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Design and access statements in planning applications

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Design and access statements in planning applications

We adopted revised local area requirements in July 2018 and are currently in the process of updating this guidance page. Check the list of Local Area Requirements July 2018 for the most up to date information before submitting your application.

For almost all proposed developments, a design and assess statement will need to be sent with your planning application.

The information below provides further details about:

  • when a design and access statement is required
  • what information this document should include
  • how to submit it to us
  • where further information can be found.

When is a design and access statement required?

A design and access statement should be sent with all planning applications, except for:

  • alterations to a single house or a flat that is not located within a conservation area
  • developments that involve a change of use but with no external alterations
  • extensions of existing buildings used for non-domestic purposes. This is where the floorspace created does not exceed 100 square metres. No part of the site should be within a conservation area
  • alterations of an existing building where the alterations do not increase the
    size of the building and where no part of the site is within a conservation area
  • the erection or alteration of a gate, fence, wall or other means of enclosure. This is up to 2m high or the height of the existing means of enclosure, whichever is the higher. No part of the site should be within a conservation area or the curtilage of a listed building
  • the erection, alteration or replacement of plant or machinery. This is where the new plant or machinery would not exceed 15 metres in height above ground level. It should also not exceed the height of the original plant or machinery. No part of the development should be within a conservation area
  • developments that involve engineering or mining operations
  • development on operational land. This is the erection of a building or structure up to 100 cubic metres in volume and 15m in height. No part of the development should be within a conservation area
  • development of land pursuant to section 73 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990

Design and access statements are not required for:

  • applications relating to advertisement control
  • tree preservation orders
  • prior approval for proposed development
  • extensions to the time limits for implementing existing planning permissions
  • non-material amendments to existing planning permissions.

What information should be included in a design and access statement?

A design and assess statement should include the following information:

  • a description of the existing property or site
    • for example, key features, character, age and previous alterations that have been undertaken
  • an explanation of the design principles and concepts behind the proposed development
    • for example, the scope of proposed development
  • a description of the intended use of the proposed development
  • a description of the layout of the proposed development
    • for example, how properties and public/private spaces will be arranged on the development site. Also their relationships with one another
  • details of the scale of the proposed development
    • for example, the height, width and length of new properties and public/private spaces
  • a description of how public/private spaces will be landscaped in the proposed development
  • a description of the appearance of the proposed development
    • for example, what materials and architectural styles will be used
  • an explanation of how local context has influenced the overall design
  • details of the proposed access to the development site. How equal and convenient vehicle and disabled access to buildings, spaces and public transport is ensured and maintained.

For developments that involve carrying out work on a listed building, the statement should also include the following information:

  • an explanation of how the historical and architectural importance of the listed building has been considered when designing the development. In particular its physical features and setting.

Design and access statements should be supported by photographs, maps and drawings to illustrate any points made.

How do I submit a design and access statement?

If you apply for planning permission online using the Planning Portal, you can upload your design and access statement. This is after you have completed the relevant application forms.

Before uploading any files, please read our guidance notes for submitting electronic files with planning applications (PDF).

If you choose to submit a paper-based application instead, you will need to provide:

  • four copies of your design and access statement
  • four copies of the relevant application forms.

Where can I find out further information?

For further information on preparing and submitting a design and access statement, please see the links below: