Theme Three: Creating Strong and Healthy Communities

  1. The relationship between spatial planning and our health is an important and valuable one. The built and natural environment are key determinants of our health and wellbeing and therefore it is important to recognise the role that planning plays in influencing both our physical and mental health. The Oxfordshire Plan provides an opportunity to ensure that planning policy in Oxfordshire encourages the creation of sustainable, well-designed communities that are safe, socially cohesive and promote active and healthier lifestyles. 

  1. The way in which we plan for and design new developments has an influence not only on our health and wellbeing, but on the choices we make and the sense of safety, community and identity that we feel. Through careful planning and the design of new growth, we can help to deliver a high quality of life in Oxfordshire, improve accessibility and maximise the health and wellbeing of residents.

  1. Overall, Oxfordshire has better than average health outcomes compared to other parts of the country. However, in those communities suffering socio-economic deprivation, ill-health and preventable health issues are more pronounced. The Oxfordshire Plan aims to reduce health inequalities across the county and broaden access to opportunities for social interaction as well as active and healthy lifestyles.

  1. The Oxfordshire Plan could set out a range of policies or principles that will help to plan for and shape communities that are strong, healthy, and cohesive. These could include high standards for developments to adhere to such as ensuring all new developments meet Garden Town and Garden Village standards, implementing healthy place-shaping principals for strategic-scale development, and also requiring Health Impact Assessments (HIAs) to be undertaken for certain new development.

  1. The Oxfordshire Plan recognises that growth increases the demand for leisure, recreation and open space facilities, as well as community facilities including education, health and other services. As a result, it is considered that the Plan should set out policy proposals for these facilities, ensuring that they are accessible, high quality and in appropriate locations to contribute to the quality of life of communities.

  1. The policy proposals set out in this theme will ultimately help the Oxfordshire Plan to create strong and healthy, rooted and inclusive communities across the county, and ensure health and wellbeing is a key consideration in the planning process in Oxfordshire, as well as helping to address inequalities and broaden access to opportunities for all.

Theme Three – Meets the following objectives of the Oxfordshire Plan

No 1. To demonstrate leadership in addressing the climate emergency by significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

No 4. To improve health and wellbeing by enabling independence, encouraging active and healthy lifestyles, facilitating social interaction and creating inclusive and safe communities.

No 7. To meet Oxfordshire’s housing needs, including affordable housing, and to ensure that housing delivery is phased appropriately to support the needs of our communities.

No 8. To ensure that new housing is flexible to meet the varied needs of people through all stages of life.

No 9. To deliver high quality, innovatively designed development that ensures efficient use of land and resources.

No 10. To reduce the need to travel and to support people in making sustainable transport choices by providing inclusive, integrated, safe and convenient pedestrian, cycle and public transport infrastructure linking communities.

Policy Options

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