Urban Design Panel 

This page details the activities of the Urban Design Panel - a group of experienced and qualified professionals who provide free, independent design reviews for projects from both private developers and the Nelson City and Tasman District Councils.

The Panel includes local urban design experts, as well as members who have served on panels elsewhere in New Zealand.


The purpose of the Panel is not to delay projects or to create additional difficulties for developers. The idea is to provide urban design advice in a positive way that can assist in achieving a good design and help with any resource consent process. Panel members will be required to keep all information provided to them in their role confidential.

By supporting the Urban Design Panel, the Tasman District Council is looking to achieve great new well-designed buildings and open green spaces that work well and are well used by the people of Tasman.

While the Panel can’t decide on Resource Consent applications, it can provide expert advice and clear recommendations on the design of the proposal and how it might be improved well before a resource consent application is made. Panel assessment may also be available for proposals which do not require resource consent.

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What the Panel Can Provide 

Panel members will consider your project and provide constructive advice and a written report, including recommendations, within five days. Projects will be considered against best urban design practice and the urban design objectives and policies of the relevant Council. The Panel may look at:

  • General design principles including scale, composition and architecture
  • Subdivision design, including recognition of the local context, and provision for diversity in housing and neighbourhood types
  • The relationship of the building to the street, public spaces and surrounding natural and built features
  • The design of pedestrian and vehicle entrances
  • The establishment and improvement of connectivity
  • The amenity and quality of outdoor spaces and places
  • How to integrate artworks into the development
  • Sustainability principles including lot layout and design, water heating, lighting, heating, stormwater management and energy use minimisation
  • Safety for users and passers by
  • Outlook, sunlight access, visual and acoustic privacy, ventilation, size and design
  • Protection of listed heritage buildings, sites and trees
  • The process being undertaken through design and development to ensure a quality urban design outcome is achieved

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Making a Proposal to the Panel 

All developers who have projects with urban design significance are invited and encouraged to contact the relevant Council to seek advice from the Panel well before applying for resource consent or finalising the design. The Panel will also consider any Council capital project that has significant urban design implications.

The Councils are offering the services of the Panel especially to developers of:

  • comprehensive and compact residential developments;
  • buildings in the commercial, mixed business, tourist services and central business zones;
  • buildings in township gateway areas; and
  • other major projects and subdivisions in the region.

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How to Appear Before the Panel 

Attendance at the Urban Design Panel is voluntary and free. The Panel meets on demand and as required. Developers who wish to appear before the Panel should contact the representative at the appropriate Council.

A minimum of three weeks notice (15 working days) is required if you wish to present your design or development.

Nelson City Council

Mandy Bishop, Consents Manager, Nelson City Council. Phone (03) 545 8740 

Tasman District Council

Michael Croxford, Principal Resource Consents Advisor. Phone (03) 543 7241

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Information Required to Present to the Panel 

The specific information required from developers who wish to present to the Panel is outlined in the Urban Design Panel – Checklist that can be downloaded below.

Submit the information to the Panel administrator a minimum of two weeks (10 working days) before the Panel’s meeting.

In general terms, your presentation to the Panel should:

  • Introduce the site in its context;
  • Alert the panel to any issues connected with the design;
  • Promotion of the strengths of the design;
  • Provision of a rationale for the design choices that have been made; and
  • Identify constraints.

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There is no charge if the development is considered by the Panel prior to a resource consent or building consent being lodged. The Panel costs of considering presentations made after lodging a resource consent or building consent will be the responsibility of the applicant.

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Related Links 

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