Guidance document for endorsement – Gemma McKinnon
This item was introduced by Emily Fernandez, Public Health, WCC. The report stated the importance of the environment we live in, both in improving and protecting the health and wellbeing of our communities. This included through providing opportunities to be physically active, connect with others, as well as support for specific vulnerable groups through design.
A guidance document was submitted for the Board’s consideration and which was aimed at policy and strategy makers. Engagement had taken place with a number of groups, and feedback had been incorporated into the circulated document.
A number of questions and comments were submitted, with responses provided as indicated:
· It was questioned if the engagement had included builders and developers.
· There was a balance and viability argument, competing demands for contributions and it was questioned how much weight this guidance carried when compared to other planning guidance.
· A good working relationship had been established with district and borough council planners. There was a need to be proportionate, recognising the financial viability of each development.
· There was no power to require developers to cooperate and it was more about collective influence.
· The guidance was evidence based and sought to inform planners and developers, identifying health impacts from development. It was asked who would undertake the health impact assessments. These needed to be undertaken by the developer and then be reviewed by planners.
· Several board members recognised the value of the document and the positive working between health and planners.
· There was a greater emphasis placed on health aspects now. It was important that district and borough councils take on board this guidance when reviewing their core strategies and the upcoming consultations on local plans provided a further opportunity.
· Every planning application required an environmental impact assessment and this had been strengthened recently through legislation. Each district and borough council could use supplementary planning guidance.
· Improved dialogue between public health and environmental health could assist.
· The financial value of the development could provide a lever for additional contributions in some developments.
· Ensuring that the health aspects were always considered by planners when determining planning applications, would help to improve population health.
· A point was made on the comparative impact of poor air quality against those associated with unhealthy lifestyles and deprivation, on life expectancy. The report did illustrate inequalities across the County and these would be a focus for the health and care partnership and in other strategies and fora. The approach proposed was considered to be the best way forward to ensure that indicators of poor health and health outcomes associated with poor spatial planning were equally considered.
· The Health and Wellbeing Board could recommend that all district and borough councils worked consistently to give the same message to developers on the importance of health.
· It would be useful to analyse the difference in life expectancy associated with good and poor housing development and the impacts for health and social care in regard to issues such as isolation and obesity. Whilst costs and profit margins could be potential barriers, it was the role of the board to highlight this issue.
· There would be merit in making representations to the Government on the points raised above to secure strengthened regulation.
That the Health and Wellbeing Board:
1. Notes the contents of the Promoting Health and Wellbeing through Spatial Planning guidance document.
2. Endorses the document as guidance to support Health in All Policies (HiAP) and ensure health and wellbeing is embedded within local and joint planning policies.
3. Supports holding a health and planning workshop and championing the meaningful use of the guidance document.