LEADING planners have been appointed to advise developers on major applications in the wake of the controversy over the Castle Mill flats development.

Vincent Goodstadt conducted a review after the Oxford University student accommodation development in Roger Dudman Way was criticised for overshadowing Port Meadow. One of his recommendations was for the city council to create a design review panel. The council has now created the Oxford design review panel, in conjunction with the Commission for the Built Environment (CABE).

The panel of 26 experts, chaired by London-based architect Keith Bradley, will meet once a month and discuss major developments, including the redevelopment of the Westgate Centre.

Members of the panel met on Thursday and visited the Westgate.

David Edwards, executive director for city development and housing, said the scheme was a tried and tested method of promoting good design.

He added: “This is not going to cost the taxpayer a penny. The developers should be prepared to pay a fee for the design review. The panellists, the council and CABE are not making any money out of this.”

Mr Bradley, of award-winning architects Feilden Clegg Bradley, said: “This should make the planning process in Oxford more efficient.”