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Design and access statements

With a few exceptions (detailed below), all applications for Planning Permission and Listed Building Consent submitted need to be accompanied by a 'Design and Access Statement'.  The 'Design and Access Statement' needs to explain:

  • The design principles and concepts that have been applied to the development - i.e. relating to the amount, layout, scale, landscaping and appearance of the development, and how the design of the development takes into account its context.
  • How issues relating to access to the development have been dealt with - i.e. the policy adopted relating to access and how relevant development plan policies have been taken into account, whether any consultation has been undertaken, how any issues which might affect access have been addressed, how prospective users will be able to gain access to the development from the existing transport network, reasons for choosing the main points of access to the site and the layout of internal routes, and how features which ensure access will be maintained.
  • In relation to all applications for listed building consent, the design principles and concepts that have been applied to the scale, layout and appearance of the works, and how these and the adopted policy relating to access take account of the special architectural or historic importance of the building, any important physical features of the building, and the building's setting.

Applications which need to be accompanied by a Design and Access Statement but are submitted without one will not be validated until the Statement has been received. Four copies of the statement are required.  

The exceptions to the need to submit a Design and Access Statement are:

  • Enginerring or mining operations;
  • Material changes of use of land or buildings
  • Householder planning applications, unless any part of the site lies within a Conservation Area of AONB.

Guidance on the preparation of Design and Access Statements

Guidance on design and access statements can be found on the Department for Communities and Local Government website.

The Design Council, which incorporates CABE have published a useful guide entitled ‘Design and access statements: how to write, read and use them’ (June 2006).  A copy of this Guide can be downloaded from the Design Council website.