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Design and Access Statements

A design and access statement is a short report accompanying and supporting a planning application. It helps to illustrate the process that has led to the proposed development 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. The length of the statement varies accordingly.  Statements must be proportional to the complexity of the application, but need not be too long.

When a design and access statement is required

Design and access statements are required for all planning applications involving:

  • major development (defined as, in the case of residential development, ten or more dwellings or, if the number of dwellings is not known, a site area of 0.5 hectares or more; and in other cases development involving floor space of 1,000 square metres or more, or, if floor space not given, a site of one hectare or more)
  • where any part of the development is in a conservation area or world heritage site and the development consists of one or more dwelling houses or the provision of a building or buildings where the floor space created by the development is 100 square metres or more
  • applications for listed building consent.

This does not apply to an application for planning permission to: 

(a) develop land without complying with conditions attached to a previous permission

(b) where the development that is subject of the application has not yet begun, was granted planning permission on or before 1 October 2010 and was subject to a time limit condition that has not expired

(c)  for outline planning permission where the development has begun in accord acne with reserved matters approval if required or expressly permitted to be implemented in phases, was granted planning permission on or before 1 October 2010 and was subject to a time limit condition that has not expired

(d) for engineering or mining operations

(e)  for a material change in use of land or buildings

(f)  for development which is waste development.

The status of the design and access statement

If you fail to submit a design and access statement your application will be treated as invalid and cannot be processed which will delay the decision.

The design and access statement will be a material consideration, and the commitments made within them may be enforced through conditions or legal agreements.

What is required

A design and access statement must:

(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 takes 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

(e)     explain how any specific issues which might affect access to the development have been addressed.

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
  • 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.

Last updated 5 August 2015

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