29 November 2016



Places Matter! drives up the quality of place making in the North West; providing support to designers and clients, and celebrating design excellence. It is delivered through our partner organisations RIBA North West and the Design Network, working with other institutes and bodies such as Heritage England and the HCA.

Places Matter! has been actively running a design review service in the North West of England since 2007 and its expert panels have reviewed over 500 schemes, with a combined value of more than £4bn since its inception.

If you are interested in helping to assess architectural designs, complex projects, masterplans and development frameworks across the North West, then this is your opportunity to contribute to the quality of development in the built environment. We offer an impartial service to designers, developers and local authorities to review all schemes proposed within the North West of England.

We are seeking applications for the role on Panel Member of Places Matter! Design Review (minimum of 2 days commitment p.a.). The contract is initially for two years beginning January 2017 and will be remunerated at our revised rate of £275 per day for panel members.

Applications are welcome from people working in the fields of urban design, architecture, sustainability, accessibility, landscape architecture, the historic environment, engineering, the arts, planning, investment and development. Candidates from other fields are also encouraged to apply.

For further information about Places Matter! and to apply please click here

Places Matter Recruitment Document 2016

Please apply by submitting:

A cover letter explaining what skills you would bring to panel and whether you have ever been on a design review panel

Your CV

2 references

details of membership of an appropriate professional body

Send applications to:

For existing Panel Members wishing to renew their contracts, please submit applications by 5 December for ‘fast-track’ process.

Closing date is 12:00 noon Monday 19 December 2016.


19 March 2014

Would you like to become a Design Review Panel Member?

PlacesMatter!, Integreat Plus, NEDRES and  aim to drive up the quality of place making across the North of England, providing support for good design and celebrating success. They are delivered with partner organisation, the Design Network.

Are you interested in helping to assess schemes that are being proposed in the North of England? If so, This is your opportunity to contribute to the quality of development in the built environment. We all offer an impartial service to local authorities, developers and designers to review schemes proposed across the North.

We are seeking applications for the following:

  • Panel Member of Integreat Plus Design Review Panel (Yorkshire and Humber)
  • Panel Member of NEDRES Design Review Panel (Northeast)
  • Panel Member of PlacesMatter! Design Review Panel (Northwest)

Applications are welcome from people working in the fields of urban design, architecture, sustainable design, accessibility, landscape architecture, the historic environment, engineering, the arts, planning, building performance evaluation, investment and development but candidates from other fields are also encouraged to apply

If you are interested in one, two or all three panels, you need only complete ONE application form.

For further information about the three Northern Panels, please visit:

Integreat Plus’ Design Review Panel,

The Northwest PlacesMatter! Design Review Panel,

The NEDRES Northeast Design Review Panel,

To apply to any or all of the panels, please go to

Closing date, 5.00pm 31 March 2014. – NOW CLOSED



22 January 2014

Rochdale Borough Council and RIBA announce Rochdale competition winner
Rochdale Borough Council and the Royal Institute of Architects (RIBA) have named Manchester- based BDP as the winners of design competition to transform the town centre and complement plans to reopen the River Roch.

BDP, who successfully fought off a strong shortlist which included Adam Khan Architects, Atkins, Bauman Lyons and Land Use Consultants, won with a design which included glass viewing platforms to allow visitors to see the exposed bridges in more detail as well as extensive greenery around the site.

The panel which chose the winning design consisted of Rochdale Council leader Colin Lambert, Rochdale Council’s head of planning Mark Robinson, local architect Paul Clark, chartered landscape architect and Places Matter! panel member Annie Coombes and architect and urban designer, Charles Wilson.

28 October 2013

RIBA Architecture Centre to Open in Liverpool in 2014
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) will be opening an architecture centre at the Mann Island development on the iconic Liverpool Waterfront in early 2015. The RIBA’s new architecture centre will sit at the heart of Liverpool’s UNESCO World Heritage Site and provide galleries, office facilities for RIBA staff in the North West, office and conference spaces, a cafe and a shop.

Created by the RIBA with support from local partners, the centre will help visitors to discover, participate in and be inspired by architecture. Hosting an exciting programme of activities aimed at families and professionals alike, it will become a focal point for architecture and design in the North West region.

Liverpool was selected as the home for the centre after a lengthy independent study of potential locations across the UK, and following extensive engagement with key public and private sector stakeholders from across the region.

RIBA President Stephen Hodder said:

“The RIBA is committed to engaging the public with architecture and we are delighted to be able to have a permanent base in Liverpool that will allow us to share our exhibitions and collections outside of London. The prominent high-footfall location of our new public gallery at Mann Island, next to the Three Graces, the new Museum of Liverpool, Liverpool One and the attractions of the Albert Dock will help us to reach a much wider audience in the North West. The new facilities, alongside conference and desk space for our staff and others, will mean we can offer even greater support to all our members in the region.”

Robert Hough, Chair of Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, said:

“The LEP was pleased to support this project from its inception and we are delighted to see it finally come to fruition. The fact that RIBA have chosen to establish their architecture centre here speaks volumes for Liverpool’s standing in the architectural world and I am sure it will be a place of pilgrimage for architects from all over the world.

