About Peter Studdert

I am an independent adviser on city planning and design based in Cambridge, working principally for local and national governments and their agencies and specialising in design review. I am qualified as a town planner, with a background in architecture, and I have over 35 years experience in town planning in local government in Inner London and in Cambridge.

I am a member of Histoic England's Expert Advisory Group and am a Past Chair of their Historic Places Panel.  I chair the Quality Review Panel established in 2015 by the London Borough of Haringey and I am a member of the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town Quality Review Panel managed by Frame Projects. I was an adviser to the UK Government's Building Better Building Beautiful Commission in 2019. 

I am an Associate of Cambridge Architectural Research Ltd and a member of the Highbury Group for Housing Delivery at the University of Westminster. I am a By-Fellow at Hughes Hall, University of Cambridge.

I was Director of Planning at Cambridge City Council from 1991-2004 where I led the work on developing the growth strategy for the Cambridge Sub-region, as well as leading negotiations on major developments such as the Grand Arcade and the Accordia housing development which won the 2008 RIBA Stirling Prize. In 2004 I moved to Cambridgeshire Horizons as Director for Sustainable Communities where I led a wide range of quality initiatives connected to the Cambridgeshire Growth Strategy.

In 2007 I was appointed to the post of Director of Joint Planning for Cambridge's Growth Areas. This was a unique post which reported equally to the Chief Executives of the three core local authorities: Cambridge City Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council and Cambridgeshire County Council. I managed multi-disciplinary teams drawn from the three authorities and led the negotiations with developers of the major planned new communities on the southern and north western fringes of Cambridge and at the proposed new town at Northstowe. I stood down from this post in March 2011 to establish my own consultancy based in Cambridge.

I can offer a wide range of experience, particularly in the following areas:


I have extensive experience of long term strategic thinking, in particular from playing a key role in the Cambridge Futures initiative in 1998/9 which led to the current growth strategy for the Cambridge Sub-region. At Cambridgeshire Horizons I developed sub-regional strategies for green infrastructure, arts and culture and major sports facilities, as well as chairing the Steering Group for the Quality Charter for Growth. I am a member of the Academy of Urbanism.

New communities

I have led negotiations on master plans for major new communities on the Southern Fringe of Cambridge at Clay Farm and Trumpington Meadows, as well as Cambridge University's North West Cambridge development and the emerging plans for the New Town at Northstowe. I led negotiations on the Accordia housing development which won the 2008 RIBA Stirling Prize. A video describing the Accordia development can be viewed here. In 2009/10 I served on CABE's Ecotowns Design Review Panel.

Major developments

In 1989/90 I led the team negotiating the first planning approval for the redevelopment of Spitalfields Market in Tower Hamlets. In 1994 I commissioned the feasibility study that demonstrated the feasibility of developing the Grand Arcade site in Cambridge for a major new store for John Lewis, and led the subsequent negotiations on the development which opened successfully in 2008. I have particular experience in negotiating complex Section 106 Agreements and in addressing issues concerning financial viability.

Design review

The National Planning Policy Framework encourages local planning authorities to establish Design Review Panels to help them secure the highest standards of design and place-making in new developments. I have extensive experience of both chairing and establishing Design Review Panels. I chaired the Quality Review Panel at the London Legacy Development Corporation from 2012 to 2021 and I currently chair the Quality Review Panel established in 2015 by the London Borough of Haringey. I am a member of the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town Quality Review Panel managed by Frame Projects.  

I established the Cambridgeshire Quality Panel in 2008 which continues to assist the local authorities in assessing major developments against the criteria set out in the Cambridgeshire Quality Charter for Growth, and I also played a leading role in establishing design review in the East of England through the Shape East Design Review Panel (now managed by Design South East).


I have worked in historic cities all my professional career. I was a member of the English Heritage Advisory Committee from 2003-12 and was a member of the Historic England's Urban Panel from 2009 and chaired the Historic Places Panel that replaced it until my term ended in 2021. I was recently appointed a member of Historic England's Expert Advisory Group. From 2012-2018 I served on the East of England Advisory Board of the National Trust. I served on the Executive Committee of the Historic Towns Forum from 1996-2004 and was Chairman from 2000-2002. From 2003-6 I was a member of the Steering Committee of the Department of Culture, Media and Sports' Review of Heritage Designations.


I have extensive experience of embedding the principles of sustainable development into developments at all scales, from master planning through to individual buildings. In 2003/4 I served on the Government's Sustainable Buildings Task Group which recommended the introduction of the Code for Sustainable Homes. While at Cambridgeshire Horizons I led the project team that prepared the award-winning Cambridgeshire Green Infrastructure Strategy.

Community engagement

I am an experienced facilitator for community planning workshops, and I chaired the initial meetings of the Parish Forum established to influence and shape the development of the proposed new town at Northstowe. I am strongly committeed to empowering local communities and engaging with them on the complex challenges that we face in promoting sustainable development. I have made presentations to a wide variety of audiences, and I am a passionate believer in the need to cut through bureaucracy and avoid professional jargon.


Successful placemaking requires close collaboration between a wide variety of professionals and interest groups. I have led multi-disciplinary teams in designing and implementing successful projects in Cambridge and in London. I was a founder member of the Urban Design Group in 1978 and served on its Management Committee from 1980-85. Cambridge City Council was awarded Beacon Council status in 2003/4 for promoting quality in the built environment. From 2014-17 I served on the National Panel for the Civic Trust Awards.

Research and CPD

I am an Associate of Cambridge Architectural Research Ltd and a member of the Highbury Group on housing delivery at the University of Westminster. I have lectured widely and presented papers to national and international conferences.