Sensory Trust factsheet

Access Statements

An Access Statement is a document that explains the ambition of your development in terms of providing equal access for all potential users. It is a useful document to produce in its own right, especially if you use it to record key decisions during the course of the development.

An Access Statement is often produced as part of a Design and Access Statement - a document that is required as part of a planning application.

Why develop an access statement?

  • It can help you meet your planning and building control requirements.
  • It can be shared with visitors and stakeholders to show why you have made certain decisions. This might include times when you need to explain why you have not been able to follow best practice.
  • It can provide the information for an Access Guide that gives people details of what to expect when they visit.
  • It provides a working record for staff and a useful reference for future project development - you can see what mistakes not to repeat, and what best practice to apply again.

Key ingredients of an access statement

Outline your approach and ambition

At the earliest stage, identify your aims for accessibility, how you intend to put them into practice and targets that will help you monitor success.
Highlight any policies that demonstrate your commitment to ensuring that disabled people of all ages will be able get to and around your development, enjoy its facilities and fully participate in the experiences on offer.

Identify what standards and guidance you are going to use

This can include legislative and expert guidance, for example -

- Approved Document M 2015 (with 2016 amendments)
- BS 8300 2009
- English Heritage Access to Historic Landscapes 2015
- English Heritage Access to Historic Buildings 2015
- HLF's Conservation Management Plans
- BT Countryside for All 2001

Address key design elements

Consider how people will get to and around your development, in particular accessibility of:
- Approaches and entrances that provide for shared use
- Accessible parking and drop-off near entrances and key destination points
- Levels and how gradients will be accommodated
- Route widths, surfaces, distances
- Horizontal and vertical circulation enabling shared journeys, not separating people
- Emergency egress accessible to all users

How people will use your development, consider:
- Access to services
- Lighting (consider people with partial sight)
- Acoustic design (consider people with hearing loss)
- Access to toilets, cafes and other services
- Heights of counters, controls (eg sockets, window latches)
- Seating and shelter
- Accessible signage, information and communication

Advice and consultation

Highlight references to relevant British Standards.
Document advice from and consultation with planners, design specialists, conservation officers, access officers etc.
Show evidence of consultation with existing and potential users, and how this has informed your plans.
Outline the extent of input from local access groups and local individuals and organisations reflecting the views of disabled people.
Show results of user and non-user surveys.

Site constraints

Where environmental factors constrain best practice, identify the nature of the constraints, demonstrate why the relevant design standards can't be achieved and identify proposed alternative solutions.

Management plans

Explain how the policies and approaches to making your development inclusive will be maintained in the longer term, for example in maintenance programmes and management plans.