A Design and Access Statement is a statutory requirement for your application to be accepted as valid, and must accompany applications for both outline and full planning permission unless they relate to one of the following:
A material change of use of land and buildings, (unless it also involves operational development)
Engineering or mining operations
However, statements are also required for applications where any part of a dwelling house or its curtilage fall within one of the following designated areas:
Site of special scientific interest
A Design and Access Statement is a short report accompanying and supporting a planning application, that should seek to explain and justify the proposal in a structured way. The level of detail required in a design and access statement will depend on the scale and complexity of the application, and the length of the statement will vary accordingly. The Design and Access Statement should cover both the design principles and concepts that have been applied to the proposed development and how issues relating to access to the development have been dealt with.
What is required in a design and access statement is set out in article 4C of the GDPO and Department for Communities and Local Government Circular 01/06 - Guidance on Changes to the Development Control System. Also helpful is the guidance produced by CABE - 'Design and Access Statements - How to write, read and use them', which can also be found on their website
Applications for Listed Building Consent will also be required to be accompanied by a Design and Access Statement. A single combined Statement can be submitted where a planning application is submitted in parallel. In particular, such a statement should address:
(i) the special architectural or historic interest of the building;
(ii) the particular physical features of the building that justify its designation as a listed building; and
(iii) the building's setting.
The legislative requirements are set out in regulation 3A of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Regulations 1990.