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What is a Design and Access Statement?

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

Design and Access Statement Article


The majority of you will never have heard the term ‘Design and Access Statement’ – and with good reason! This document is really only used by Architects, Planners and Councils. Most people will never even need one!


So, what is a Design and Access Statement?


A Design and Access Statement is a crucial supporting statement that accompanies certain applications when applying for planning approval. Not all Planning Applications require a Design and Access Statement and the main thing to point out is that, if you are not in a Conservation Area, and Area of Natural Beauty or a World Heritage Site, you will probably not need to worry about this. You can find out if your home lies within one of these designated areas by visiting your local Government website.


A Design and Access Statement provides a framework for applicants to explain how the proposed development is suitable to the site and its setting and demonstrates that it can be sufficiently accessed by prospective end users. Design and Access statements can help with decision – making by enabling local planning authorities and third parties to better understand the analysis that has led to the design of a development proposal.


When should a Design and Access Statement accompany a Planning Applications?


If your home exists within one the following designated areas, then you will most likely require a Design and Access Statement to accompany your Planning Application:


  • World Heritage Site

  • Conservation Area

  • AONB (Area of Natural Beauty)

Especially if you are planning to develop within one of those areas with:


  • One or more dwellings

  • A building or buildings with a floor space of 100 square meters or more

  • Applications for listed buildings


Also, in the following circumstances:


  • Applications for a major development, such as an area of development of more than half a hectare or consisting of more than 10 dwellings.


What should be included in a Design and Access Statement accompanying an application for Planning Permission?


A Design and Access Statement must:


  • Explain the design principles and concepts that has been applied to the proposed development.

  • Demonstrate the steps taken to appraise the conditions of the proposed development, and how the design of the development takes that condition into account.

  • A development’s condition refers to the particular characteristics of the application site and its wider setting. These will be specific to the circumstances of an individual application and a Design and Access Statement should be tailored accordingly.

  • Design and Access Statements must also explain the applicant’s approach to access and how relevant Local Plan policies have been considered. They must detail any consultation undertaken in relation to access issues, and how the outcome of this consultation has informed the proposed development. Applicants must also explain how any specific issues which might affect access to the proposed development have been dealt with.


What should be covered in a Design and Access Statement accompanying an application for Listed Building Consent?


Design and Access Statements accompanying planning applications for listed building consent must include a description of the design principles and concepts that have been applied to the proposed works, and how they have been taken account of:


  • The special architectural or historic importance of the building

  • The particular physical features of the building that justify its designation as a listed building

  • The building’s setting

  • Unless the proposed works only affect the interior of the building, Design and Access Statements accompanying planning applications for listed building consent must explain how issues relating to access to the building have been dealt with. They must explain the applicant’s approach to access, including what alternative means of access have been considered, and how relevant Local Plan policies have been taken into account of matters to the above points.

  • Design and Access Statements accompanying planning applications for listed building consent must provide information on any consultation that has informed the proposed works. Design and Access Statements must also explain how any specific issues which

might affect access to the building have been addressed.


Lloyd Harden Design offer a couple of different options when it comes to Design and Access Statements. Depending on the scale of the project, and how many of the above boxes your site or project tick, we will either submit a condensed version or a full version. We will be able to tell you exactly which one you require at the initial consultation.

For more information about Planning Applications, Design and Access Statements and how we can help, please click the button below.



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