Design and Access Statements
From 6 April 2010 Design and Access Statements will be required for ALL
planning applications with the following exceptions:
- Engineering or mining operations
- Development of an existing dwellinghouse, or development within the curtilage of a dwellinghouse for any purpose incidental to the enjoyment of the dwellinghouse, where no part of that dwellinghouse or curtilage is within a 'designated area' (see definition below)
- A material change in the use of land or buildings, unless it also involves operational development
- Extensions to the time limits for implementing existing planning permissions
- Development of an existing flat for any purpose incidental to the enjoyment of the flat as such, where no part of that flat is within a 'designated area'
- The extension of an existing building used for non-domestic purposes where the floorspace created by the development does not exceed 100 square metres and where no part of the building or the development is within a 'designated area'
- The erection, construction, improvement or alteration of a gate, fence, wall or other means of enclosure, up to 2m high or the height of the existing means of enclosure, whichever is the higher, where no part of the building or the development is within a 'designated area' or the curtilage of a listed building
- Development on 'operational land' consisting of the erection of a building or structure up to 100 cubic metres in volume and 15m in height and where no part of the development is within a 'designated area'
- The alteration of an existing building where the alteration does not increase the size of the building and where no part of the building or the development is within a 'designated area'
- The erection, alteration or replacement of plant or machinery where, as a result of the development, the height of the plant or machinery would not exceed the greater of 15 metres above ground level, or the height of the original plant or machinery, and where no part of the development is within a 'designed area'; or
- Applications for the variation or removal of conditions attached to a planning permission (development of land pursuant to section 73 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990)
In addition Design and Access Statements are not required for the following types of application:
- Advertisement applications
- Tree preservation orders (TPOs)
- Applications for the storage of hazardous substances
- Non-material amendments
- 'Designated Area' means a World Heritage Site or a conservation area
- 'Operational Land' is land used by Statutory Undertakers for the purpose of carrying on their undertaking. 'Statutory Undertakers' are those authorised by any enactment to carry on any railway, light railway, tramway, road transport, water transport, canal, inland navigation, dock, harbour, pier or lighthouse undertaking or any undertaking for the supply of hydraulic power and a relevant airport operator.
Where a Design and Access Statement is required, what should it cover?
The document should 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 should provide an opportunity for the applicant to demonstrate their commitment to achieving good design and ensure 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.
The statement needs to make reference to the relevant planning policies in the Council's adopted Local Plan and any relevant Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG's). Statements should provide a clear reason for any departures from policy.
For most straightforward applications, the statement will be short, whereas for more complicated applications a more detailed report will required. The statement should address the following:
- The design process - explain the design principles and concepts.
- Amount of development -how much will be built on site/number of units/floor space.
- Use - what buildings and spaces will be used for
- Layout - how the buildings, private/public spaces are to be arranged on site and their relationship.
- Scale - how big the buildings and spaces will be in terms of their height, width, length.
- Appearance - details of materials/architectural details.
- Landscaping - treatment of private and public spaces hard and soft landscaping.
- Access - access to the development to ensure equal; and convenient access to buildings and spaces and the public transport network, and access for emergency services where relevant.
The West Oxfordshire Design Guide is a valuable source of information with reference to all aspects of development within the area and is a useful tool to help you create your Design and Access statement.
Design and Access Statements for listed building consent.
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. 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.
An explanation of the requirements for Design and Access Statements can be viewed on the Department for Communities and Local Government website.