DCAN 11: Access for People with Disabilities
6. The provision of facilities for people with disabilities can raise issues which fall within the area of concern of the Planning Service. The arrangements for access to buildings are a planning matter and the suitability of the arrangements for use by the public, which includes people with disabilities raises issues of public amenity which are material planning considerations.
7. The Department intends, where appropriate, to include in future development plans a policy objective to seek, as far as is practicable, the development of a built environment accessible to people with disabilities.
8. As a general objective in the provision of accessible buildings developers should seek to ensure that a wheelchair can be erected and easily propelled from a parked car into the building. The concept of such a "wheelchair standard" providing level or ramped clearways with unobstructed routes of adequate width is conducive to suiting the needs of many people with various forms of impaired mobility.
9. In the case of planning applications for the development of buildings to which the public are to have access, the Department will consider the extent to which the provision of external facilities and access into the building for persons with disabilities is required. Where it is not clear from the application that such provision is being planned the Department will endeavour to clarify the matter in discussion with the applicant. Where appropriate conditions may be attached to the grant of planning permission to ensure the development has a suitable access.
10. Conditions on access for people with disabilities may equally be attached in appropriate cases to permissions which relate to more than one building, so that the means of access between buildings is covered by the permission - for example external changes in level in multi-level shopping centres. Such conditions may also cover the means of access to the building from other parts of the development, such as external car parks, to ensure they are suitable for people with disabilities. The Department may also consider it appropriate for conditions on access to be attached to permissions for the change of use of buildings involving no structural or physical operations, where the new use would be one for which the public has access and where provision for new works to meet the needs of people with disabilities would be reasonable, practicable and justified on planning grounds.