Blueprint for Approval: Crafting a Winning Design & Access Statement to Secure Planning Permission

In the world of Architectural Design, a well-crafted Design & Access Statement can be the key to unlocking planning permission for your dream project. In this blog post, we will explore the ins and outs of Design & Access Statements, how they differ from Planning Statements, and how Shear Architectural Design can help you craft a winning statement to secure planning permission for your next project.

What is a Design & Access Statement?

A Design & Access Statement (DAS) is a document that accompanies planning applications in the UK. It provides an explanation of how the proposed architectural design drawings have been developed with consideration for access, sustainability, and the surrounding environment. A well-prepared DAS can significantly increase your chances of securing planning permission for your project.

What should a Design & Access Statement contain?

A comprehensive DAS should include the following elements:

  1. A description of the architectural design process and how it has been informed by the site’s context and constraints.
  2. An explanation of how the proposal responds to local and national planning policies.
  3. Details of the access arrangements, including vehicular and pedestrian access, and how they have been designed to ensure inclusivity for all users.
  4. A discussion of the building regulation plans and how they meet the relevant standards.
  5. An explanation of the Architectural Designer services provided, such as gaining planning permission and building regulations for new build houses, house extensions, renovations and conversions, loft conversions, garage conversions, barn conversions and driveways. (For more information on these services, visit Shear Architectural Design’s Services page).

Do I need to do a Design & Access Statement?

In most cases, a DAS is required for planning applications in the UK. However, there are some exceptions, such as for householder applications, change of use applications, or projects that fall under permitted development rights. For a better understanding of when a DAS is needed, read our post on Understanding Permitted Development.

Where can I find Design & Access Statements?

Examples of successful DAS can be found on local planning authority websites or by searching for specific projects. Design and access statements are typically submitted as part of a planning application package to the local planning authority. To view examples of these statements, you can visit your local authority’s planning portal, where you can access their database of submitted planning applications. Many of these applications will have their design and access statements available for download, offering a wealth of inspiration and insight into how others have crafted successful documents. Additionally, architectural websites and blogs may also showcase design and access statement examples, demonstrating how Architectural Designers have effectively communicated their design principles and met accessibility requirements for various types of projects.

Is an Access Statement a legal requirement?

An access statement is not always a legal requirement, but it is mandatory for certain types of planning applications in the UK. For instance, major development projects, listed building consents, and those located within a conservation area typically require a design and access statement to be submitted as part of the planning application. The purpose of an access statement is to demonstrate how the proposed development addresses accessibility and inclusion for all users, regardless of age or ability. By providing a clear and concise explanation of the design and access considerations, you can improve the chances of gaining planning permission for your project. It’s essential to consult with your local planning authority or an Architectural Designer to determine if your specific project requires an access statement.

While not legally required, Access Statements are strongly recommended to demonstrate compliance with the Equality Act 2010, which requires equal access for disabled people. In some cases, local planning authorities may require an Access Statement to be submitted with a planning application.

What is the difference between a Design & Access Statement and a Planning Statement?

Although both design and access statements and planning statements are essential documents in the planning application process, they serve different purposes. A Design and Access statement focuses on the design principles, concepts, and accessibility features of a proposed development. It outlines how the development will integrate into its surroundings, meet the needs of users, and create an inclusive environment for people of all ages and abilities.

On the other hand, a planning statement is a document that explains how the proposed development aligns with relevant local and national planning policies. It provides a justification for the development and demonstrates its compliance with the local planning framework, highlighting any benefits the project may bring to the community or the environment. While a design and access statement is concerned with the physical aspects of the development, a planning statement is more focused on policy compliance and the broader context of the project.

To ensure a successful planning application, it is crucial to consult with an Architectural Designer who can guide you through the complexities of both design and access statements and planning statements, tailoring them to your specific project requirements.

A Design & Access Statement focuses on the design process, access arrangements, and building regulation compliance. A Planning Statement, on the other hand, provides an overview of how the proposed development complies with national and local planning policies, as well as any relevant material considerations.

How do you write a Design Statement?

A well-written Design Statement should:

  1. Explain the Architectural ideas and concepts behind the proposal.
  2. Discuss how the design responds to the site’s context, constraints, and opportunities.
  3. Illustrate how the proposal meets relevant planning policies and design guidance.
  4. Include visuals, such as Architectural Design drawings, to support the narrative.

What makes a good Design

A good design and access statement is crucial in securing planning permission for your architectural project. To create a compelling statement, it’s essential to outline the design principles and concepts that underpin the project, clearly demonstrating how it addresses local planning policies and accessibility requirements. The statement should provide a detailed analysis of the site’s context, the proposed development’s visual impact on its surroundings, and how the design promotes sustainable and inclusive environments. By creating a well-structured, informative, and persuasive design and access statement, you increase your chances of obtaining planning permission and bring your project one step closer to fruition.


Is Access a Planning Issue?

Yes, access is a planning issue. When submitting a planning application, you’ll need to consider the means of access in building planning. This involves evaluating how pedestrians and vehicles will enter and exit the site, as well as ensuring that emergency services have easy access. If your project requires significant changes to the existing access, a design and access statement should be provided to support the application.

What Is a Personal Design Statement?

A personal design statement is a document that outlines the design vision and rationale behind a project. It’s an opportunity for an Architectural Designer to express their architectural ideas and demonstrate how their design aligns with the client’s needs and preferences. Although not a mandatory part of a planning application, a well-crafted personal design statement can strengthen your proposal by showcasing the thought process behind your design.

