Principle 3: Health and Wellbeing

Everyone should be able to live in a community that is safe, healthy and provides opportunities, whether that home is a house, a flat or mobile home.

Health and Wellbeing

Health and wellbeing play a large part in the success of development no matter the size, location or use. Integrating health and wellbeing principles can be through the physical design as well as provision and management of sites. Considerations should include:

  • Promoting high quality design through environmental sustainability;
  • Providing convenient local healthcare services
  • Providing interesting and stimulating open spaces and natural environments
  • Promote independent living
  • Promoting access to healthy and locally sourced food
  • Encouraging active travel, most particularly cycling and walking
  • Creating safe and accessible environments

Please refer to the Essex Design Guides Health and Wellbeing section for further details.

Health and Safety

When designing the layout of a site, careful consideration must be given to the health and safety of all residents, given the likelihood of a high density of people on a site and relatively high levels of vehicle ownership amongst some groups of Gypsies and Travellers.

Design must cater for all abilities through ensuring accessible access across a development is provided. This is to ensure that all design is compliant with Building Regulations Part M.

The design of vehicle access within what can be confined spaces have created challenging environments in past developments. It is recommended that clear and effective signage are introduced where speed restriction or other traffic calming measure are applied. It is recommended that appropriate traffic calming measures are considered for all sites. Similarly, clear directions should be in place to indicate the location of hydrants and other access points for the fire service etc when attending an emergency on site.

The need for separate vehicular/pedestrian site access should be considered.

It is important that consultation with local fire and rescue services are undertaken at an early stage. Current emergency access guidelines require:

  • Pitches are located less than 50m from a road.
  • Roads must be 3.7 meters in width or should they form part of a one-way traffic system, 3 meters wide.
  • One-way systems should be sign posted.
  • It is recommended that all roads are constructed to adoptable highways standards despite these may not constitute adoption.


Through the development of emerging site layouts many security issues can be addressed at an early stage avoiding a sense of enclosure and isolation amongst Gypsy and Traveller communities.  An approach to designing out crime and social exclusions should be a priority when assessing development and layout.  Designing in community safety and social inclusion through openness of design should be promoted at all design and planning stages.

Site design should maximise natural surveillance enabling residents to have clear views of access and open space. These can be reviewed in line with Essex Police, Secure by Design team. Public communal spaces and private pitches should be clearly defined. Defined boundaries should be included where this aids in avoiding vandalism, fly tipping and unauthorised caravans. Consultation should be undertaken on the level of security provided on a site. For example, lockable gates where control can be had over access where this can reduce unauthorised parking and caravans being pitched.


Communal areas for children should be included where possible. The provision of play should be provided where suitable provision is not available within walking distance on a safe walkable route or by using public transport. Play spaces should be designed for all ages and families and children should be consulted to ensure the provided equipment is best used. The siting of play spaces should be within a central location allowing natural supervision.

Health Impact Assessments

It is recommended that a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) is undertaken on all proposed Gypsy and Traveller development sites. The HIA is designed to ‘assess the potential effects on the health of a population and the distribution of those effects within a population’ (World Health Organisation HIA 1999).

Further information can be found within the Essex Design Guide. HIA guidance to be available soon.

Page updated: 11/09/2019

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