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You are here:home > Environment > Planning services > Planning permission > Design and access statements

Design and access statements

From 10 August 2006 Design & Access Statements (DAS) have been required for all outline and full applications for planning permission (including Listed Building Consent)

Below is an FAQ of the most common questions regarding this document and at the bottom of the page you will find links to other helpful documents and websites.

Design & Access Statements - FAQ

1. What is a design and access statement?

It is a short report to accompany both outline and full planning applications for certain types of permissions and consents, and generally will be required for all planning and listed building consent applications.

They were introduced with effect from 10 August 2006. The changes have arisen through amendments to the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2010 (DMPO).

If you do not submit a design and access statement with the appropriate applications they may be made invalid and delay the outcome.

2. When is a design and access statement NOT required?

  • A material change in use of land or buildings unless this includes operational development
  • Engineering/Mining operations

  • Development to or within the curtilage of an existing dwelling house (householder applications), unless it is listed or in a designated area such as a National Park, Site of Special Scientific Interest, Conservation Area, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or World Heritage Site

  • Advertisement applications

  • Tree Preservation Orders

  • Applications for the storage of hazardous substances

3. What should it include?

The report needs to 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.

It provides an opportunity for the applicant to demonstrate his/her commitment to achieving good design and ensures 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 further illustrate the points made. For most straightforward applications, the statement will be short, whereas for more complicated applications we will require a detailed report.

A good design and access statement must demonstrate steps taken to appraise the context of a proposed development. To gain a good understanding of context and to use it appropriately applicants should follow a design process, which includes:

  • The design process - explain the design principles and concepts applied to particular aspects of the proposal.

  • Amount of development - how much will be built on site, number of units/floor space, reasons for quantity Use - what buildings and spaces will be used for

  • Layout - how the buildings, routes and open spaces (both private/public) are to be arranged on site and their relationship to each other. Explain and justify how these relationships will help create safe, vibrant and successful places. Scale - how big the buildings and spaces will be in terms of their height/ width /length in relation to their surroundings.

  • Appearance - details of materials/architectural details, decoration, lighting, colour and texture.

  • Landscaping - treatment of private and public spaces, hard and soft landscaping. Statements should also explain how landscaping will be maintained.

  • Access – to the development for all users, to the public transport network, emergency services where relevant.

For guidance on how to write these statements, view the Design and access statements guide at the bottom of the page.

4. What should the design and access statement for a listed building application include?

Where a planning application is submitted in parallel with a listed building consent, a single, combined statement should address the requirements of both. Neither application should be submitted without the corresponding statement being included. 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

  • The building's setting

The statement should detail any specific issues that arise because the building is listed, and if it is not possible to provide inclusive design, this needs to be expanded upon in the statement.

Statements should make clear how the approach to access has balanced the duties imposed by the Disability Discrimination Act where the proposal is subject to those, and the particular historic/architectural significance of the building.

5. How will the design and access statement be used?

It is a communication tool to enable design rationale to be more transparent to stakeholders including the local planning authority and general public and so should avoid use of excessive technical jargon.

Statements will be made public and issued to consultees for reference.

Local planning authorities will use Design and Access Statements to assess the design of proposals against relevant policies and proposals set out in Local Development Documents.

Development approved by outline planning permission will be constrained to parameters described in the statement and future decisions will also be consistent with this.

Further information required by the local planning authority as reserved matters, will build on the original Design and Access Statement and will be requested through conditions in outline planning permission.

Design and Access Statements can aid pre-application discussions and bring key issues forward early for consideration in design development.

Downloadable documents

Icon Name of file Size Download time
Image Guide to Drafting Access Statements 25 KB 0secs @ 2Mbps
Image Guide to writing Design & Access Statements 889 KB 4secs @ 2Mbps
Link to download Adobe Acrobat if required

Related links

Other websites
Planning Portal

Contact information