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NHS England to launch healthy towns network

NHS England has called on housing developers to help create a national network, which will put healthy living at the heart of home building.

The healthcare organisation will be inviting developers and associations later this month to join the network, which will build on the success of the Healthy New Towns Programme.

NHS England hopes the new network can apply the lessons learned from the first schemes in the programme to every new housing development in the country.

The programme was originally launched with Public Health England in 2016 to explore new ways of tackling health and care challenges.

There are currently 10 sites already taking part in the Healthy New Towns scheme, including Halton in Cheshire, which was featured by New Start last year.

The London-based urban design firm, Citiesmode won an international competition in August to help transform Halton in Cheshire into a ‘healthy new town’.

It put forward its own set of project ideas, many of which will be taken forward in a development masterplan to help transform Halton.

A final masterplan is expected to be published in the next few weeks.

The new network will also work with local NHS hospitals, local authorities and the voluntary sector to help prioritise healthy living schemes.

It will also test new ideas, such as fitness adventure trails and smart technology to help elderly residents stay in their own homes.

‘The Healthy New Towns programme has proved more popular than anyone could have predicted, uniting the NHS, house builders and local councils behind the goal of making us healthier and happier as a nation,’ said NHS England’s clinical director for obesity and diabetes, Professor Jonathan Valabhji.

‘Currently, the demand to be part of the programme is outstripping supply, so as the NHS turns 70, we are launching a new network of partners to ensure the great work done so far can have an even greater impact across the country, and for years to come.’

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