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Planning Consultancy:

Design & Access Statements

What is a Design and Access Statement?

A Design & Access Statement is a short report accompanying and supporting a planning application. They provide a framework for applicants to explain how a proposed development is a suitable response to the site and its setting, and demonstrate that it can be adequately accessed by prospective users in line with adopted Highway Safety Policy.

Design and Access Statements became a requirement in the United Kingdom with the introduction of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. This act amended the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and introduced several changes to the planning system, including the requirement for Design and Access Statements.

The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 received royal assent on 13 May 2004, and the relevant sections pertaining to Design and Access Statements came into effect on 28 September 2004. This means that Design and Access Statements have been a requirement for certain types of development applications in the UK since September 2004.

Since then, Design and Access Statements have been an integral part of the planning process for major development projects, listed buildings, conservation areas, and other sensitive locations, as outlined in the legislation and subsequent planning regulations and guidelines.

A Design and Access Statements are typically required as part of the planning application process for certain types of development projects. The specific requirements may vary depending on the country and local planning regulations. However, in general, Design and Access Statements are typically required for the following situations:

  1. Major Development: Design and Access Statements are often mandatory for major development proposals. Major developments typically include large-scale projects such as housing developments, commercial buildings, or infrastructure projects.

  2. Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas: When proposing changes or alterations to a listed building or within a designated conservation area, a Design and Access Statement is usually required. These statements help assess the impact of the proposed development on the historic character and setting of the area.

  3. Designated Landscapes: Development projects within designated landscapes, such as National Parks or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, often require Design and Access Statements. These statements assist in evaluating the impact of the development on the landscape and its visual amenity.

  4. Sensitive Locations: In certain sensitive locations, such as near protected habitats, water bodies, or heritage sites, Design and Access Statements may be required to assess and mitigate potential adverse effects.

  5. Local Planning Policies: Some local planning authorities may require Design and Access Statements for specific types of development, regardless of size or location. This could be due to local policies aimed at promoting high-quality design, sustainable development, or inclusive access.


It's important to note that the exact requirements for Design and Access Statements can vary, and it is necessary to consult the specific guidelines and regulations of the relevant local planning authority to determine when and how they are required.

A Design & Access Statement must explain the design principles and concepts that have been applied to the development. It must also demonstrate how the proposed development’s context has influenced the design. The Statement must explain the applicant’s approach to access and how relevant Local Plan policies have been taken into account, 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 addressed.

The level of detail in a Design and Access Statement should be proportionate to the complexity of the application, but should not be long. For most straightforward planning applications, the DAS may only need to be a page long.

How EN-PLAN can work with you in producing a clear and concise Design and Access Statement


EN-PLAN are adept in the preparation of a a Design and Access Statements and will work through  design process addressing the topics listed where applicable. It should always begin with a thorough site analysis.

1. Site analysis

Local context and character is made up of building styles, their age and architectural character, especially if listed or in a conservation area, heights, scale, massing, rhythm of the street scene, means of access, tree planting, pedestrian routes, public transport services, watercourses, topography and views. The analysis needs to demonstrate an understanding of the wider context before focussing on the site and the appropriate level of design detail.

Does the statement cover these points where applicable?

Does the statement effectively explain the particular character of the local area or listed building?


Does it clearly identify the opportunities and constraints of the site?


2. Design process components

The Statement should explain the design principles and concepts that are to be applied to the particular components of the proposal:

Use - What will the buildings and spaces be used for and what is the current and proposed Use Class?

Amount - How much floorspace or how many homes will be built on the site?

Layout - How will the building be arranged on the site and what is its relationship with its neighbours?

Scale - What is the height, width and length of the building? This point is very much related to appearance of the building and the site context as stated below.

Landscaping - How will open space be treated?

Appearance - What does the building look like? The appearance of the building in relation to: ▪ The art, craftsmanship, building techniques and detail of the various. building components true to local context. ▪ The texture, colour, pattern, durability and treatment of its materials.

Context - How does the building relate to its neighbours? The key to good design is in understanding the context of the site. Context is defined. as: “The specific character, quality, physical, historical and social characteristics of a. building's setting."

Consultation - How has the community, for example a local amenity group, been involved?

3. Access

To be inclusive development should be accessible to all regardless of age, disability, ethnicity or social grouping.  This is also a requirement of building regulations.

Why have the access points and routes been chosen?  Do they assist in natural surveillance and designing out crime?

How does the site relate to pedestrian and cycle routes, road layout, local services and public transport provision in the area?

How can everyone get onto the site and into the building? Has safe and level access been provided for disabled people?

How is access for emergency services to be provided?

Although not a requirement of the Circular, it may be appropriate to include information about circulation within the building in order to promote inclusive development in line with development plan policies.  This is important for commercial development where access points for ambulances and fire engines are an important issue.


4. The Design Solution

The design solution is the conclusion to the site analysis and the design process. The Statement should show how the solution has been arrived at. It should answer the following points:

Does the statement explain and justify the proposed development to the Planning Department?

Does the proposed layout promote good access into and through the site?

Do the design and materials of the proposed building and landscaping complement the local character and respond positively to the local context?

