Enabling the Creation of Active Environments
'We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us' Sir Winston Churchill.
The same can be said across broader contexts, from buildings to streets to green and blue spaces. We know that providing access to safe, accessible, attractive environments, plays a major role in people choosing to be physically active; that is why, as Active Calderdale, we are fully focused and committed to working with and strengthening the Calderdale planning system, so that as a system, it routinely enables the development of active environments.
Through a series of workshops and meetings, we've been working with our planning system to review how creating active environments is embedded into the planning process. Through this process, we've identified and highlighted opportunities to strengthen our system to achieve and deliver active environments.
Whilst our local development plan and its associated supplementary planning documents are in the process of being adopted and developed, we've worked with the planning system to agree on adopting Building for a Healthy Life (BHL) as the standard for new developments. This guidance sets out criteria for creating new developments that are focussed on delivering active environments.
Urban Design expertise and capacity
Alongside the adoption of BHL standards, it was identified that the current system lacks sufficient capacity and capability in urban design for health and wellbeing. Therefore, as a programme Active Calderdale is investing in increasing the urban design capacity and capability in the planning system.
In the short term, urban design capacity and capability has been brought in to provide expert advice and support on implementing Building for a Healthy Life across four major developments. This expertise will enable the planning service to guide and help developers to adhere to BHL; resulting in the creation of active environments.
The plans currently being developed by Active Calderdale and Calderdale Planning Services, will look to secure increased capacity and capability long term, ensuring the development of active environments is embedded in the system.
Over the coming months, we will monitor and examine the impact these changes have on creating environments that will enable people to be physically active.