Design and Access Statements
Planning Advice Note - Addendum April 2007
Consultation with local people with disabilities or the local access group
Note: This addendum is to read with the Design and Access Statement booklet published August 2006.
This guidance note explains the Council's requirements on consulting with local people with disabilities or the local access group so that the issues they raise can be dealt with in the design and access statement. All consultation must be via the development control team so as to ensure a comprehensive response covering all relevant planning issues is received.
Why consult with people with disabilities?
Nationally 1 in 7 people are disabled. The majority of them are able to participate fully in everyday activities provided buildings are thoughtfully designed and have suitable access. Disabled people understand what is needed to make a new development or renovation suitable for everyone. They experience the problems of inaccessibility daily and they know how these barriers can be overcome. Putting their ideas into practice often is inexpensive and straightforward especially when included at the design stage. They can also bring their experience of how similar problems have been solved elsewhere.
When should you consult people with disabilities?
It is always best to consult with the Council before design work starts to make sure accessibility issues are fully understood for all aspects of the design. Consultation should always be undertaken for public buildings, large developments, and controversial sites. It is not necessary to consult on domestic householder applications.
How should you consult people with disabilities?
The New Forest Access For All (NFAFA) group is the Council's local access group. This is an independent voluntary group of disabled people who have been trained to enable them to assist applicants and agents with design and access statements and other access issues. You can contact them at
New Forest Access For All
If you only wish for advice on access issues approach them direct but please explain the type of development you propose and provide any preliminary drawings or proposals and be aware that the advice given is independent of other relevant planning, building regulation or listed building considerations.
NFAFA will visit the site, if necessary, and provide a written statement including suggestions for overcoming any potential barriers or issues with the design. They will copy this response to the Development Control team
They may also include suggestions for other aspects of the development which may not be part of the planning applications but may be useful for you to act on to meet the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Acts (DDA)(1995/2005). This could include items such as lighting, signage, decor or facilities needed such as hearing loops.
Remember the granting of planning permission or building control approval will not necessarily mean that any development will automatically comply with the provisions of the DDA so this additional advice could prove very useful.
If you would like more information on the Council's planning process please view the Planning.