Burwood Design Review Panel

An aerial view of Burwood Road at night lit up during a street festival

The Burwood Design Review Panel (BDRP) has been established to examine, evaluate and comment on the design aspects of development applications referred to the BDRP. The panel will be taking into account the Design Excellence Clause contained in section 6.5 of the Burwood Local Environmental Plan and relevant State Environmental Planning Polices as part of the assessment.  

By ensuring that a robust design review is completed it is expected that  higher quality design outcomes will be achieved by new development within the Burwood LGA. This is integral to achieving a positive outcome for the future growth of Burwood and elevating the status of the Burwood Town Centre as a strategic centre

The BDRP will be operated in a very collaborative manner and all applicants for major or complex projects are encouraged to engage with the Panel. This can occur at both prior to the formal lodgement of an application and during the application assessment process. However,  addressing key design issues early will minimise re-design and reduce timeframes at later stages of the application assessment process.

Whilst, the role of the panel is advisory only and has no delegated authority, advice from the panel will be integral to the planning assessment completed for your application.  

Who are the BDRP members?

At the Burwood Council meeting on 26 July 2022, Council endorsed the appointment of the BDRP members for a period of 3 years to August 2025 in accordance with the Panel Terms of Reference. The BRDP is made up of respected industry professionals with expertise in architecture, landscape design and urban design.

The full panel membership will comprise: 

 Name  Area of Expertise Position
 Paul Walter  Urban Designer  Chair
 Karla Castellanos    Urban Designer  Alternate Chair & Panel Member
 Vishal Lakhia  Architect  Alternate Chair & Panel Member
 Stephen Pearse  Architect  Panel Member
 Jill Woodley  Architect  Panel Member
 Jon Johannsen

 Architect &
 Urban Designer

 Panel Member
 Josh Zoeller  Architect &
 Urban Designer
 Panel Member
 Matthew Taylor  Landscape Architect  Panel Member
 Greg Dyson

 Landscape Architect &  
 Urban Designer

 Panel Member


Each meeting will be managed by the Chair (or alternate Chair as required) and operate with a quorum of three members. Appearance on the panel will be on a rotational basis or special invite if particular technical skills are required by the Panel. 

What are the BDRP referral triggers?

It is expected that most new developments within either the Burwood or Strathfield Town Centres, over three storeys in height will be considered by the BDRP. It is unlikely that small scale domestic alterations or additions would be referred. 

Referral triggers include:

  • New developments within the B2 or B4 Zone over three (3) storeys which are subject to clause 6.5 Design Excellence of the Burwood LEP
  • All residential flat buildings or boarding houses 4 storeys or greater not located within a business zone;
  • New developments containing ten (10) or more units of residential accommodation, bedrooms or comparable scale of development
  • Any development or planning proposal deemed by the Director City Strategy to represent potential to significantly impact on the amenity of the locality or region.

What are the matters for consideration by the BDRP?

The BDRP will provide independent, expert and impartial advice on design quality matters in relation to new complex or major development proposals. The Chair is invited to facilitate the meeting in an open and fair manner but it is expected that the function of the Panel will include:

  1. Robust examination, evaluation and critique of the design aspects of a development proposal with respect to the achievement of a high degree of design quality and propose areas that can be improved by the applicant.
  2. Evaluate the achievement for applications subject to the Design Excellence provisions contained in the Burwood LEP, as relevant to the proposal.
  3. Consideration of the strategic Burwood Council Planning documents, including the LEP and DCP, as well as SEPP 65 and Apartment Design Guidelines and other policies relevant to the consideration of the application.
  4. Through the critical assessment of the development application, provide proactive feedback to the applicant on focus areas or design changes required in order to better achieve the objectives of the relevant planning controls and more specifically achievement of design excellence or design quality;
  5. Collaboratively engage with the applicant via any pre-DA meetings that might be requested prior to the formal lodgement of a development application.
  6. Provision of, clear, concise and coordinated advice to applicants both verbally at the meeting and formally via meeting minutes.
  7. At the request of the Director City Strategy, carry out a review of LEP or DCP controls as they relate to the achievement of design quality or design excellence.
  8. At the request of the Director City Strategy, provide advice and commentary that might promote improved design quality outcomes across the Burwood LGA.

What are the BDRP meeting procedures?

The BDRP Panel Meeting will be held on a monthly basis with meeting held on the last Thursday of every month. Several matters will be considered by the panel on a single day and in general the meeting procedures will include:

  • Site visit to allow panel members to familiarise themselves with area (as required)
  • Briefing will be held at Burwood Council Offices, with the availability of online meeting facilities if required.
  • Pre-briefing to BDRP members by Council Officers on key issues related to each application
  • Each application will be allocated 1 hour to be considered by the panel
  • Short presentation from the applicant
  • BDRP member’s questions and review
  • Chair to provide a verbal summary of advice at the closing of the meeting
  • Debrief with the panel and review of draft statement of advice to the applicant, forming the minutes of the meeting
  • The BDRP will not be held as a public meeting, therefore members of the general public will be unable to attend.  

How do I apply to attend a BDRP meeting?

Any application that meets the referral triggers will be sent to the next available meeting once the application is lodged and relevant fees are paid.

Applicants are encouraged to prepare for the meeting and be available to present on the key elements of the proposal. This may include preparing a short presentation, making available any 3D models or visuals that would assist the panel in their assessment of the application. 

How do I make a pre-application BDRP meeting request?

Attending a BDRP meeting early is highly recommended, particularly for major proposals in the Burwood Strathfield Town Centres.

The success of the panel meeting is dependent upon the quality of information provided to the panel for consideration. Applicants are encouraged to consider carefully the information present and provide specific questions to the panel. The applicant must also pay the required fee specified in Council’s Fees and Charges

Importantly, the applicant must provide briefing material ahead of the panel meeting. Consideration should be given to the follow in preparing for the meeting:

  • Following receipt of all information and payment of fees, the request will be allocated to the next available panel
  • Include a written description of the proposal and summary of planning issues
  • Provide a site analysis including contextual information, neighbouring properties and other key features
  • Outline  key plans, concept plans and preliminary design elements of the proposal
  • Provide typical elevations and perspectives
  • Include Site access and servicing arrangements
  • Site survey showing existing RL’s or contours
  • Details of landscaped areas, communal open space or other features that contribute to the public realm
  • Preliminary assessment to the achievement of design excellence

It is requested that all information be in electronic format and suitable for transmission via email. 

Burwood Design Review Panel Meeting Request Form