Planning Advice Note 68: Design Statements
When is a design statement required?
A design statement could potentially be submitted with any planning application. While it is good practice, and in the applicants favour to submit a statement, it is not a requirement in all cases.
There are, however, certain types of sites or developments where a design statement will be highly desirable. They will most often be needed for major developments or listed building applications. Design issues should, where appropriate, be considered as part of the scoping process for significant planning applications, which require an environmental assessment. Design statements may also be appropriate for some minor applications or small scale developments on sensitive sites, such as some house extensions in conservation areas.
Where a formal design statement is not necessary, applicants should still have a clear and logical design philosophy which could be explained, if required.
SPP1: The Planning System reinforces the importance of good design and reaffirms that design is a material planning consideration. Councils should set out in local plans the circumstances where they will expect design statements to be prepared. They should also prepare development briefs for specific sites, and urban design guides on specific topics or for specific areas. If applicants are uncertain, then the views of the local authority should be sought.
Small scale development in a conservation area, Edinburgh
Examples of design policies in a local plan, a design guide and site planning briefs
Neigbourhood centre sketch drawing, Edinburgh