Design and Access Statements

When is a statement required

A Design and Access Statement must be submitted in support of applications for both outline and full planning permission which is for:

  • development which is major development
  • development where any part is in a designated area (Conservation Area and World Heritage List site) consisting of: provision of one or more dwelling houses, or the provision of a building or buildings where the floorspace created is 100 metres or more

However, statements are not required for:

  • applications under Section 73
  • applications to extend the time limit for implementation of an extant permission
  • applications for engineering or mining applications
  • applications for material change of use
  • applications for waste development

Applications for listed building consent are also required to be accompanied by a Design and Access Statement. In particular, such a statement should address:

  • the special architectural or historic interest of the building
  • the particular physical features of the building that justify its designation as a listed building
  • the building’s setting.

To justify the proposal in a structured way

A Design and Access Statement is a short report accompanying and supporting a planning and/or listed building consent application that should seek to explain and justify the proposal in a structured way. The level of detail required in a Design and Access Statement will depend on the scale and complexity of the application and the length of the statement will vary accordingly.

The Design and Access Statement should cover both the design principles and concepts that have been applied to the proposed development and how issues relating to access to the development have been dealt with.

A major part of a Design and Access Statement is the explanation of how local context has influenced the design. We expect to see clear evidence of how the character of the surrounding area has shaped the chosen design, including the way buildings are laid out and their relationship with trees and hedges.

Any Design and Access Statement supporting a planning application must demonstrate this approach. In simple terms, it must tell the story of how the application came to be the way it is and what influenced it.

The diagram below illustrates the four stages of the design process: Assessment; Involvement; Evaluation and Design, as advocated by Circular 01/06 and the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE), in relation to the key elements of a Design and Access Statement. These elements being Context, Site, Policies and Designations, Community Involvement, Development Options and Proposal.

Design process graph

Further advice regarding the Council’s approach to evaluating the design of development proposals is set out on the Building and landscape design page.

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