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Planning Direct offers a wide range of written statements to accompany most types of planning applications, planning appeals, planning enforcement cases and planning objections.

This page contains some useful information about design & access statements which are a required document for most planning applications.

Follow the links below to find out more about some of our other written statements.


Most planning applications must be accompanied by a design & access statement, including applications for listed building consent and all major planning applications such as developments of 10 or more houses. 

Find out more about making applications for planning permission and listed building consent using the buttons below.

design & access statements

Design & access statements generally serve the following purposes:

  • To describe the design of the development and its access arrangements
  • To explain the design principles and rationale behind them, making reference to planning policies where relevant
  • To discuss the ways in which the design responds appropriately to its built and/or natural context
  • To provide evidence that the access arrangements are highways compliant and would cause no harm to the functioning or safety of road networks. 

We often combine planning statements and design & access statements in one document.

Every design & access statement we produce is unique – we may recycle our winning arguments but never our statements!


We usually combine our planning statements and design & access statements in one document. If you’ve instructed Planning Direct to submit your planning application, you can expect your planning, design & access statement to include the following:


This will provide a description of the development, the site address and details of the applicant. It will also indicate the type of planning application be that householder, full, outline, reserved matters etc.

Follow the links below to find out more about some of the most common types of planning applications.

The introduction will additionally contain a list of all supporting documents, including planning drawings, contamination reports, flood risk assessments etc.

Location & site description

This will provide a description of the site and its setting.

It will identify and describe key features of the site, including any existing buildings, trees, hard surfaces and boundary treatments. It will also identify the use of the site and provide an assessment of its overall character.

In addition, the context of the site will be discussed. For example, is the area urban, suburban or rural? And how far is the nearest town and train station?

In this section, we will also identify any constraints or opportunities on the site or in the area. For example, is it within a conservation area or does it lie in flood zone 2 or 3? Has your local council identified the area as a priority for regeneration?

Proposed development

Here, we will provide a more detailed description of the development proposals. This section often includes site photographs and drawing extracts to further assist the decision maker to understand the proposals.

In most circumstances, this section will describe the design of the development in detail, including its:

  • amount and density – for example, how many houses are proposed
  • layout – for example, how houses are arranged around the site
  • form and scale – for example, how many storeys each house will contain
  • style – for example, contemporary or traditional
  • landscaping – for example, whether trees will be retained or replaced
  • access – for example, how will cars and pedestrians enter and leave the site.

This section may also summarise the need or justification for the development. For example, an extension to a commercial property might be required because the business has outgrown its premises. A new housing scheme might be justified because there is a clear and urgent need for housing in the area.

Planning history

Where relevant, we will investigate the site planning history and provide a list of previous planning applications on and around the site. If these require any further discussion, that will take place in the commentary section of the report.

Policy justification

Here, we will copy and paste all relevant national, regional and local planning policies. Where relevant, we will also copy and paste relevant sections of planning guidance documents, including (for example) advice notes published by Historic England and local design guides.

The commentary section of the report will make reference to the policies and guidance that appear here.


This is where the hard work really begins! In the commentary we will persuasively discuss all matters likely to be relevant to the decision making process. If, for example, your development is a new house, this section is likely to include the following paragraphs (among others):

  • Principle of development -for example, do planning policies support new housing of this type in this location?
  • Impact on neighbours – for example, is their privacy preserved and is overlooking avoided?
  • Impact on the character & appearance of the area – for example, is the style and size of the house in keeping with neighbouring buildings?
  • Biodiversity & landscape impact – for example, would there be a net gain of trees and shrubs?
  • Highways safety, parking & access – for example, is the access point wide enough and does it offer good visibility?

Each paragraph will make reference to the relevant planning policies and explain how compliance with each policy is achieved.

Other matters commonly discussed in our commentaries include:

  • Previous planning decisions – both on the application site and in the local area
  • Case law – sometimes, court judgments provide compelling support for an application
  • Fallback position – if your site has an alternative or theoretical planning consent it could “fall back” on, this will often be worth a mention. In some cases, it may even be a main argument.

What matters are relevant in the case of a particular planning application will vary greatly depending on a whole host of factors including the location of the site, the type and amount of development and the status of the local plan. Because of this, every planning application is unique and our bespoke commentaries recognise and reflect this.


In the statement’s conclusion, we will sum up the reasons why planning permission should be granted for the development. This is likely to include an overview of the main benefits and positive features of the development. In most cases, it will also list all those planning policies with which the development demonstrates accordance.

If you require a design & access statement for a current or future project, please get in touch.

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