What is needed in a design and access statement

Design and access statements

The government is requiring all planning applications to adopt good urban design parctice. A major part of this initiative is the requirement for many planning applications to be accompanied by Design and Access Statements to set out the rationale behind proposals. This 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 and resolved.

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. Statements must be proportionate to the complexity of the application, but need not be long. The use of sketches, plans and photos can often help explain and justify the proposals.

It is a requirement that all planning applications are accompanied by a Design and Access Statement except for the following types of application:

  • Change of use
  • Engineering or mining operations
  • Householder development (except in conservation areas where a statement is still required)
  • Applications to develop land without compliance with conditions previously attached
  • Certain specified types of development outside designated areas

Statements accompanying applications for Listed Building Consent should explain how the design has taken account of:

  • the historic and special architectural importance of the building
  • the particular physical features of the building that justify its designation as a listed building
  • the building's setting

More information on the requirements please refer to Design and Access Statements: How to Write, Read and Use Them.

Outline planning applications

In addition, the matters that can be reserved for future consideration following outline planning applications can vary. What matters are reserved will also impact on the level and type of information necessary to validate outline applications. Complete the relevant application forms and checklist with the aid of guidance notes.