The head of NHS England has announced plans to create ten NHS-supported ‘healthy new towns’ across the country, covering more than 76,000 new homes with potential capacity for approximately 170,000 residents. Barking Riverside, an emerging neighbourhood set alongside 2km of the river Thames, is the only healthy new town announced that is in London.
Supported by Public Health England (PHE), the NHS will help shape the way these new sites develop, so as to test creative solutions for the health and care challenges of the 21st century, including obesity, dementia and community cohesion. NHS England is bringing together renowned clinicians, designers and technology experts to reimagine how healthcare can be delivered in these places, to showcase what’s possible by joining up design of the built environment with modern health and care services, and to deploy new models of technology-enabled primary care.
UCLPartners worked in partnership with Care City to develop the bid for Barking Riverside. The vision is to create 10,800 new homes in Barking over the next 15 years. The approach is to apply the latest health and social care research and practice into the planning and development of the built environment to create a healthy and resilient community, including:
- Creating a unique partnership with the community, through a Community Interest Company, to harness existing and emerging assets
- Collaboration between the NHS and academics to understand how the environment can impact health and care and to build this into the planning
- Applying the latest learning on ‘age-friendly’ built environments and public spaces, and ensuring Barking Riverside is liveable and inclusive for all ages
- Embedding new models of health and social care delivery and innovation, through Care City NHS Innovation Test Bed
- Showcasing the ‘Borough Smile’ river waterway as a leisure destination, reflecting the link between mental wellbeing and proximity to water
- Creating age friendly space, applying the latest research around preventing falls and reducing social isolation.
Other options to be tested at some of the Healthy New Towns include fast food-free zones near schools, designing safe and appealing green spaces, building dementia-friendly streets and ensuring people can access new GP services using digital technology. The developments will reflect the needs of their local populations when working up their plans.
Councillor Maureen Worby, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, and Chair of the borough’s Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for us to work on something that will not only benefit the 10,800 households planned for the Barking Riverside area, but will have a longer term impact benefiting everyone in Barking and Dagenham. We are looking for solutions that can work for residents on a personal level, making healthy choices easier for everyone. Residents’ involvement will be crucial.”
Care City, the Barking based health, social care and regeneration innovation centre founded by Barking and Dagenham Council and North East London NHS Foundation Trust, is the lead partner. Care City’s dual focus of healthy ageing and social regeneration means that it is ideally placed to bring its expertise to developing ‘age friendly’ solutions that will make sense for the whole community.
For further information about Barking Riverside watch a short video.