Ipswich has had a Conservation Panel for at least 37 years. For about 25 of those years, Peter Underwood was the Chairman and it was through the Panel that he and Bob Kindred had such an enormous effect on the built environment in the town. It has always been a group of professionals together with councillors and planning officers who have sat monthly to discuss all planning applications, highway design and any other measure which might affect a Listed building or a Conservation Area directly or indirectly. It owes its continuing existence to enlightened regimes at Ipswich Borough Council over many years. The Borough has provided the Panel with its meeting place, officer time and administrative support.
For a few years the Panel has been attempting to change its remit. The loss of CABE and the introduction of the National Planning Policy Framework have provided the final straw to make the changes to its constitution. One good paragraph in that document is to make it good practice for every local planning authority to have a design panel which should comment on every aspect of planning design wherever it occurs throughout the local planning authority.
So the' Ipswich Conservation Advisory Panel' has been renamed the 'Ipswich Conservation and Design Panel'. It has been strengthened by the inclusion of more architects and is now receiving training. It is strongly supported by the councillors who sit on the Planning and Development Committee. Hopefully, its views on urban design will be expressed more strongly and more heed taken of them by developers so that they will come to present a better standard of design than heretofore.