Lukewarm response to design review panel

Suggestions for a district design review panel to further grow New Plymouth into a viable and vibrant city is still under consideration.

Proposals for a New Plymouth District Design Review Panel was discussed at the council's regulatory committee meeting yesterday, but councillor Gordon Brown said the panel was a luxury the council could not afford.

The panel would consist of three to four members from a variety of backgrounds such as planning, architecture, and surveying and engineering.

Panel members would be paid a meeting fee of $150 per hour capped at a maximum of two hours or $300 per meeting.

Meetings would be "critique sessions" to inform stakeholders about a proposed project's positive aspects and also areas where improvements could be made.

Benefits of having a panel included reducing the risk of poor quality design outcomes and was also seen as a cost-effective method of improving design proposals at an early stage.

It was recommended a three-year trial for a New Plymouth panel.

A budget of $9600 would also be set aside in the council's future annual plans, which would pay for up to eight meetings a year.

John McLeod said he would like to have the committee but there was no way the council could afford it.

He said while the annual expenditure may seem like a small amount, it would eventually add up.

"Pennies make pounds," Mr McLeod said.

NPDC environmental strategy and policy manager Colin Comber said he did consider whether pro bono was a possibility, but potential members were professionals and it was about acknowledging their contributions.

The recommendation would be put forward to the full council for a decision.

Taranaki Daily News