Promoting Health and Wellbeing
Health and wellbeing is identified as one of the Core Strategy's main cross cutting themes as many aspects of planning policy contribute to achieving and maintaining better health.
The Core Strategy sets out a number of proposals to promote health and wellbeing including the provision and protection of health care facilities, sport and recreation facilities and community facilities.
This Local Plan achieves this by protecting existing facilities and allocating land for new facilities.
Health Care Facilities
New and improved health facilities in Preston have been identified by NHS Central Lancashire over the plan period to meet expected demand. Greater Preston CCG is responsible for the provision of health care facilities in Preston.
Delivering Infrastructure identifies the need for additional primary care facilities in Central Preston, Ingol and North West Preston.
Where need for other schemes is identified, the scheme will be assessed against the relevant policies in this Local Plan.
To meet local need the following site has been allocated for a medical centre and pharmacy and sheltered/extra care housing for the elderly:
- Land off Preston Road, Grimsargh.
Open Space, Sport and Recreational Facilities
Access to open spaces and opportunities for sport and recreation can make an important contribution to the health and wellbeing of residents. The Core Strategy aims to protect existing sport and recreation facilities in Preston unless they are proven to be surplus to requirements or unless improved alternative provision can be made.
The Core Strategy also states that sites for major new facilities will be identified where there is evidence of need. Open space, sport and recreation facilities are protected within Policy EN2 - Protection of Green Infrastructure.
Open Space Study and Playing Pitch Strategy
An Open Space Study and Playing Pitch Strategy have been produced which set minimum standards for provision and identify any deficiencies in provision. The local standards will be applied to all housing developments and are included in policy HS3. The majority of deficiencies can be addressed by seeking new open space, sport and recreation provision from new housing developments.
The Open Space Study assessed the quality and value of all areas of open space in Preston, with the exception of areas of amenity green space and natural/semi-natural green spaces below 0.2 hectares as it is considered that sites below this size have less recreational value. These sites, however, provide valuable visual amenity and will continue to be protected from development.
The quality and value assessment was used to decide which areas of open space should continue to be protected.
The recreational and environmental benefits of allotment gardens are widely accepted.
Allotments provide valuable green space within Preston and this is recognised by the Core Strategy, which aims to help reduce health inequalities by safeguarding and encouraging the role of allotments.
The Central Lancashire authorities have jointly prepared a Supplementary Planning Document on Access to Healthy Food which promotes the creation of more allotments and encourages community food growing opportunities. Allotments are protected within Policy EN2 - Protection of Existing Green Infrastructure.
Community Facilities and Related Uses
The Core Strategy encourages the provision of new community facilities and protection of existing community facilities (such as local shops, meeting places, sports venues, cultural buildings, public houses and places of worship). They act as the focus of community activity and contribute towards community cohesion.
This Local Plan seeks to safeguard existing facilities such as public houses, and neighbourhood convenience shops within Preston, unless they are proven to be no longer viable or relevant to local community need.
To achieve this there are two community facility policies. The first, Policy WB1, protects existing provision and the second, Policy WB2, sets out future provision. The Rural Development SPD provides guidance on the change of use of local community facilities.
Hot Food Takeaways
The government is committed to promoting healthier communities. There is recognition by government, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and Public Health England that the planning system has a contribution to make in driving health improvements and encouraging healthier lifestyles.
Their research highlights the need for Local Authorities to manage the proliferation of fast food outlets as a means of combating the known adverse impact on community health.
Obesity is one of the biggest challenges facing the UK with approximately 1 in 4 adults being obese. There is a clear link between increased body fat and risk of medical conditions including type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart and liver disease.
Research also indicates that once obesity is reached, it is difficult to treat, and an obese adolescent is likely to remain so into adulthood.
In the context of Preston, life expectancy for both men and women in the city is lower than the England average. Whilst the incidence of obesity is slightly lower than the national average the incidence of diabetes is higher. Early deaths through heart disease and stroke and cancer are also significantly higher than the national average. Around 16% of final year primary school children in Preston are obese.
The Core Strategy Policy 23
Health includes a commitment to work with other agencies to manage the location of fast food takeaways, particularly in deprived areas and areas of poor health.
Policy WB3 seeks to develop this further and sets out the means of control over the location of takeaways. The aim of the policy is to influence the food buying behaviour of young people on their journeys to and from secondary school or college, and also at lunchtime (if they are permitted to leave the premises).
The proliferation of fast food outlets is recognised to be linked to the increasing problem of obesity. Research has found that food outlets in close proximity to, and surrounding schools, are an obstacle to secondary school children eating healthily. The most popular time for purchasing food from shops is after school, and many secondary school children may also leave school premises at lunchtime.
The policy operates around a principle that young people of secondary school age normally travel to school independently. Primary school children will more typically be accompanied by a parent, and will not leave the school at lunchtime.
The policies second principle
A second principle of the policy is that a 400 meters restriction buffer is defined around secondary schools and colleges as this represents a reasonable distance given that it broadly represents a 10 minute walk, taking into account physical barriers on any route. T
his is deemed to be the distance that a young person will walk from school and back to purchase fast food.
Where a proposed hot food takeaway is not considered to cause undue detriment to the centre's range of facilities, but falls within 400 meter of a secondary school or college, then planning permission will be subject to a restrictive hours condition preventing counter service before 5pm i.e. after school children have made their way home.
This approach is considered to provide an appropriate balance between protecting the health of young people and enabling businesses to become established.
The 400 metre distance referred to in Policy WB3 will also be applied to any new secondary schools and colleges that are built during the plan period. If any existing secondary schools and colleges close during the plan period, the 400 metre distance around that school or college will no longer be applicable.