The crucial impact urban planning can have for the health and wellbeing of communities is at the heart of the annual report from Leeds City Council’s Director of Public Health, Ian Cameron, published this week.
With additional housing of up to 70,000 new homes planned for Leeds by 2028 the report reflects World Health Organisation views stating “local councils can have their most important long term effect on health through the decisions they take about spatial planning”. It also highlights the importance of community engagement, informing local people about choices available and helping them influence what happens in their community and the services they use, as well as helping people achieve more for themselves.
Dr Ian Cameron, Leeds City Council Director of Public Health, said:
“The city has made good progress taking health into account with planning. With the Leeds Homes Refurbishment Standard, the Neighbourhoods for Living guide and the innovative 2014 ‘Planning Leeds Healthy’ event as good examples of the work the city is already doing to deliver good practice, we know that there will be more to do in coming years.
“My report includes good examples from across the city, as well as nine principals to base future activity on. I hope planners and citizens find the report and its recommendations valuable as we strive to make Leeds healthier and the best city to live in in the years ahead.”
Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Chair of Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board, said:
“I’m delighted that Dr Cameron’s report provides such good insight and evidence for the city to use as we plan for the decades to come. Promoting good health needs long term strategy, whether that be providing housing, green space, transport or facilities. Building health into our planning processes will help our long term goals of improving the health of the poorest fastest. We also want to make sure people and communities have their voices heard and their influence felt as these long term decisions and plans are made.”
Councillor Richard Lewis, executive member for regeneration, transport and planning, said:
“Leeds is a growing city and Dr Cameron’s report gives clear guidance to us as we seek to make that growth sustainable and meet the needs of citizens. Understanding the links between wellbeing and housing is key to helping people be happy and healthy. I am glad he has been able to recognise the good practice already in place and I look forward to making sure that future plans build health and wellbeing into every development.”
The nine principals in the guidance are:
- Access to health services and other community facilities
- Access to healthy food
- Social cohesion and community resilience
- Physical activity and active travel
- Spaces and natural habits
- Community safety
- Climate change and pollution
- Air quality
- Healthy design and Lifetime homes
The Director for Public Health produces a report focussing on different aspects of the city’s health annually. Copies of this and previous reports are made available to see at http://observatory.leeds.gov.uk/Leeds_DPH_Report/