Health and Wellbeing

The health and wellbeing theme was established to recognise how the positive characteristics and qualities of an environment can help people to achieve and experience better quality lifestyles. The relevant content also references the future of healthcare provision within new communities. 

Community spaces, movement corridors and privacy and safety are key features of spaces, and serve to shape how we feel about an environment. The goal is therefore to construct spaces that deliberately deter crime through design and which – by means of natural surveillance, cohesion and a sense of community ownership – help to create socially inclusive, active communities and seek to build in opportunities for residents to be active through their everyday lives. The aim is to make activity the default daily choice through design.

Health and wellbeing can be encouraged and improved by:

  • supporting community leadership and participation through high-quality planning, design and management of the environment;
  • promoting high-quality local employment, affordable housing, sport & recreation facilities, environmental sustainability and skill development;
  • providing convenient local healthcare services with options for (and incentives towards) self-care;
  • providing interesting and stimulating open spaces and natural environments to encourage people to be physically active;
  • ensuring developments embody the principles of lifetime neighbourhoods and promote independent living;
  • promoting access to healthy and locally sourced food;
  • encouraging active travel, most particularly cycling and walking;
  • creating a safe and accessible built environment with well-designed public spaces that encourage community participation;
  • embracing the Smart Cities concept by incorporating and futureproofing for new technology; and
  • ensuring that all work, educational or public spaces are sufficiently well designed to promote active and healthy lifestyles.

This guide encourages all developments to employ the principles of Building Regulations Part M4 Category 2 (Accessible and Adaptable Dwellings) so as to promote independent living. The provision of access to open spaces, natural environments and informal and formal recreation opportunities contributes significantly to the prevention of ill health. Transport corridors should be well-established to encourage cycling and walking as safer, more active alternatives to the car for local journeys.

The health and wellbeing theme is addressed within the following sections of the guide:

Strategic Estates Engagement in the Design Process

NHS England and the Department of Health’s Strategic Estates Advisor for the locality should be included as statutory consultees for all Local Authority planning consultation documents. Responses in relation to primary care impact and need will be coordinated from relevant parties within the local health economy by the contact shown below. 

Within Essex a number of the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG’) have become fully delegated, taking over the responsibility of primary care from NHS England. As part of this transfer of responsibility individual CCG’s will be taking over the statutory consultee role from NHS England. Where this is the case the Local Authority will be informed of a change of contact.

At the current time a process is emerging, via the establishment of Sustainability & Transformation Plan (STP) groups, which will enable the coordination of planning consultation responses on behalf of the whole health economy. This will be established at different times within different STP areas. There are three STP groups covering Essex: West Essex & Hertfordshire, North East Essex & Suffolk and Mid & South Essex. The Department of Health Strategic Estates Advisor acts as a conduit to the STP group, sharing information and ensuring timely responses to large consultation and strategy documents.


Page updated: 27/02/2018


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