' the Woodlouse: Design and Access Statement?


Thursday, 20 October 2011

Design and Access Statement?

Below is a draft Design and Access Statement (DAS) to accompany our planning application.  It now appears we may not be required to submit one as the regulations have changed since the guidance I've been using was issued.  If nothing else I hope it provides a pretty good summing up of our plans and the reasoning behind them.

The property is in an Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty which used to require a DAS for householder applications, but now it's unclear.  I'm sure the planning officer I'm meeting tomorrow will be able to tell me.  In any case, our project is unusual compared to standard applications for building an extension so it may help to submit the DAS by way of explanation.  Any comments from anyone used to dealing with things very gratefully received!  I'm sure it's too long for starters, despite a fair bit of editing down.

Design and Access Statement for 17 C____ Road.
Ecological upgrade and strawbale extension of existing bungalow.


C___ Road is a residential area consisting mostly of brick bungalows built in the 1960s, with concrete tile roofs.  On the southern side these are of similar design and construction.  On the northern side bricks are combined with stone-coloured brick blocks and white pvc or rendered panels.  Many properties on the street have been extended, and though most use similar bricks are of varying design and roof covering. Properties on adjacent roads are constructed of broadly similar materials though of differing design, with some properties partially rendered and areas of tile or timber cladding.  On B___  (parallel to C___ Road to the south) properties are constructed in a different style, using a darker brick, with some partially or fully rendered houses.

The street is set between the green spaces of W___ and C___ Hills.  The north side of C___Road offers views of C___ Hill over the top of homes on the south side.  Both sides are fronted with lawns providing a wide green aspect.

17 C___ Road is roughly halfway along the street on the south.  The rear of the property faces south/southwest.  It has been unoccupied for an extended period and shows signs of neglect.  Residents of neighbouring properties are keen to see it renovated and lived in again.

Project principles

To provide a comfortable, low-energy, level home with disabled access throughout, designed to offer flexibility of future layout to allow for unforeseen changes in health or mobility.

Reducing energy use and associated carbon emissions from existing housing is an essential part of reducing the UK’s overall energy consumption. The aim is to upgrade, extend and super-insulate the existing bungalow to provide a fully sustainable home fit for future decades that can provide a comfortable living space with minimal energy input, and to achieve this using materials with low environmental impact.

To ensure low energy and water use, recommendations in the Code for Sustainable Homes level 5 or 6 will be followed.  This will include: low-energy light fittings throughout; solar-thermal panels for hot water, coupled with high-efficiency biomass stove for back-up heating and hot water at the coldest times of year only; water-saving taps and plumbing fittings, combined with rainwater harvesting providing water for WC flushing and washing machine; a Waste Water Heat Recovery System fitted to the shower; Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery; solar PV electric panels.


The renovated and extended property will remain residential.  Space gained through extending the property and rationalisation of existing layout will provide a third bedroom, a utility room, a home office, a separate WC, and a small artists studio.  A conservatory will add seasonal space and help maximise heating from solar gain.  The garden will only be marginally reduced in size, providing ample space for recreation and vegetable growing.


The development will remain a single residential unit.


The existing bungalow is structurally sound and will be retained.  New space would be provided by an extension at the west side of the property.  This would use ground currently occupied by a garage and wooden sun-room, and protrude a small way to the rear of the property.  The rearmost wall will be in line with a rear extension at 19 C___ Road.  A conservatory would be added along the rear of the property, visually linking the extension to the existing bungalow.

NB: The existing garage is narrow and does not provide enough space alongside a parked vehicle for disabled access.  It appears that residents of C___ Road primarily park on their driveways.  The sunroom is rotting.  Removing these dysfunctional structures and using the area to extend the home provides the maximum increase in space with minimal reduction in size of the garden.

The current concrete-strip vehicular access from the road over a dropped kerb (with clear sight lines all along the street) will be retained, providing off-road parking for at least two cars at the north-western edge of the property.  Existing pedestrian access along the west side of the bungalow will be retained, leading to a relocated garden shed providing secure parking for mobility scooter and bicycles, with ramped access to the rear of the property via the conservatory. The existing front door position in the centre of the frontage will be retained, with step-free access provided.


The extension roof will be subservient to the existing bungalow, pitched at 15 degrees.  This minimises visual impact and retains maximum views from the road of the greenery beyond.

Fascias around the property will be at the same height as currently.  Due to sloping ground this ranges from 2390mm at the front of the property to around 2480mm at the rear.  The side extension would measure externally 5000mm width from the existing bungalow, extending at the rear 3445mm from the existing bungalow (total length north-south: 12000mm).  At its highest point (where it meets the gable wall of the bungalow) the extension roof will reach to 1500mm below the existing ridge height.

The roof of the rear conservatory and outside covered space will have a pitch of 10 degrees.  This space will extend 2250mm south from the existing bungalow wall, measuring 7810mm east-west from the extension wall.

External insulation of the existing bungalow (see below) will add 300mm to the thickness of the front, rear and east gable walls, with the exception of the gable-ended room which projects forward of the rest of the building.  In order to bring the insulated walls under the roof, it will be extended by 300mm at the east gable, and by 400mm at the front of the property.


The most effective way to super-insulate an existing building (providing maximum levels of insulation with minimum risk of condensation build-up within the structure) is externally.  External insulation will need rendering, to protect the structure from the elements.  To treat the entire bungalow in this way would change its appearance from a wholly brick to a wholly rendered structure.  To avoid this and visually connect the building with its neighbours, the room which projects forward of the main bungalow towards the street will remain as brick (as will the visible western gable wall).  This section only will be internally insulated, to maintain the character of the building in keeping with its surroundings.

For the rendered sections an un-coloured natural lime render will be used.  We believe this is the most honest solution and will produce the least contrast with surroundings.  Attempts to use brick-coloured render or surface treatments have been discounted, as they appear false and would result in a very strong and negative contrast with surroundings.  Strawbales have been chosen as the most sustainable material for insulation (and for the extension walls).  Normally these would require a roof overhang of at least 400mm to ensure protection from rain ingress, but on the eastern gable-end this would look out of place.  Timber cladding is proposed for the gable section of the wall to provide alternative protection without the need for roof overhang.

The  existing concrete roof tiles will be maintained.  As these tiles cannot be used at a pitch below 22.5 degrees the lower pitch of the extension requires an alternative solution.  The most environmentally sustainable and low visual-impact solution is an extensive (i.e.: shallow substrate/soil-depth) sedum living-roof, which will add to the green spaces of the street.

Windows will be triple-glazed and timber-framed

1 comment:

  1. John, looks fine to me although as disabled access sounds like it is crucial, I think you could do a bit more with the "access" bit of the report. If they don't need it formally, rebadge it as a design statement, chuck in a few sketches showing design evolution or early ideas and lo and behold you have an excellent document that shows what you are trying to do. Planners generally find that very helpful in my experience. Good luck.