Healthy new towns could have wider impact in Oxfordshire, says annual report

Healthy new towns in Oxfordshire could make a difference to the health of not only those living in (or who will be living in) those areas to benefit, but momentum to share this benefit and learning wider.

That’s one of the conclusions drawn in Oxfordshire’s independent Annual Public Health Report, written by Dr Jonathan McWilliam, Oxfordshire County Council’s Director for People.

Builders are currently on site as part of the NHS Healthy New Town Programme at Barton and Bicester. Bicester is taking a whole town approach and similarly Barton a whole area approach as ‘One Barton’. Communities have been fully engaged at an early stage.

Councillor Hilary Hibbert Biles, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health, said: “There are many signs that the penny has dropped and that ‘getting health into planning’ is now a necessity. Our Public Health team’s work with planners at County and District level has increased remarkably and there is a demand for more – which is a really positive development.

“It doesn’t just happen by accident and it needs a sustained and coordinated approach which we are now moving towards.”

The annual report also covers areas such as the demographic challenge, breaking the cycle of disadvantage, mental health and lifestyles and preventing disease before it starts.

It will be presented to Oxfordshire’s Health Overview Scrutiny Committee on September 14. Read it here http://mycouncil.oxfordshire.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=148&MId=5106