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Places Matter

Places Matter

Places Matter

Bespoke independent design review services for clients in north west England.

Independent design review services

Places Matter is an independent organisation, hosted by RIBA, which is devoted to generating a strong sense of place in living, working and leisure environments throughout north west England.

We work across the public, private and third sectors to drive up the skills and knowledge of all those involved in new development, promoting good design and encouraging strong client leadership.

We are based at RIBA North in Liverpool. Our expert design review panel provides timely and impartial advice that can add value to the development process, operating under the widely recognised Ten Principles of Good Design.

We hold set monthly design review panel meetings, but will arrange additional sessions to meet your client’s needs and development timetable.

Download our brochure, which outlines our approach to design review and hear what our clients have to say about the benefits of an independent critical friend.

Submit a project

To submit a project for a panel meeting, download and complete our form, or email

Standard fees

  • Single project; single house P80e review; and smaller residential schemes up to 45 dwellings: £3,950 + VAT
  • Larger residential schemes over 45 dwellings / sustainable urban expansion / garden village / major regeneration schemes: £4,950 + VAT
  • Desk Review of a previously seen scheme: charged at 50% of the original fee + VAT

All fees are payable a minimum of one week in advance of the Design Review. All prices quoted are for online Design Review. In-person Design Review can be arranged, if required, but please add £2,000 + VAT.

Design training

We are happy to arrange bespoke team training sessions, which will be quoted for on request.

Building for a Healthy Life

We are the first 'accredited provider' of this service in the north west of England, working for public bodies, social housing providers and developers. All assessments and training on this can be quoted upon request.

Building for a Healthy Life: Accredited Provider - PlacesMatter

Places Matter panel

These are the current panel members, drawn from across the built environment professions. 

We seek to ensure that panel members skills are matched to the requirements of the projects under review and each panel will usually contain a mix of architects, landscape architects and urban designers, with planners, master planners, engineers, developers, historic and conservation specialists, and sustainability experts added when we feel this is needed.

Our current co-Chairs are Annie Coombs and Matt Brook.

Annie Coombs, Landscape Architect (Chair)

As co-chair of the Places Matter design review panel, and a deputy chair of the HS2 design panel, Annie Coombs regularly chairs or participates in design review. She was a national design review panellist for CABE and is a Design Council CABE built environment expert. Annie is also an examining inspector for major infrastructure with the Planning Inspectorate.

Matt Brook, Chartered Architect - Founding Director of Matt Brook Architects (Chair)

Matt Brook is an industry-leading designer, who has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with RIBA, which has included chairing RIBA North West and serving on RIBA's National Council. Matt is passionate about the positive impact that great design can have on people and places. Leading Matt Brook Architects' people-focused design approach, he brings a clear rationale to every project, which produces simple elegant spaces and memorable places. Matt has designed numerous high profile and award-winning schemes, including Mann Island, a RIBA Award winning project on a highly significant and complex site within a former World Heritage Site, cited by Historic England as an exemplar response to context. 


Places Matter

Contact us

Contact us for a quote and to arrange a panel meeting.

Further reading

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