New residential schemes encouraging people to exercise are at the heart of design guidelines backed by government housing accelerator Homes England.

 

Building for a Healthy Life covers the priorities for fitter stronger communities through travelling on foot or by bike or public transport and improving air quality by cutting emissions.

 

Co-author and Design for Homes chief executive David Birkbeck said: “A lot of developments don’t come with useable footways or if they do you get to a major road and it’s then intimidating.”

He said the new guidelines would look at how footways would connect to existing development and lead to town centres.

NHS England commissioned the new guidelines – an extension of the Building for Life 12 ones which Homes England requires developers to use as part of the tender process.

 

“Its general focus has not changed significantly, other than to promote the idea of walking and cycling more short journeys. But the use of images helps explain the desired for outcomes and help everybody identify shared objectives,” said Mr Birkbeck.

 

The new guidelines use the same 12-point structure, with examples of good practice signposted as a green light and bad practice as a red light. The authors have said the guidance is intended to prompt discussion rather be a tick-box exercise.

 

New guidelines open the door to better biodiversity

 

Nearly a half of local authorities have adopted Building for Life 12 into their local plans and it’s hoped they will switch from the existing guidelines to the new ones.

 

Homes England board member and director of the architecture firm, dRMM Sadie Morgan said: “The new design guidance is a big step forward in supporting placemaking for healthier, more integrated communities where people want to live and spend time together.”

 

Mr Birkbeck said the guidelines would help developers show biodiversity gain in planning applications which they must do when the environment act becomes law later this year.

 

Trees, hedgerows and general greening of the built environment with water features are regarded as some of the best ways to achieve this.

 

Brokers Hank Zarihs Associates said property development lenders saw the new guidelines and the free design consultancy advice as particularly helpful for smaller SME builders.

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