How to write a statement

Design and access statements

You need to write a design and access statement for most planning and listed building consent applications. Their purpose is to explain the design thinking behind a planning application.

How much detail you include will depend on the scale and complexity of your application. You need to include information about:

  • access
  • design
  • historic environment
  • heritage assets
  • signficance
  • impact


Your statement should detail inclusive access and explain how anyone can access the development regardless of their physical ability. You also need to include information about emergency vehicular access.

Access SPD [PDF]


The design component of the statement needs to explain the development's:

  • amount - the number of proposed units for residential use and the amount of floorspace and distribution of other uses
  • layout - the way the buildings, routes and open spaces are provided, placed and orientated to each other, health and safety issues, and relationship of the buildings to adjacent streets and open spaces
  • scale - height, width and length of a building in relation to its surroundings in terms of local character, Council policy urban design principles
  • landscaping - objectives of external spaces in the development, and how it defines public and private spaces and improves the appearance, enjoyment, inclusive accessibility, safety, and visual interest of the external spaces
  • appearance - the development's visual impression including the external built form of the development, its architectural style, materials, decoration, lighting, colour and texture

Historic environment

Our borough has over 4,000 listed buildings and more than 70 per cent is designated conservation areas. How your development relates to this historic environment is a key consideration.

PPS5: Planning for the Historic Environment introduced new concepts and terminology for dealing with heritage issues to enable the historic environment to be dealt with in a holistic way.

Heritage assets

You statement needs to explain how the development affects heritage assets such as:

  • listed buildings
  • scheduled ancient monuments
  • registered historic parks and gardens
  • archaeological remains
  • conservation areas

You also need to consider non-designated heritage assets such as buildings or sites that have some historic or archaeological interest.


This part of the statement is linked to heritage assets. You need to demonstrate that you have analysed and understood how the development would affect any heritage assets.


Your statement needs to explain what effects the proposed works would have on the heritage asset(s).

If there may be some harm to the heritage asset, you need to justify how it would have a long-term benefit. For example bringing a long-term building at risk back into use.

Example statements

For more useful guidance, read our example statements.


You don't need a design and access statement for:

  • extensions to dwellings (including a flat or maisonette) outside of conservation areas
  • change of use application (as long as they do not involve any physical changes)
  • extensions to non-domestic properties outside of conservation areas where there is no floor area to be created, or the floor area to be created is less than 100 sq m
  • 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 conservation area or the curtilage of a listed building
  • discharge of condition applications
  • extension of time limits to applications
  • applications to vary or remove planning conditions
  • applications for non-material amendments
  • applications for advertisement consent
  • 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 conservation 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 conservation area
  • engineering or mining operations


Last updated: 29 November 2019