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Design and access statements

Design and Access Statements (DAS) explain the design principles and concepts that have been applied to a development, and how issues relating to access to the development have been dealt with. The length and content will vary with the complexity of the proposal.

When are they required?

DAS are only required for:

  • Major developments.
  • Listed building applications.
  • Developments within a conservation area or World Heritage Site, which consist of the provision of one or more dwelling house; or the provision of a building or buildings where the floor space created by the development is 100m2 or more.

Guidance for writing a DAS

The DAS should explain the design principles and concepts that have been applied to the proposal, and needs to address the following considerations.

  1. What steps have been taken to appraise the context of the development, and how the design takes that context into account
  2. How local policies relating to access have been taken into account
  3. What, if any, consultation has been undertaken, and how this have influenced the development
  4. How any specific issues which might affect access to the development have been addressed


The statement needs to address the following questions:


  • Does the statement show the applicant has assessed the site’s full context, including physical, social, and economic characteristics and relevant planning policies?
  • Has the applicant demonstrated how they have taken account of the results of any community involvement?
  • Does the statement show that the scheme has emerged from a rigorous process of assessment, involvement, evaluation and design, rather than trying to retrospectively justify a pre-determined solution?


  • Would the application help to create an appropriate mix of uses in the area?
  • Would different uses work together well or would they cause unacceptable annoyance?


  • Is the density appropriate?
  • Could the neighbourhood’s services support the amount of development planned?


  • Do all spaces have a purpose?
  • Will public spaces be practical, safe, overlooked and inclusive?
  • Will private spaces be adaptable, secure and inviting?


  • Will the buildings sit comfortably with their surroundings?
  • Will they, and parts like doors and windows, be of a comfortable scale for people?


  • Has landscaping been properly considered from the start?
  • Will it help to make the place look good and work well, and will it meet any specific aims for the site?


  • How will the development visually relate to its surroundings?
  • Will it look attractive?


  • Will the place be safe and easy for everyone to move around?
  • What are the vehicular and transport links and why have the access points and routes been chosen?
  • How does the site relate to road layout and public transport provision?
  • How can everyone get to and move through the place on equal terms, regardless of ethnicity or social grouping?


  • Does the approach to access run through the whole document, rather than being considered as a discreet issue?
  • Has the applicant clearly described their policy approach and consultation process, whether carried out or planned?

Listed buildings

DAS accompanying applications for listed building consent should include a brief explanation of how the design has taken account of:

  • The historic and special architectural importance of the building
  • The particular physical features of the building that justifies its designation as a listed building
  • The building’s setting.

The statement should:

  • Explain and justify the approach to ensuring that the listed building preserves or enhances it special architectural importance.
  • Where an aspect of design may impact on this, the statement should explain why this is necessary and what measures have been taken to minimise the impact.


  • The access component of the statement is broadly the same as for planning applications, but with reference to the special considerations for listed buildings.
  • The statement should explain how the approach to access balances the duties imposed by the Disability Discrimination Act (where applicable) with the historical and architectural significance of the building.
  • The statement should detail any specific issues which arise because the building is listed, the range of options considered and, where inclusive design cannot be provided, an explanation as to why should be given.
  • Where the structure of the listed building restricts ability to carry out alterations to meet minimum levels of accessibility, the statement should give details of solutions that will be put in place to minimise the impact on disabled people and ensure that any services provided within the building are made available in other ways.

Further details and assistance

For more detailed information on the explanation, content, preparation and presentation of a DAS please refer to:

Updated: 15 March 2016

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