Design & Access Statements
A Design & Access Statement must accompany all applications for planning and listed building consent , except for:
- A material change of use of land and buildings (unless it also involves operational development).
- Engineering or mining operations
- Householder developments but statements are required if the property is located with a Conservation Area.
- Tree Preservation Orders
- Storage of Hazardous Waste
What should a statement cover?
Statements are documents that explain the design thinking behind an application, to show that the applicant has thought carefully about how everyone, including disabled people, older people and young children will be able to use the places they want to build. They provide an opportunity for the applicant to demonstrate his/her commitment to achieving good design and ensure accessible design. Statements should include a written description of the proposal and a justification for the application. Photographs, maps and drawings would be helpful to illustrate further the points made.
The statement needs to make reference to the relevant planning policies in the Council's adopted Local Plan and Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG's). Statements should provide a clear reason for any departures from policy. For most straightforward applications, the statement will be short, whereas more complicated applications will require a detailed report.
The statement should address the following:
- The design process - explain the design principles and concepts. Amount of development - how much will be built on site, number of units/floor space, how the development complies with the principles of sustainability and energy conservation.
- Use - what buildings and spaces will be used for
- Layout - how the buildings, private/public spaces are to be arranged on site and their relationship.
- Scale - how big the buildings and spaces will be in terms of their height/ width /length.
- Appearance - details of materials/architectural details.
- Landscaping - treatment of private and public spaces, hard and soft landscaping.
The statement needs to include two potential aspects of access. That is not to say they are separate, but the statement should show that all access issues have been considered together.
- Vehicular and transport links - Why the access points and routes have been chosen.
- Road Layout - how the site responds to road layout and public transport provision and access for emergency services, where relevant.
- Inclusive access - How everyone can get to and move through the place on equal terms regardless of age, disability, ethnicity or social grouping.
Listed Building Consent Applications
Statements should also include a brief explanation of how the design has taken into account the historic and special architectural importance of the building, the particular physical features that justify its designation as a listed building and the building's setting. The statement should detail any specific issues that arise because the building is listed. If it is not possible to provide inclusive design, this needs to be expanded upon in the statement.
Failure to submit a Design and Access Statement makes an application invalid and it cannot be registered. This will result in delays in dealing with the application.
The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) have produced a helpful guide which can be accessed on their website by clicking here.