Health

NHS to help create 'healthy new towns'

Letchworth Garden City Image copyright Garden City Collection
Image caption Letchworth was the first garden city, planned to combine the best of town and country living

Ten new housing developments in England are to be built with healthy living in mind, under an NHS scheme.

Clinicians, designers and technology experts will work together to create the "healthy new towns".

Plans include homes with virtual access to GP services, safe green spaces to play and fast-food-free zones around schools.

The money to build the developments will come from council budgets and private partners rather than the NHS.

The places earmarked to test the ideas include existing villages in the South West, London and the North West and two new developments in Cambridgeshire and Darlington.

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Media captionMembers of the public give their views on a "fast food free zone"

Some of the developments are already being built, but others will not be completed until 2030.

Simon Stevens, the head of NHS England, said a much-needed push to kick-start affordable housing across England had created a "golden opportunity" for the NHS to help town planners promote health and keep people living independently.

"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," he said.

"We want children to have places where they want to play with friends and can safely walk or cycle to school - rather than just exercising their fingers on video games."


The 'healthy' new housing developments

  • Whitehill and Bordon, Hampshire - 3,350 homes on a former army barracks, including "care-ready homes" adapted for people with long-term conditions
  • Darlington - 2,500 homes across three linked sites in the town's "eastern growth zone", including a "virtual care home"
  • Cranbrook, Devon - 8,000 homes, with healthy lifestyles taught in schools from a young age. Cranbrook is already thought to have three times the national average of under-fives
  • Ebbsfleet Garden City, Kent - up to 15,000 homes in the first garden city for 100 years
  • Barking Riverside - 10,800 homes on London's largest brownfield site
  • Bicester, Oxfordshire - 393 houses in the Elmsbrook project, part of 13,000 planned homes
  • Northstowe, Cambridgeshire - 10,000 homes on former military land
  • Whyndyke Farm in Fylde, Lancashire - 1,400 homes
  • Barton Park, Oxford - 885 homes
  • Halton Lea, Runcorn - 800 homes

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