Public health and spatial planning

The health and wellbeing of individuals and communities is affected by a wide range of factors including the built and natural environments within which people live, work and play.

Spatial planning and transport planning can influence these environments to make a positive contribution to a number of public health issues such as air quality, physical inactivity, social isolation, and obesity.

Planning policy

The National Planning Policy Framework (external link) states that planning policies should "enable and support healthy lifestyles, especially where this would address identified local health and well-being needs – for example through the provision of safe and accessible green infrastructure, sports facilities, local shops, access to healthier food, allotments and layouts that encourage walking and cycling."

Lancashire County Council's Director of Public Health and Wellbeing, through the Health Equity, Welfare and Partnerships Service, is working with Lancashire's local planning authorities (which sit within district councils) and Lancashire County Council Transport planners to address local health issues through the provision of relevant evidence and advice.

We support the local planning authorities by putting forward public health advice throughout local plan consultations and attendance at local plan hearings to give evidence and justification for our recommendations.

Public health advice

We have worked alongside the Lancashire Director of Public Health and Wellbeing to produce a number of Advisory Notes that examine and provide evidence on how planning policies can help address specific health and wellbeing issues We have advisory notes on the following topics:

  • Hot Food Takeaways and Spatial Planning (PDF 3.19 MB) – concerned with the increasing number of fast-food outlets across Lancashire and the impact that widespread access to unhealthy food is having on our obesity levels, this advisory note looks to put restrictions on the establishment of new hot food takeaway venues in specified areas.
  • Active Design and Spatial Planning (PDF 1 MB) – promotes the Active Design Principles, which were developed by Sport England and Public Health England with the intention of creating environments that enable and encourage physical activity.
  • Healthy High Streets Discussion Paper (PDF 2 MB) – Aims to promote discussion to explore how communities, businesses, policy makers, and others can collectively work towards creating healthier high streets across Lancashire, highlighting evidence that is available to support them in doing so.
  • Adaptable M4(2) Homes (PDF 2.69 MB) – Examines how local planning authorities can help to ensure accessible, sustainable, and lifelong communities by increasing the minimum adaptability standard of new build houses within Lancashire. It outlines the increasing need for adaptable homes at all levels of society and provides examples of similar policies elsewhere in the country.