DCAN 11(Draft): Access for all - Designing for an Accessible Environment
2.0 The Relationship between Planning Control and Building Control
2.1 Planning Control and Building Control have complimentary roles to play in extending accessibility of the built environment and ensuring that reasonable access to and into buildings for people with disabilities is provided.
2.2 The arrangements for access to and into buildings and the suitability of the arrangements for use by the public, which includes people with disabilities, raise issues of public amenity which are material planning considerations. Applicants for planning permission should therefore consider the specific needs of people with disabilities at an early stage in the design process and should always aim to provide the highest standard of access possible. This includes proposals for new buildings, alterations to existing buildings, such as the installation of a new shop front, or applications for a change of use. Where appropriate the Department may impose conditions requiring access provision for people with disabilities.
2.3 The Building Regulations are concerned with the health, safety and welfare of people in or about buildings. The Regulations impose requirements on all new buildings and certain extensions to secure specific objectives for people with disabilities (see Paragraph 3.25 et seq.). The Department considers it would be inappropriate to use planning control to impose separate requirements in this area. While the access needs of disabled people, including the provision of reserved car parking will therefore be taken into account in the determination of planning applications, the detailed design of features required to facilitate disabled access is a matter primarily for consideration under the statutory building control system.
2.4 The design guidance set out in Section 7.0 of this Advice Note relating to the Approach, Access and Entrances to buildings seeks to promote best practice among developers and designers, but it should however be noted that this guidance does not cover all aspects of the Building Regulations. Anyone considering such development is therefore advised to contact their local Building Control office (see Annex C).
2.5 Developers and designers should note that where access for all is designed in a scheme at the beginning and incorporated at planning stage this will help avoid later problems of compliance with the requirements of the Building Regulations or the rights provided by the Disability Discrimination Act . It is also far more cost effective than adapting buildings at a later date.
2.6 The Advice Note does not deal with the internal layout of buildings, as this is not normally material to the consideration of planning permission.