Crafting a Winning Design & Access Statement

To secure planning permission, it’s crucial to create a comprehensive and persuasive design and access statement. Here are some tips to help you craft a winning statement:

  1. Understand the local planning policies and guidelines: Research the local planning policies and guidelines to ensure your project complies with the relevant requirements.
  2. Address the key elements: Make sure your design and access statement covers all necessary aspects, such as context, layout, scale, appearance, landscaping, and access.
  3. Demonstrate sustainability and inclusivity: Highlight how your design incorporates eco-friendly features and meets accessibility standards for disabled individuals. For instance, include details about ramp handrail design, wheelchair-friendly spaces, and energy-efficient materials.
  4. Showcase architectural ideas: Use the statement as an opportunity to express your design vision and demonstrate how it aligns with the client’s preferences and the local character.
  5. Provide clear and concise information: Make sure your statement is easy to understand, well-structured, and contains relevant information to support your planning application.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a design and access statement and a personal design statement?

A design and access statement is a formal document required for certain types of planning applications, outlining the design principles and access arrangements for a proposed development. A personal design statement, on the other hand, is an informal document that showcases an Architectural Designer’s design vision and ideas, demonstrating how their design aligns with the client’s needs and preferences.

How long does it take to prepare a design and access statement?

The time it takes to prepare a design and access statement varies depending on the complexity of the project and the level of detail required. Generally, it can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks to research, gather information, and draft the statement.

Can I submit a planning application without a design and access statement?

If your project requires a design and access statement, you must include one with your planning application. Failing to provide a statement when required may result in your application being deemed invalid and not processed by the local planning authority.

Can a design and access statement help overcome objections from neighbours?

A well-prepared design and access statement can address potential concerns raised by neighbours and demonstrate how your project complies with local planning policies. By effectively communicating the benefits of your proposal and how it will fit within the local context, you may be able to alleviate objections and improve your chances of gaining planning permission.

How can I ensure my design and access statement is persuasive?

Creating a persuasive design and access statement requires careful consideration of various factors. First and foremost, engage an experienced Architectural Designer who understands the planning application process and can effectively communicate your project’s unique features and benefits. They can help you tailor your statement to address the specific needs of your development, ensuring that it aligns with local planning policies and regulations.

Emphasise the sustainable and inclusive aspects of your project, highlighting how it will positively impact the environment, improve accessibility, and cater to the needs of a diverse range of users. Clearly explain how your design principles have been informed by the site’s context, its surroundings, and any relevant historical or cultural factors. Provide well-organised and visually engaging supporting materials, such as diagrams, maps, and illustrations, to help convey your project’s vision and demonstrate your attention to detail.

Additionally, it is important to engage with the Local Planning Authority and other relevant stakeholders early in the process. Solicit their feedback and address any concerns or suggestions they may have, demonstrating your commitment to working collaboratively to achieve the best possible outcome for the development.

By combining a thorough understanding of the planning application process, effective communication, and a focus on the positive impact of your project, you can create a design and access statement that is both persuasive and successful in securing planning permission.

To create a persuasive design and access statement, make sure it is well-structured, easy to understand, and contains relevant information to support your planning application. Address all required elements, demonstrate your design’s alignment with local planning policies, and showcase your architectural ideas to effectively communicate the merits of your proposal.



A well-prepared design and access statement is crucial to securing planning permission for your project. By thoroughly addressing all required elements and showcasing your Architectural ideas, you can increase your chances of gaining approval from the local planning authority. At Shear Architectural Design, our experienced Architectural Designers can help you navigate the planning process and create a winning design and access statement for your project. Whether you’re planning a new build house, a house extension, or a loft conversion, we can help you bring your Architectural vision to life.

Remember, when it comes to your building project, an informed decision is the best decision.



As always, thanks for reading!

DISCLAIMER: This blog post is intended to provide a general understanding of the subject matter. It is not intended to provide specific advice for any specific circumstances. Always consult with a professional before starting any construction work.


Get in Touch with Shear Architectural Design

Securing planning permission can be a daunting task, but partnering with an experienced Architectural Designer can significantly ease the process. A skilled Architectural Designer will guide you through the planning application process, ensuring that your personal design statement effectively communicates your vision while adhering to local planning authority guidelines. By entrusting your project to a professional, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate the complexities of planning permission and turn your Architectural dreams into reality.

For expert assistance with your design and access statement or any aspect of your planning application, contact Shear Architectural Design. Our experienced team is dedicated to providing personalised service and professional guidance throughout the planning process. To get started, book a consultation with one of our Architectural Designers today.

Working with an Architectural Designer can help you to achieve your goals and ensure that your project is a success. Shear Architectural Design is a reliable and experienced company that can help you with your home renovation, building project or garden project, in Sussex.


As part of our comprehensive approach, we offer services to design a house plan tailored to your unique requirements.

Our Architectural Design process involves the creation of detailed Architectural Design drawings, which meticulously capture every aspect of your dream home. We also navigate the complexities of building regulation plans, ensuring that our designs adhere to both building regulations and planning permission guidelines.

By incorporating innovative Architectural ideas and working closely with you to draw a house design that reflects your vision, we strive to make the planning and design process as seamless and enjoyable as possible. Our commitment to excellence ensures that you receive a bespoke, high-quality living space that meets your needs and exceeds your expectations.

Our Services

At Shear Architectural Design, we offer a range of services to help you bring your vision to life:

Related Services:

  • Architectural Design Consultation
  • Planning Applications & Appeals
  • 3D Visualisation
  • Building Regulations Applications


We assist with gaining planning permission and building regulations, ensuring that your project meets all necessary requirements.

Contact us today, on 01273 740642 to learn more about how we can help you create the home of your dreams!

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