NHS Healthy Towns

Find out what makes an NHS Healthy Town

What is an NHS Healthy Town?

We all know that bricks and mortar are only one small part of the story when it comes to the lifestyle and happiness of community residents.

The NHS England Healthy New Towns Programme embraces this idea; looking at different areas of our lives where planning, infrastructure, community and lifestyle come together to make a difference.

The country faces some serious healthcare challenges. One in three children in year 6 is overweight or obese. And over 35,000 deaths a year could be avoided through physical activity. Something needs to be done. And the NHS healthy New Towns initiative is part of a radical solution that will improve our chances of living healthier happier and longer lives.

Lysander Park is our chance

By respecting the legacy of the past and understanding the needs of the East Surrey community of the
present, we can realise an integrated placemaking vision of the future.


With a simple focus of putting health into place, let’s take a look the 10 principles of an NHS Healthy New Town.

  • The first principal acknowledges that no change can happen without the buy in from local communities and professionals. Right from the start, everyone should come together with a clear vision and evidence-based forecasts. The overarching aim is improved health for all.
  • Healthcare professionals need to be involved too. The shared vision stretches to integration with the provision of healthcare services. How these services adapt and evolve to meet local healthcare needs is a key and fundamental aim for the healthy towns initiative.
  • The Healthy New Towns focus on creating strong communities, by promoting cohesion and inclusion. Social connections are vital for health and well being. Loneliness increases the chances of death by 26%. That’s why the very fabric of each healthy town helps people from beneficial relationships.
  • Compact walkable neighbourhoods are the building blocks of a healthy community. This minimises over-reliance on cars and other motorised transport solutions. Walking and cycling become a natural part of the bonded community – from trips to the shops and other local destinations like schools, parks and shops. Accessible green space is another key element which is built into each healthy town initiative.
  • Wherever you are and whatever your circumstances, healthy towns will be planned to cater for everyone’s travel needs. From public transport to walking and cycling, each town will be planned to integrate all modes for maximum health benefits. Modern technology has a role to play too; especially apps that make access to timetable information and real time updates easier.
small group sharing conversation over coffee
young man commuting to work by bicycle
  • Healthy eating is important too. Careful placemaking can give residents access to healthy ingredients. Home cooking is favoured over fast food takeaways for example too. And planning can restrict the number of fast food outlets within a certain distance of local schools.
  • On to building design. 90% of our time is spent indoors in the buildings we occupy. So, the way we gather, socialise and enjoy quiet reflection all its part to play. By bringing people together the NHS Healthy Towns can build a real sense of community. And this is complemented by the street designs and landscaping.
  • Whatever your age or ability, NHS Healthy Towns are planned to give everyone opportunities to enjoy healthy pastimes and outdoor pursuits. The key to such an inclusive community is to offer a wide range of things to do. Updates and social channels on smart phones can give people the latest information about opportunities available
  • Health Services have a crucial role to play. It is no longer a reactive role. But a greater emphasis on helping people to stay well. This means understanding the community needs and anticipating conditions that community members may be most susceptible to.
    Social prescribing, when healthcare services link more closely to community groups and local charities, can also impact on the wellbeing of residents.
  • Integrated health centres offer a range of health services on a single site. This offers advice diagnosis and treatment with maximum convenience. One idea is to include a health and wellbeing campus. This would see health, leisure and GP services and more integrated in one building.

For more information about the  NHS England Healthy New Towns Programme  https://www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/innovation/healthy-new-towns/

Interested? Get in touch today

By respecting the legacy of the past and understanding the needs of the East Surrey community of the
present, we can realise an integrated placemaking vision of the future.

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