In South Cambridge health impact assessment (HIA) is a requirement for every major development.
Through the HIA process health professionals from the county council Public Health Team and the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are giving the Local Planning Authority a steer on the public health implications of new developments.
The starting point was concerns raised by local GPs about high levels of mental distress being presented in the new village of Cambourne. Further research by colleagues in NHS Cambridgeshire confirmed that the population was experiencing higher than average mental health distress. The suggested causes related to lack of community facilities, such as a shop or community centre, due to the lag time between occupation of the new houses and the provision of amenities.
The council’s policy is that planning applications for major developments must submit a health impact statement to demonstrate that the applicant has addressed the proposal’s ‘impact on health’. To help developers the council produced a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) Supplementary Planning Document (adopted 2011), which provides guidance for developers about the contents and process of an HIA. The Council works with public health colleagues in the county council to produce a jointly considered response to HIAs. The council is also engaging with the CCG through a Local Health Partnership in planning consultations. The CCG is helping to shape the “vision” for the new Town of Northstowe and to ensure that public health concerns are addressed through the local development control system.