Planning Advice Note 68: Design Statements

Explains what a design statement is, why it is a useful tool, when it is required and how it should be prepared and presented.

Planning Advice Note 68: Design Statements

How should a design statement be presented?


The applicant should choose the most effective form of presentation, as the contents of a design statement will vary according to the nature of the development and the site's characteristics. For most applications, the design statement need not be elaborate. It can be a short document (one or two pages), which sets out the principles on which the development is based and explains the design solution. Irrespective of the scale of development, the design statement must be supported by good graphics. Suggestions for (1) text and (2) illustrations are set out on the following pages, together with (3) extracts from a case study which shows an example of a design statement.


Residential development in Canongate,Edinburgh
Sketch drawing of entrance toCramond Kirk Hall, Edinburgh
Residential development in Canongate,
Sketch drawing of entrance to
Cramond Kirk Hall, Edinburgh
applicants should choose the most effective form of presentation

1. Text

The main issues which need to be covered include background information, a brief description of the site's details and its area appraisal, the relevant design principles, any reference to public involvement or programming and an explanation
of why the design solution was chosen.

Background information

Name of the scheme
Architect/developer/urban designers/agents/advisors, etc.
Description of client brief (if there is one)

Site details

Location and site plan - scale and north point

Site and area appraisals

Any specific points relating to:

> Context
> Identity
> Connection

Design principles

National guidance
Local authority development plan design policies
Supplementary planning guidance
Site specific development briefs
Design guides

Public involvement

Outcome of consultation and public involvement


How will the project be phased?

Design solution

Explanation of the proposed development with respect to:

> Layout, i.e. context
streets and spaces
safety and security
energy efficiency
> Landscape
> Scale and mix
> Details and materials
> Maintenance

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