Developers should be shamed into building better housing estates in Warwickshire says health chief

Developers should be shamed into building better housing estates according to one of Warwickshire’s leading health chiefs.

Russell Hardy, chairman of both the George Eliot and South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trusts, made the comments at the latest Warwickshire County Council Health and Wellbeing Board meeting on Wednesday (January 8).

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Councillors and health officials were discussing a new document drawn up to show how good planning can have a positive impact on people’s lives.

The report explained that problems such as obesity, diabetes and dementia were influenced by where people lived and offered guidance on what can be done when new houses are designed and built that would boost health and wellbeing.

Mr Hardy said: “The piece of analysis that would be useful is a well designed housing estate compared to a poorly designed housing estate and the impact on life expectancy and the costs to the geography in terms of healthcare costs.

“Strategically that would allow our planning colleagues to have a far stronger arm to say that a poorly designed housing estate that doesn’t take into account issues such as loneliness, obesity, isolation has this consequence while a well designed one has this consequence.

“Why, as a developer, would you want to be associated with those health outcomes.

"Developers over time should be shamed by their failure to design housing estates which help health outcomes.”

A health and planning workshop is to be arranged to explain how the new document can be put into use by planning departments across Warwickshire.

It will look at areas such as public transport, car parking, public spaces, facilities and services and in conclusion, the document states it has ‘provided an overview of how the environment and health are interconnected and ways in which the design of places and spaces can promote positive health and wellbeing outcomes’.