A new pilot program launched by the NSW Planning Minister Anthony Roberts and Government Architect Peter Poulet will see major developments being reviewed by a panel of experts to ensure better design and planning outcomes.

The State Design Review Panel (SDRP) pilot program will assess State Significant Developments (SSD) in Sydney such as schools, hospitals and large-scale commercial or residential developments during the planning stage with a view to improving the urban environment.

To feature 40 expert members, the SDRP will assign up to five experts for each project, who will send their recommendations to the Department of Planning for further action. According to Mr Poulet, the peer review by fellow architects will help detect problems or missed opportunities, which can be corrected at the planning stage to ensure more thoughtful development.

A key objective of the program is to standardise the approach to good design so that developments enhance their immediate environments and make the city more liveable for residents.

Australian Institute of Architects NSW chapter president Andrew Nimmo said the review panel’s role was purely advisory and it was up to the approval authority’s discretion to accept their recommendations.