Sunday, October 25, 2009

design & access statements

What is a design statement?

A Design and Access Statement is a document used to explain and illustrate the principles and concept behind the design and layout of your proposed development and should be submitted with your planning application. Relevant to both large and small-scale developments they are particularly important in demonstrating how a proposal relates both to the site and its wider context, the surrounding area and examine how access has been dealt with.

The statement must also demonstrate how inclusive access requirements have been met. That is, how everyone can get to and move through the place on equal terms regardless of age, disability, ethnicity or social grouping.

The existence of a Design and Access Statement does not guarantee planning permission. It supports a planning application - it does not replace it.

how the statement would help?

A Design and Access Statement will help the local planning authority, prospective funder/s (i.e. One NorthEast - more information), neighbours, the general public and you to:

  • Consider your proposals against urban design principles and policies in the Local Plan/Unitary
  • Development Plan/Local Development Framework and other relevant documents i.e. site
  • development/design briefs.
  • Fully understand the design principles of your proposals.
  • Realise how your development will fit into and/or enhance the area.
  • Discuss the design of your proposals in a structured, more productive way.
  • Decide whether your proposal is likely to be acceptable.
  • Consider the access needs of a range of users.

A Design and Access Statement helps ensure that the main issues influencing your design are explained in a clearer, structured and visual way. This makes it easier for people who need to be consulted to understand the thinking behind your chosen design. It helps in assessing your proposals more quickly and reduces the need for often costly and time consuming redesigns.

A statement sets out the principles on which a development is based and explains the design solution


Sounds like a lot of work

The steps in preparing a Design and Access Statement correspond to those involved in going through the proper design process. It is work you would normally carry out in the process of deciding on a design for your proposals before submitting a planning application. The only difference is that you are expected to formally record these steps and explain the results so it is clear to others. A Design and Access Statement is not simply a justification for a pre-determined design solution.
There are several essential steps in the design process which should be mirrored in the production of a Design and Access Statement: These are the description of the design context, identifiable of design principles and the check in of design solution. The graphic illustrates these steps and the actions required to undertake them.

Once all the steps have been completed, the design and access statement can be assembled, bringing together all the thinking on the design issues.


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