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Policy D3 Inclusive design


  1. To deliver an inclusive environment and meet the needs of all Londoners, development proposals are required to achieve the highest standards of accessible and inclusive design, ensuring they:
    1. can be entered and used safely, easily and with dignity by all
    2. are convenient and welcoming with no disabling barriers, providing independent access without additional undue effort, separation or special treatment
    3. are designed to incorporate safe and dignified emergency evacuation for all building users. In developments where lifts are installed, as a minimum at least one lift per core (or more subject to capacity assessments) should be a fire evacuation lift suitable to be used to evacuate people who require level access from the building.
  2. The Design and Access Statement, submitted as part of planning applications, should include an inclusive design statement.

Despite recent progress in building a more accessible city, too many Londoners still experience barriers to living independent and dignified lives, due to the way the built environment has been designed and constructed or how it is managed. An inclusive design approach helps to ensure the diverse needs of all Londoners are integrated into development proposals from the outset. This is essential to ensuring that the built environment is safe, accessible and convenient, and enables everyone to access the opportunities London has to offer, regardless of their age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, faith, economic circumstance or whether they are travelling with children, or are carrying shopping or luggage. Inclusive design is fundamental to improving the quality of life for disabled and older people in particular.

Inclusive design creates spaces and places where people can lead more interconnected lives, creating more inclusive communities. Links to the wider neighbourhood for all pedestrians should be carefully considered, including networks of navigable safe pedestrian routes, dropped kerbs and crossing points with associated tactile paving. Links into the neighbourhood for all pedestrians should be carefully considered, including networks of navigable safe pedestrian routes, dropped kerbs and crossing points with associated tactile paving.

Where security measures are required in the external environment, the design and positioning of these should not adversely impact access and inclusion.

Entrances into buildings should be easily identifiable, and should allow everyone to use them independently without additional effort, separation or special treatment. High and low level obstructions in buildings and in the public realm should be eliminated. The internal environment of developments should meet the highest standards in terms of access and inclusion, creating buildings which meet the needs of the existing and future population.

Buildings should be designed and built to accommodate robust emergency evacuation procedures for all building users, including those who require level access. All building users should be able to evacuate from a building with dignity and by as independent means as possible. Emergency carry down or carry up devices are not considered to be appropriate, for reasons of user dignity and independence. The installation of lifts which can be used for evacuation purposes (accompanied by a management plan) provide a dignified and more independent solution. Elements of construction forming refuges, evacuation lift enclosures and lobbies should incorporate suitable levels of fire resistance.

When dealing with historic buildings and heritage assets, careful consideration should be given to inclusive design, in conjunction with their heritage value, at an early stage. This is essential to securing successful schemes which will enable as many people as possible to access and enjoy the assets now and in the future, whilst retaining their heritage value.

Inclusive design principles should be discussed with boroughs in advance of an application being submitted, to ensure that these principles are understood and incorporated into the original design concept. To demonstrate this, an inclusive design statement is required as part of the Design and Access Statement. The inclusive design statement should:

  • explain the design concept and illustrate how an inclusive design approach has been incorporated into this
  • show that the potential impacts of the proposal on people and communities who share a protected characteristic have been identified and assessed
  • highlight any historical contextual considerations
  • set out how inclusion will be maintained and managed, including fire evacuation procedures
  • detail how relevant best practice standards and design guidance have been applied, and how relevant planning policy and legal requirements (including, where relevant, the Public Sector Equality Duty of the Equality Act 2010) have been responded to
  • detail engagement with relevant user groups such as disabled or older people’s organisations.

The Mayor will assist boroughs and other agencies in implementing an inclusive design approach in all development proposals by providing further guidance where necessary, continuing to contribute to the development of national technical standards and supporting training and professional development programmes. Further guidance on inclusive design standards can be found in the British Standards BS8300 Volumes 1 and 2.