The Housing White Paper is not just a document for planners in Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) and housebuilders. The wider implications of its proposals for new and changes to existing policies are not confined to just housing policies, housing numbers and housebuilding. It contains proposals that practitioners from the public health and healthcare sector should be aware of, and in time, discuss these changes with local partners and assess implications for existing policies and relationships with planners. It should be read in conjunction to proposed changes to primary planning legislation set out in the Neighbourhood Planning Bill, currently progressing through the parliamentary process.

For all the emerging advice and emphasis to get health professionals more involved in 'upstream' processes and activities in relation to planning and the built environment, knowing what is in the Housing White Paper and other planning proposals in the pipeline is as upstream as it can get. Further details of proposed changes in the form of revisions to planning legislation and the National Planning Policy Framework will stem from the White Paper, so it is important health professionals have their say now. 

Produced as part of TCPA’s ‘Reuniting Health with Planning’ initiative’s objective to help raise aware of key issues, this briefing should help practitioners understand the implications of selected proposals set out in the Housing White Paper for planning for health, while we await further details of these proposals in future Government consultation. There are many opportunities but also threats in the Housing White Paper for healthy planning as this briefing highlights with changes to the National Planning Policy Framework and development of guidance. These include:

  • Local plans and healthcare provision as a strategic priority
  • Duty to cooperate in plan-making on health
  • Local and neighbourhood plans on design elements
  • Implications for health on density and space standards
  • Guidance on ageing population
  • Digital infrastructure and healthcare settings
  • Increasing planning capacity to engage health
  • Adapting to climate change impacts. 

Overall, the White Paper re-emphasises responsibilities for Local Authorities’ to get local planning policies in place which can help drive housing delivery, for developers to promptly build the developments they were given planning permission for, and most importantly for health professionals to recognise the significance of the local and neighbourhood planning by getting involved in the process with planners and developers to secure the right local health outcomes and necessary levels of healthcare investment.

Download the full health briefing on the Housing White Paper here. 

For information about TCPA's planning for health activities and information go here