Planning Advice Note 68: Design Statements
Why is a design statement a useful tool?
Designing Places and PAN 67 Housing Quality encourage greater use of the urban design toolkit. A design statement is a useful tool which has benefits for applicants and local authorities. They increase design awareness, provide a sound basis for constructive discussions and negotiations, and should lead to good quality development. They can also help individuals and communities understand why a particular approach has been adopted.
A design statement allows applicants, and their clients, to explain the design of their scheme in a structured way. It is an opportunity to demonstrate what has been done to appraise the context, and how the design takes account of it sensitively. The importance of this cannot be over estimated.
Local authorities should encourage applicants to consider how increased value, and sustainability, can result from good design. The submission of a design statement allows officials to see the extent of analysis, as well as the quality of thought, time and effort which has been dedicated to developing the scheme. Providing the information is presented clearly, a statement should help local authorities to understand the thinking behind the design. It should therefore be an aid to more efficient decision making and lead to an improvement in the quality of development.
Design is a material consideration in determining planning applications. Councils may refuse an application, and defend their decision at appeal, solely on design grounds.