Cambridgeshire is experiencing significant growth in existing communities and new settlements.
NHS Cambridgeshire and Cambridgeshire County Council decided to attempt to identify the characteristics of the population that was likely to live in new communities proposed for the area and what their health needs might be, so that they could better plan to meet those needs (as well as existing needs). A Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) for new communities drew together a range of demographic and housing data in the region to identify the likely profile of residents that may move into the county’s new communities. The JSNA explores the health implications of the future planned areas, including how to:
- create a social milieu that facilitates good mental health and wellbeing
- promote design that encourages active travel and reduces other health concerns such as traffic accidents, air pollution and noise
- design and build high quality housing
- provide access to quality green spaces, including for community gardening
- monitor community wellbeing.
It recommends that plans for new communities should:
- include a recognition of the need to design places where people can continue to live throughout the different stages of their life – so called “lifetime homes, lifetime neighbourhoods”
- provide affordable housing including a range of tenures
- examine how to better integrate new communities with existing settlements using more flexible service and funding arrangements
- include the funding of community development roles to help to build social networks (to help to address the mental health issues that arose at the new town of Cambourne)
- facilitate the community to monitor health and wellbeing
The JSNA can assist masterplanners working on new communities to shape their proposals to respond to potential health impacts. For example, a revised application for the new community at Northstowe was influenced by the County’s JSNA.