Ebbsfleet Garden City
Ebbsfleet Garden City
Ebbsfleet garden city has been included as one of the 10 new housing developments to be named as a “healthy new town” under an NHS scheme.
The aim of these new towns is to encourage healthy living and help address public health issues such as obesity and dementia. Ideas include virtual access to GP services, fast-food free zones around schools and green spaces to encourage exercising.
The development will not be funded by the NHS, but rather council budgets and private partners.
The head of NHS England, Simon Stevens, said there was a “golden opportunity” for the NHS to help town planners promote health and keep people living independently.
“As these new neighbourhoods and towns are built, we’ll kick ourselves if in 10 years’ time we look back having missed the opportunity to ‘design out’ the obesogenic environment, and ‘design in’ health and wellbeing,” he said.
“We want children to have places where they want to play with friends and can safely walk or cycle to school - rather than just exercising their fingers on video games.”
“We want to see neighbourhoods and adaptable home designs that make it easier for older people to continue to live independently wherever possible.”
Professor Kevin Fenton, the national director for health and wellbeing at Public Health England, said: “Some of the UK’s most pressing health challenges – such as obesity, mental health issues, physical inactivity and the needs of an ageing population – can all be influenced by the quality of our built and natural environment. The considerate design of spaces and places is critical to promote good health.”
Currently it is not entirely clear how the schemes will be funded as councils, are facing serious funding cuts. However, the idea has been largely welcomed.
Dartford MP Gareth Johnson welcomed the news, saying: "This is a great opportunity to help shape Ebbsfleet in a way which will promote healthy living. We need to build communities where children want to play out rather than sit at home playing on electronic devices."
"I want Ebbsfleet to be somewhere that people aspire to live in and this will help. This is just one part though of a package of measures and infrastructure that is needed to make Ebbsfleet successful."
Michael Cassidy chairman of the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation said: “This is an important milestone in the development of Ebbsfleet Garden City and we are delighted to be part of an initiative that will encourage healthy lifestyles in the 21st century."
“We look forward to working with NHS England as we drive forward our Garden City. Having this status is a positive move forward with all that it can bring in health care innovation in developing communities.”
He further added that the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation would help create opportunities for play, sport and recreation, including connected open air gyms, cycle tracks, dog walking trails and schools within walking distance.
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