If in a Conservation Area, how does it preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the area?

If a listed building, how does it preserve the building’s special architectural or historic interest?

Will the fabric of the building be affected by the proposed development?

Applicants are positively encouraged to seek pre-application advice and discuss their proposals with planning officers at an early stage. A meeting will only be held after the applicant has completed the site analysis, begun the design process and formulated initial design solutions.

Case Study: Acland Burghely School, Camden London.

A Design & Access Statement has been prepared to accompany a Planning & Listed Building Application for two new air source heat pumps adjacent to the music block at Acland Burghley School, as part of a decarbonisation project lead by Camden Council in the ongoing fight against global warming.

When considering whether to grant planning permission for development which affects a listed
building or its setting, Sections 16 and 66 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act
1990 requires local planning authorities to have special regard to the desirability of preserving the building or its setting or any features of special architectural or historic interest which it possesses. The setting of a heritage asset is defined in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) Glossary as “The surroundings in which a heritage asset in experienced”. The setting itself is not designated, only what it contributes to the heritage asset in question. The listed building descriptions are included in the appendices and have been provided by the National Heritage List for England (NHLE).

As part of this process En-Plan completed a Design & Access Statement in a way that the information set out hereunder identifies the heritage asset and how it will be preserved by the proposed works, and thereby ensure its ongoing retention and use for years to come. The report will identified design and access issues pertinent to the proposals, and a proposed mitigation strategy so that the application could receive approval.

The Existing Site & Immediate Surroundings

Acland Burghley School is a mixed comprehensive secondary school in the Tufnell Park area of the London Borough of Camden, in London, England.  The school received specialist status as an Arts College in 2000 and is a part of the LaSWAP Sixth Form Consortium The site itself lies within a fenced compound adjacent to the modern music block in the grounds of Acland Burghley School which is a Listed Building.

The school’s main entrance is on Burghley Road and the buildings are substantially set back from the road
behind a perimeter wall and a high fence. There are a substantial number of mature trees in the grounds
and these partially obscure the various volumes of the school buildings from view. The main school building is comprised of a series of projecting blocks with rough aggregate facings contrasting with ribbons of horizontal glazing. The blocks are of various heights but none above 5 storeys. The upper portions of the buildings are set back on all the projecting blocks. There is another entrance to the site on Ingestre Road to the west of the site. Again, this is bounded by a high fence and gate. Again, there are mature trees that limit clear views of any of the school buildings.

Current Listing Status.

Designation Type: Listing
Grade: II
SJ 61NW 22/638 15.8.80
Reason for Designation

Acland Burghley School, Camden, 1963-7 by Howell, Killick, Partridge & Amis, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Architectural interest; the design’s bold elevational treatment and skilful handling of pre-cast concrete components and their finishes confer a strong aesthetic while respecting the wider Victorian townscape. The jewel-like, top-lit assembly hall is a particularly notable feature where the use of timber and concrete gives a rich texture; * Plan-form: the innovative plan, comprising three towers radiating from a central administration core with the linked assembly hall, remains relevant and fit for purpose, affording permeability and appropriate levels of accessibility combined with practical and humane functioning spaces; * Architects: Howell, Killick, Partridge and Amis were one of the country’s foremost post-war architectural practices with a number of listed educational buildings to their name; * Historic Interest: the London County Council was at the forefront of innovative architectural approaches to the design of non-selective secondary schools. Acland Burghley favourably compares with the listed Lilian Baylis and Haggerston Schools, and is a good example of a school commissioned from well-regarded architects during this formative period.

Assessing the Significance

The original building is of importance as a heritage asset and as such any development in the former grounds must be sensitively handled. The selected site means that adjacent built form completely overshadows the proposed site and its position in a fenced compound ensure the visual impact is minimal, and the air source heat pumps in no way impact on the built form of any structures within the grounds of the school. The site is also screened by the change of levels in the immediate locality thereby reducing the impact of the scheme even further. The access to the proposal is off existing hardstanding and as such no additional built form is required in order to enable the development.

Access Issues

The application does noy present any access issues.

Impact of the Proposed Development and Mitigation Strategy

Ultimately, the specified programme of works will benefit the de-carbonisation of the school estate and with the design strategy that mitigates any negative impact the proposal will have a neutral impact on the character and setting of the listed structures on site.


With the above points in the mind the Planning and Listed Building Consent will allow for the sympathetic and sustainable siting of two air source heat pump units on site without any negative impact upon the heritage asset that is Acland Burghley School.  The Council shared this view and both the Planning Application and Listed Building Consent Applications were granted.

Why chose En-Plan to write your Design & Access Statement?

We have a proven track record in delivering clear and concise Design & Access Statement that demonstrate the suitability of the proposal and how sustainable as a development concept the project really is. We can and we will deliver in this aspect of the planning system.


En-Plan Consultants look forward to answering any questions you may have as part of a free no obligation consultation to begin the planning and development process.

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En-Plan: Planning & Architectue Chartered Planning Consultants Chartered Town Planning Consultants


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En-Plan: Planning & Architectue Chartered Planning Consultants Chartered Town Planning Consultants





En-Plan: Planning & Architecture Chartered Planning Conultants
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