“In addition it is perfectly situated on the Liverpool Waterfront to capture a large share of our cultural visitor market who have already shown their enthusiasm for architecture through their patronage of the RIBA walking tours programme.”

At the heart of the project will be an exhibition gallery with museum conditions, which will be able to host an inspiring programme of exhibitions and show the RIBA’s world-class architectural collections in the region.

The public area of the centre includes a ‘city gallery’, conference/lecture space, meeting rooms, an independent café and a shop. Desk space will be available for letting to RIBA Members and external organisations, to support the development of a thriving architecture and design community space. A programme of outreach activity including RIBA Liverpool City tours, education and talks programmes will be based at the centre.

Max Steinberg, Chief Executive of Liverpool Vision, said: “We are pleased to welcome the RIBA to Mann Island, and are delighted that it is opening in late 2014. The RIBA is an internationally-renowned institution and its choice of Liverpool reflects both the city’s reputation across the world and the quality of its built environment. It will provide us with a place to do business in an environment that showcases the vision and ambition for the city, as well as further enhancing the waterfront’s visitor offer. The news of RIBA Mann Island comes to Liverpool at a very exciting time – next year Liverpool hosts the International Festival of Business 2014, which will see world-class business events staged across the city region through June and July.”

For further press information please contact: Andrew Ruffler, Regional Director RIBA NW,

30 July 2013

Places Matter! Partners in Rochdale Town Centre Competition
Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council, the RIBA and Places Matter! are challenging teams of urbanists worldwide to be inspired and inspire others in bringing life back to Rochdale’s streets.

The main focus of the competition is on the public realm and ginnels around the revealed River Roch as well as the historic bridge in the Butts.  Entrants are invited to think about the wider influence and potential of their proposals in particular how the disjointed parts of the town centre may be reconnected.  Rochdale MBC plan to reveal the Roch by opening sections of the river through The Butts and restoring the medieval bridge to transform the centre of Rochdale.  The ‘discovery’ of the medieval bridge, unknowingly crossed by thousands of people every day is of the utmost significance and will instil a sense of pride, hope and identify for Rochdale.  Design proposals are sought befitting of the historic backdrop to bring life and reconnect the streets of Rochdale.

Councillor Peter Williams, Rochdale Council’s cabinet member for Economic Development and Customer Services said:  “Our exciting plans to re-open the River Roch, will reveal the hidden history of the bridge and the river.  Through the International Design Competition we are challenging urbanists to create a high quality public realm around the river reopening, which will enhance the setting of the town’s heritage assets and improve connections north and south of the river.”

Chris Smith, English Heritage’s National Planning and Conservation Director said “English Heritage has long known and valued the assets at the heart of Rochdale and is delighted to be supporting the exciting steps towards further revealing, enhancing and tying together the centre.  By aspiring to the quality of creative thinking which an international design competition can unlock, Rochdale shows admirable ambition.  I look forward to the further improvement of an already great place.”

Darren Ratcliffe, who is English Heritage’s Historic Places Adviser in the north west and is leading English Heritage’s involvement in the competition, added “Working with Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council, the Rochdale Development Agency, Places Matter! and RIBA to financially support and develop this competition has been a pleasure. I am sure the competition will generate significant national and international interest, we’re looking forward to seeing the entries received and to continuing our work in this great town.”

The competition is open to architects, landscape designers/architects, urban designers and heritage professionals worldwide.   Entries from emerging designers are welcomed and encouraged and where appropriate this may require a collaborative approach.  Stage 1 entries will be judged anonymously and five teams will shortlisted to proceed to the second stage with each receiving an honoraria payment of £3,000 +VAT.

For further details about the Rochdale Town Centre Competition and how to register for the competition please visit and follow the link to Live Competitions.  Deadline for receipt of designs is 2.00pm on Tuesday 10 September 2013.        

23 July 2013

Applications Sought for the Old Doha Prize
The Old Doha Prize is a new competition which will bring together architects based in Britain and Qatar for a one week design charette in November. Organised by the British Council and Qatar Museums Authority, the charette will offer a chance for UK and Qatar based architects to collaborate and research new ways to address the changing urban landscape of Old Doha, and explore issues of contemporary heritage and urban design. The winning team will be awarded the Old Doha Prize and a grant of £15,000 to further implement ideas explored as part of the design residency. 

The Open Call announcement is now live on the British Council blog:, and the QatarUK site in both English and Arabic. This includes details on eligibility and how to apply, before the UK deadline of Thursday 30 August 2013.

16 July 2013

Places Matter Invited to consult on Farrell Review
Sir Terry Farrell has been asked by Culture and Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey to undertake a new, independent Review of Architecture and the Built Environment.

Places Matter! will attend a Regional Workshop to contribute to the discussions.

You can read more about The Farrell Review here.

15 July 2013

Places Matter! conducts training for LA’s and RSL.
Over the last few months Places Matter! has conducted a number of training sessions for North West Local Authorities and Registered Social Landlords, including topics on Building for Life 12, Urban Design, Manual for Streets.

