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HCA - Health and well-being to be at the heart of Northstowe

The NHS England’s Healthy New Towns initiative has won support to develop plans for health to be ‘designed in’ to Northstowe from the beginning.

A partnership between CUH, the Homes and Community Agency and South Cambridgeshire District Council is one of only 10 winners announced by the Chief Executive of the NHS of an innovation programme putting health at the heart of new neighbourhoods and towns across the country.

Over the next 20 years Northstowe will become a community of 10,000 new homes encompassing everything a vibrant community needs, including a new town centre with shops, businesses, schools and other facilities. The focus on health and well-being will mean doctors surgeries, sports facilities, parks and play areas are integrated into the community. It will also be designed to encourage people to walk or bike to school, work and around the town.

Northstowe will serve as an exemplar of what is possible and best practice could be applied to future strategic growth locations.

Lawrence Ashelford, director of strategy, policy and planning at CUH, said:

We are delighted that our bid to make Northstowe a community where health and wellbeing is intertwined with the design of housing, infrastructure and facilities has been successful.

Cambridgeshire has an expanding population as well as a growing ageing population. We now have a fantastic double opportunity to work with our partners to improve the health of the people of Cambridgeshire.

Northstowe will be a community which encourages healthy living, helping to prevent future health problems like obesity. It will provide accommodation and facilities that cater for the growing numbers of frail elderly people, many of whom suffer dementia and other cognitive problems, helping them to live independently for longer and allowing their medical conditions to be treated in the local community.

Paul Kitson Head of Northstowe at the HCA said:

This is an exciting time for Northstowe with development having started already on phase one by Gallagher and our programme of work for phase two on track to start soon. I look forward to working with the partners and the community on this new initiative.

Cllr Tim Wotherspoon, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s cabinet member for strategic planning, said:

This successful bid cements what we are trying to achieve at Northstowe, which has been designed from the outset as a town for healthy living. The town will have an excellent network of cycleways, sports facilities and give people every opportunity to lead a healthy and active lifestyle. This project gives us the opportunity to explore new and innovative ideas with the housebuilders and academics involved to help people live independently in their own homes for longer and reduce the need for people to go into hospital or care.

Expressions of interest in the Healthy New Towns programme were invited last summer, and attracted 114 applications from local authorities, housing associations, NHS organisations and housing developers, far exceeding expectations. After a rigorous selection process and presentations from the shortlisted projects, the first ten sites have now been chosen:

  • Whitehill and Bordon, Hampshire – 3,350 new homes on a former army barracks. A new care campus will co-locate ‘care-ready homes’ specially designed to be adaptable to the needs of people with long term conditions with a nurse-led treatment centre, pharmacy and integrated care hub

  • Cranbrook, Devon – 8,000 new residential units. Data suggests that Cranbrook has three times the national average of 0-4 year olds and will look at how prevention and healthy lifestyles can be taught in schools from a young age

  • Darlington – 2,500 residential units across three linked sites in the Eastern Growth Zone. Darlington is developing a ‘virtual care home’ offer where a group of homes with shared facilities are configured to link directly into a digital care hub, avoiding institutionalisation in nursing homes

  • Barking Riverside – 10,800 residential units on London’s largest brownfield site

  • Whyndyke Farm in Fylde, Lancashire – 1,400 residential units

  • Halton Lea, Runcorn – 800 residential units

  • Bicester, Oxon – 393 houses in the Elmsbrook project, part of 1300 new homes planned

  • Northstowe, Cambridgeshire – 10,000 homes on former military land

  • Ebbsfleet Garden City, Kent – up to 15,000 new homes in the first garden city for 100 years

  • Barton Park, Oxford – 885 residential units

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