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Free bikes for residents suggested by NHS competition winner

Words: Laura Edgar

Planning consultancy Citiesmode has won an NHS England challenge to design a healthy new town and rethink people’s lifestyles, with free bikes for residents incorporated into its plan.

The Healthy New Towns programme considers how health and well-being could be designed into the heart of urban design and planning.

It was launched in March 2016, with the NHS saying it wanted to bring together clinicians, designers and technology experts to reimagine how healthcare can be delivered by joining up the design of the built environment with modern health and care services.

Ten sites were announced as part of the programme, including Halton in Cheshire. This was selected as the focus site for the competition.

London-based Citiesmode created Halton Connected. It includes plans for an urban obstacle course connecting public gym equipment and sprinting tracks marked out on safe pavements; developers providing housebuyers and tenants with free bikes to cut car use and promote cycling; and designs for multigenerational living bringing care for the elderly and children under one roof.

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said: “If there’s to be a much-needed wave of new housebuilding across England, let’s ‘design-in’ health from the start. These practical designs for Halton point the way, uniting young and old in in thinking through the sort of communities we want for the future.”

Sara Dilmamode, director of Citiesmode, said the company wants “to work with NHS England and its delivery partners to ensure that health-related practices are placed at the heart of planning”.

Philip Liu, project lead at Citiesmode, added: “Using our winning entry as a springboard, we are now keen to explore how the ideas contained within this could be implemented in different communities across the UK and internationally.”

The judges came from NHS England, the local clinical commissioning group, Halton Borough Council, and Warrington and Halton Hospitals Trust, and selected Citiesmode’s bid out of 34 shortlisted entries across the world, including from the United States, Spain, India and Japan.

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Image credit | iStock