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NHS hails 'golden opportunity' to bring health services into housing design

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The NHS has selected the first 10 sites for its Healthy New Towns programme as part of its drive to tackle the obesity crisis  

More than 76,000 new homes will be built on sites, including Ebbsfleet Garden City and Barking Riverside (see full list below), with each receiving expert design and technology advice from the NHS to help boost public health.

According to the AJ’s sister-title Construction News, measures such as fast food-free zones near schools or dementia-friendly streets will be considered in designing the towns (full list below).

NHS healthy new town Barton 2

NHS healthy new town Barton 2

CGI of Healthy New Town for Barton Park, Oxford

NHS chief executive Simon Stevens will launch the Healthy New Towns programme at a speech later today (1 March).

By bringing together clinicians, designers and technology experts, the programme will seek to incorporate health and wellbeing into the design of new neighbourhoods.

The project will receive no direct NHS funding but it will provide a project manager for each town to work with developers and local authorities.

Further detail on which design elements will be incorporated into each of the 10 new towns will be decided over the next six months.

NHS healthy new town Barton 3

NHS healthy new town Barton 3

CGI of Healthy New Town for Barton Park, Oxford

Stevens is expected to say: ’The much-needed push to kick-start affordable housing across England creates a golden opportunity for the NHS to help promote health and keep people independent.

’As these new neighbourhoods and towns are built, we’ll kick ourselves if in 10 years’ time we look back having missed the opportunity to ‘design out’ the obesogenic environment, and ‘design in’ health and wellbeing.’

Expressions of interest for the Healthy New Towns were invited last summer and attracted 114 applications from local authorities, housing associations, NHS organisations and housing developers.

It is hoped that elements of the designs will eventually be used on other projects across England.

The sites

  • Whitehill and Bordon, Hampshire – 3,350 new homes on a former army barracks, which will include a new care campus with ‘care-ready homes’ for people with long-term conditions. This will include a nurse-led treatment centre, a pharmacy and an integrated care hub.
  • Cranbrook, Devon – 8,000 new residential units. The NHS said Cranbrook has three times the national average of 0-4 year olds, so the design will look at how prevention and healthy lifestyles can be taught in schools from a young age.
  • Darlington – 2,500 residential units across three linked sites in the Eastern Growth Zone. Darlington is developing a ‘virtual care home’ where a group of homes with shared facilities link directly into a digital care hub, avoiding institutionalisation in nursing homes.
  • Barking Riverside – 10,800 residential units on London’s largest brownfield site.
  • Whyndyke Farm in Fylde, Lancashire – 1,400 residential units.
  • Halton Lea, Runcorn – 800 residential units.
  • Bicester, Oxon – 393 houses in the Elmsbrook project, part of 1,300 new homes planned.
  • Northstowe, Cambridgeshire – 10,000 homes on former military land.
  • Ebbsfleet Garden City, Kent – up to 15,000 new homes in the first garden city for 100 years.
  • Barton Park, Oxford – 885 residential units.
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