Design and access

Design and access statements

From 10th August 2006, it will be a requirement for a Design and Access Statement to accompany all planning applications, whether outline or detailed, and all listed building applications with a design and access statement.

These changes have resulted from s.42 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. A more detailed explanation of the changes is set out in Section 3 of Circular 01/2006 issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government. Useful advice is available within the document "Design and access statements: How to write, read and use them" published by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE).

The changes require that applications for outline or full planning permission (including applications for Listed Building Consent) be accompanied by a Design and Access Statement. There are exceptions to this. Statements will not be required for applications for:

  • change of use applications (unless they involve operational development)
  • applications for engineering or mining operations
  • applications for extensions or additions to an existing dwelling house or for development within its curtilage for purposes incidental to the enjoyment of the dwelling house (unless the dwelling house lies within a conservation area), and
  • advertisement applications

The Council is prohibited from entertaining applications unless a design and access statement is supplied when required. This means that if an application that requires such a statement is submitted without one it will not be considered valid or registered. Four copies will be required with each application.

Purpose of Design and Access Statement

The purpose of the design and access statement is not only to explain and justify the proposals within the application but also to set out the principles and concepts to be used when the proposals are developed in the future. An underlying objective should be to help all those assessing the application, including third party consultees such as local residents and businesses, to understand the design and access rationale that underpins the proposals. They will provide an opportunity for developers and designers to demonstrate their commitment to achieving good design and ensuring accessibility.

Components of Design and Access Statement

The design and access statement should be a short report although its length will be dictated by the scale or complexity of proposals within the planning application. The statement will not be a substitute for drawings or other material required to accompany the submitted planning application.

The design and access statement should explain the design principles and concepts that have been applied to particular aspects of the proposals - these are the amount, layout, scale, landscaping and appearance of the development.

The design and access statement must demonstrate the steps taken to appraise the context of the proposed development, following the design process of assessment of context, involvement of both community members and professionals, evaluation of information collected and finally the design of the scheme.

The design and access statement should explain how access arrangements will ensure that all users have equal and convenient access to buildings and spaces and the public transport network. This should include how the development meets the access needs of disabled people and will deal with access for emergency services.

Listed Building Consent

Design and access statements accompanying listed building consent applications should be formulated as above but additionally cover;

  • the historic and special architectural importance of the building
  • the particular physical features of the building that justify its designation as a listed building and the building's setting

Pre-Application Discussions

The design and access statement would be a useful tool in pre-application discussions with the Council. It may be amended as the development proposals are amended as a result of negotiations.

Supporting Documentation

Guidance on Changes to the Development Control System