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Design & Access Statements

What is a Design and Access Statement?

A design and access (DAS) 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.

A DAS is required with planning applications for major development – both full and outline. Lower thresholds apply in conservation areas and World Heritage Sites, where some smaller applications must also be accompanied by a DAS.   Listed building consent applications must also include a DAS. Applications for waste development, a material change of use, engineering or mining operations do not need to be accompanied by a DAS.

A DAS 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.

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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 cont ext 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?

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?

Landscaping - How will open space be treated?

Appearance - What does the building look like?

Context - How does the building relate to its neighbours?

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.

Why have the access points and routes been chosen?

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

How can everyone get onto the site and into the building?

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.


4. 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?

Does the 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?

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.


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 & Architecture Chartered Planning Conultants