Comments from Attendees include:

“Thanks for an enjoyable day. Very informative, well-pitched and by articulate presenters – Definitely style and substance!”

“It was a really good, balanced session which flowed very well. The presenters were very engaging”

“This session provided a structure in which to review new schemes on quality rather than merely on the basis of personal taste.”

If you think your organisation could benefit from a Places Matter! training programme please contact us.

21 March 2013

RIBA Yorkshire Seeks Events and Professional Development Co-ordinator

Events and Professional Development Coordinator Location: Leeds

19 February 2013
Housing Design Awards
England’s Housing Design Awards, cited by the Government in its Housing Strategy as its yardstick.

13 December 2012
RIBA CPD Club aims to help you meet your training requirements by providing an annual programme of core events which will satisfy your CPD needs and offer you an opportunity to learn new skills.

13 December 2012
Places Matter! is pleased to announce that Preston City Council has adopted the Central Lancashire Design Supplementary Planning Document

12 December 2012
Places Matter! Christmas Crackers Announced
Places Matter! has announced this year’s winners of its Christmas Crackers, an annual festive awards scheme for outstanding contributions to design and the built environment.

19 November 2012
Job opportunity for a Built Environment Professional at Greater Manchester Police
Career Opportunity – DFS Consultant

9 August 2012
Places Matter! seek Programme Officer
An exciting opportunity has now become available for a Programme Officer to join the business on a part time basis.

11 June 2012
Design Wayfinder Published
Design now has an even stronger role to play in the planning system, both in terms of plan making and decision taking. While the Government has announced a strategic review of guidance documents, there is a wealth of expertise and evidence on how best to achieve good quality design outcomes which are still relevant today.

15 May 2012
PLACED is looking for enthusiastic design professionals to join its team
Are you passionate about the built environment? Would you like to use your knowledge, skills and experience to inspire young people about the world around them?

15 May 2012
Fantastic FREE opportunity for 15-18 year olds
PLACED is partnering Liverpool John Moores University and the University of Central Lancashire to offer an exciting opportunity for potential future architects, urban designers, planners and interi

8 May 2012
RIBA launches new photography competition
The RIBA has launched a new photography competition, Architecture 2012, open to entries from all RIBA members in any category.

2 May 2012
If buildings could talk…
The RIBA is pleased to announce the return of its popular RIBA Liverpool City Tours in May with a new tour and an extended programme.

25 April 2012
Cronton Colliery Competition – Winner Announced
The challenge to design a pioneering new visitor destination on a former colliery has inspired creative teams across the world to push the boundaries of landscape and architecture.

10 April 2012
Sign up to Architect in the House 2012
Architect in the House, the annual charitable scheme that sees RIBA architects giving homeowners an hour’s free consultation in exchange for a donation to Shelter, launches on 16 April.

10 April 2012
David Kester to leave the Design Council
After nine years as Chief Executive of the Design Council, David Kester has announced that he will be leaving the Design Council at the end of June 2012. Until then, he will focus on major po

More 29 March 2012
Cronton Colliery Competition Finalists on Exhibition
The challenge to design a pioneering new visitor destination on a former colliery inspired creative teams across the world to push the boundaries of landscape and architecture.

22 March 2012
Design Review Service receives its first paid schemes!
The 7th February marked the day when we hosted our first paid for Design Review!

6 March 2012

2 March 2012
RIBA Competitions: The Northern Way Exhibition
The RIBA has been the major force responsible for devising and implementing competitions in the UK for over a decade. RIBA Competitions delivers variety inspiration and value through expertly

1 March 2012
Design Council Cabe looking for ‘BEEs’ to champion good design
Are you passionate about the design quality of buildings and spaces?

1 March 2012
Cronton Colliery Competition Finalists Announced
The challenge to design a pioneering new visitor destination on a former colliery has inspired creative teams across the world to push the boundaries of landscape and architecture.

20 February 2012
Places Matter! Publishes Good Food Store Design Paper
With new food stores being big news at both the national and local level, and present in some form in most cities, towns, villages and high streets, or proposals for a food store in the making; Places Matter! has published a report giving a ‘snapshot’ of good food store design at a national level and in the North West.

24 January 2012
Manchester and Pennine Waterway Partnership – the search is on
Last year the Government announced that British Waterways would transfer its canals and rivers in England and Wales to a new charitable trust, the Canal & River Trust. The Canal & Riv

24 January 2012
New Director of Design Council Cabe announced
Nahid Majid OBE is to be the new Director of Design Council Cabe, the Design Council announces.

9 January 2012
Nationwide Announces This Year’s Winners In Sustainable Housing Competition 2011
Nationwide Building Society has announced the winners of the third Nationwide Sustainable Housing Competition, in partnership with RIBA Competitions.

9 January 2012
The Trust Seeks Visionaries for Cronton
National land charity the Land Trust has launched an international competition to find the most inspirational design and funding team to create a new visitor destination and public open space.