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Since 10th August 2006, it has been a legal requirement that Design and Access Statements are submitted to accompany planning applications for certain proposals.
A design and access statement is a short report accompanying and supporting a planning application to illustrate the process that has led to the development that is proposed, and to explain the proposal in a structured way. The level of detail required in a design and access statement depends on the scale and complexity of the application, and the length of the statement varies accordingly. Statements must be proportional to the complexity of the application, but need not be long.
Design and access statements help to ensure that development proposals are based on a thoughtful design process and a sustainable approach to access. Statements should improve the quality of proposals: in preparing the design and access statement, developers need to consider and subsequently explain the merit of the design and how it relates to the existing setting.
Design and access statements enable local planning authorities to better understand the analysis which has underpinned the design and how it has led to the development of the scheme. This helps negotiations and decision-making and should lead to an improvement in the quality, sustainability and inclusiveness of the development.
Design and access statements allow local communities, access groups, amenity groups and other stakeholders to involve themselves in the planning process without needing to understand plans that may be technical and confusing.
When a design and access statement is required
Changes in legislation took effect on 25th June 2013. Design and access statements are now required for all planning applications involving
· major development*
· where any part of the development is in a designated area** and the development consists of one or more dwellinghouses or the provision of a building or buildings where the floor space created by the development is 100 square metres or more.
This does not apply to an application for planning permission which is -
(a) Development of land pursuant to section 73 (determination of applications to develop land without conditions previously attached) of the Act;
(b) of the description contained in article 18(1) (b) or (c) (a replacement planning permission subject to a new time limit);
(b) engineering or mining operations;
(c) a material change in use of land or buildings;
(d) for development which is waste development.
* major development is defined as, in the case of residential development, 10 or more dwellings or if the number of dwellings is not know a site area of 0.5 hectares or more; and in other cases development involving floorspace of 1,000 square metres or more, or if floor space not given a site of 1 hectare or more.
**In the context of Newcastle under Lyme Borough Council a designated area means a Conservation Area (the legislation also defines a designated area as a World Heritage Site).
The status of the design and access statement
The Act enables Local Planning Authorities to refuse to register applications that are submitted without a DAS, when it is required, on the grounds that they are invalid. Similarly, statements which do not follow the requirements of a statement will prevent an application from being registered.
The Design and Access Statement will be a material consideration, and the commitments made within them may be enforced through conditions or Legal Agreements.
A design and access statement shall
(a) explain the design principles and concepts that have been applied to the development;
(b) demonstrate the steps taken to appraise the context of the development and how the design of the development rakes that context into account;
(c) explain the policy adopted as to access, and how policies relating to access in relevant local development documents have been taken into account;
(d) state what, if any, consultation has been undertaken on issues relating to access to the development and what account has been taken of the outcome of any consultation; and
(e) explain how any specific issues which might affect access to the development have been addressed.