What is a design and access statement?

With a few exceptions, all applications for planning permission and listed building consent need to be accompanied by a design and access statement. This 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 all prospective users will be able to gain access to and through the development, 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 affecting a historic asset (e.g. a listed building or conservation area), the design and access statement needs to provide a description of the significance of the historic asset and the impact of the proposal on that significance. The level of detail should be proportionate to the importance of the heritage asset and sufficient to understand the impact on its significance. For works to listed buildings, this needs to ensure the special architectural or historic importance of the building, any important physical features of the building, and its setting are taken into account. This is a requirement of Policy HE6 of PPS5, Planning for the Historic Environment. Further information can be found in the Historic Environment Planning Practice Guide, which can be downloaded from the right of the page. Applications which do not comply with this requirement will not be validated or progressed.

Applications which need to be accompanied by a design and access statement but are submitted without one will not be registered until the statement has been received. Although the length of statements needs to be proportionate to the scale and complexity of the proposed development, they must go into sufficient depth to illustrate the process that has led to the proposal and it needs to explain and justify the proposal in a structured way.

The exceptions to the need to submit a design and access statement are:

i. engineering or mining operations

ii. development of an existing dwellinghouse, or development within the cartilage of a dwellinghouse for any purpose incidental to the enjoyment of the dwellinghouse, where no part of that dwellinghouse or cartilage is within a designated area

iii. a material change in the use of land or buildings, unless it also involves operational development

iv. extensions to the time limits for implementing existing planning permissions

v. development of an existing flat for any purpose incidental to the enjoyment of the flat as such, where no part of that flat is within a designated area

vi. the extension of an existing building used for non-domestic purposes where the floorspace created by the development does not exceed 100 square metres and where no part of the building or the development is within a designated area

vii. the erection, construction, improvement or alteration of a gate, fence, wall or other means of enclosure, up to 2m high or the height of the existing means of enclosure, whichever is the higher, where no part of the building or the development is within a designated area or the cartilage of a listed building

viii. development on operational land consisting of the erection of a building or structure up to 100 cubic metres in volume and 15m in height and where no part of the development is within a designated area

ix. the alteration of an existing building where the alteration does not increase the size of the building and where no part of the building or the development is within a designated area

x. the erection, alteration or replacement of plant or machinery where, as a result of the development, the height of the plant or machinery would not exceed the greater of 15 metres above ground level, or the height of the original plant or machinery, and where no part of the development is within a designated area; or

xi. development of land pursuant to section 73 (determination of applications to develop land without conditions previously attached) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990

Last reviewed: 21 - 06 - 2011

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