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NHS to unite councils and housebuilders in new healthy living framework

NHS England is to work with local authorities and housing developers across the country as part of a scheme to expand the number of affordable homes available.

This month, it will be inviting applications for housing developers and associations to join a national network that will seek to improve the health of the nation by applying the lessons from the first Healthy New Towns schemes, which saw 10 sites taking part in the pilot.

Ultimately, the framework will see organisations work together to prioritise healthy living schemes in new housing developments “above and beyond current practice.” It will also allow partners to test new ideas, such as fitness adventure trails and tech-enabled homes to help elderly residents.

The programme was first launched in 2016 in partnership with Public Health England to explore innovative ways to tackle the biggest health and care challenges of the 21st century, such as obesity, dementia and social isolation.

At the time, the LGA applauded the decision, saying it would give councils the opportunity to “radically reshape health and care services” by testing what could be achieved with fewer constraints.

Since its launch, the project has enjoyed unprecedented popularity, attracting bids from across the globe – particularly helpful considering the government’s goal of building 300,000 homes a year in the UK.

Professor Jonathan Valabhji, national clinical director for obesity and diabetes at NHS England, said: “The Healthy New Towns programme has proved more popular than anyone could have predicted, uniting the NHS, house builders and local councils behind the goal of making us healthier and happier as a nation.

“Currently the demand to be part of the programme is outstripping supply so as the NHS turns 70, we are launching a new network of partners to ensure the great work done so far can have an even greater impact across the country and for years to come.”

Locality’s CEO Tony Armstrong, wrote about the scheme in PSE’s April/May 2016 edition following the original launch. He explained how the project worked and why communities needed to be placed at the centre of the decision-making process to ensure it would continue to be positive.

The latest ideas for improvements include safe play areas for children, ‘one-stop’ health hubs and digitally-monitored fitness programmes.

Top image: Rui Vieira

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Rosalind Scott   03/01/2018 at 12:02

This is the kind of initiative that would make the Garden Communities suggested in Colchester Local Plan into a truly desirable and innovative vehicle for improvement of the borough and Essex county.

Angela C-B   03/01/2018 at 15:40

The designs of a good percentage of these homes need to be BS Part M4 (3b) compliant plus some extra space to allow for increasing numbers of ppl that now use profiling electric wheelchairs. I wish people planning this would come talk to me re the inadequacies of the space allowed in most so called accessible homes. We need homes that have extra space for care to be provided safely. I have written papers on such from our own very bad experience. Council staff I have spoken to say they can not justify building full cat 3 housing even though it is much needed. Some way this needs to be resolved or the system will continue to let down family units like mine.

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