fahey - Sustainability Associate, Be First
  • Angela Crowther - Director, Arup
  • Antje Saunders - Director, Allies and Morrison
  • Duncan Blackmore - Founding Director, Arrant Land
  • Esme Fieldhouse - Associate, Curl la Tourelle Head
  • Jerry Tate - Director, Tate + Co
  • Jessica Reynolds - Director, vPPR Architects
  • Judith Lösing - Director, East
  • Kaori Ohsugi - Director, Stanton Williams
  • Ken Okonkwo - Director, Haworth Tompkins
  • Leigh Bullimore - Partner, Pollard Thomas Edwards
  • Lemma Redda - Director, Grafted
  • Mary Duggan - Founder, Mary Duggan Architects
  • Mellis Haward - Director, Archio
  • Mitakshi Sirsi - Director of Sustainability, Broadway Malyan
  • Nimi Attanayake - Director, nimtim architects
  • Nina Quarshie - Associate, Arup 
  • Sammas Ng - Associate Director, Prior + Partners
  • Simon Abbott - Associate, Levitt Bernstein
  • Tom Kordel - Director and co-founder, XCO2
  • Tom Newby - Director, Buro Happold

Read more about the Waltham Forest Design Review Panel.