Whitehill & Bordon is set to become one of the healthiest towns in the UK – after being awarded ‘Healthy New Town’ status.

The town was one of 114 fiercely competing for the sought-after flagship health status, an NHS England programme, supported by Public Health England, which aims to design towns with health and wellbeing at their heart.

By designing towns in this way they will help prevent illness, encourage healthy lifestyle choices and enable people to remain independent to a much later age than at present.

It is anticipated that the Healthy New Towns will be nationally significant and will become the blueprint for how other areas across the country can focus more intensely on health – and by doing this help create healthier vibrant communities elsewhere.

The partnership, consisting of local NHS organisations, public health organisations, local government, voluntary sector partners and developers put forward the proposal for Whitehill & Bordon to be designated as a Healthy New Town.

The team attended a selection event with 15 other shortlisted towns on 3rd February where it presented the proposal to a panel of experts including the Chair of NHS England, Sir Malcolm Grant CBE.

The Healthy New Town status will see various experts advise the partnership on creating a town which is as healthy as possible. This will include advice and support from national policymakers, global leaders in healthy built environments, cutting-edge designers, behavioural economists, leading academics, technologists and other innovators.

One of the aims of being a healthy new town is to speed up the time it takes to build new health facilities.

The support package, which the town will receive as part of the scheme, includes: specialist input into the design of local health and care services, help to bring enterprise and innovators to the table, securing national sponsorship and designing technology-enabled ‘smart’ developments which support digital and mobile health.

The scheme will also support the planning process by providing capacity and expertise at key points, and it will help planners and developers work together to secure the best health facilities for the town – which may involve some funding for partners.

Methods for evaluating the impact on health and wellbeing will be used to assess the benefits to the community.

Whitehill & Bordon is already planning for a state-of-the-art health campus in the new town centre as part of the town’s transformation with 3,350 new homes, 5,500 new jobs, new schools and new facilities.

Some of the facilities the new health campus could include are:

  • An extended primary care centre with GPs, specialist nurses, therapists, hospital consultants and pharmacists
  • Facilities and expertise to deal with minor injuries
  • A dentist
  • A leisure centre
  • Care-ready homes to help people lead independent lives
  • A healthy living centre
  • An education hub to train care professionals

Cllr Ferris Cowper, Leader of East Hampshire District Council, said:

“We are hugely excited to be selected as a Healthy New Town because this enables us to extend our ambitious green town vision so that Whitehill & Bordon is not only a green town but a green and healthy town.

“We are 100% committed to providing a state-of-the-art health campus in the new town centre – as well as making absolutely sure that health and wellbeing are at the heart of how the new development is designed.

“Our aim is to create a town where it makes it easy to make healthy choices and prevent illness so that this reduces the need for care and delivers care more effectively and efficiently when it is needed.”

Councillor Roy Perry, Leader of Hampshire County Council, said:

“We look forward to working with partners to provide health and wellbeing services and facilities, which will be a key factor in the successful regeneration of Whitehill & Bordon.

“The health and wellbeing of any community is influenced by many factors, from how transport and infrastructure are set out to allow people to lead active lives, healthy eating habits formed in primary school, or the roll out of dementia friendly towns which we have been implementing across Hampshire.

“As well as being responsible for public health and adult social care, the County Council is well positioned to fulfil its place-shaping role in the regeneration of Whitehill & Bordon.

“This designation as a Healthy New Town will help us find new and effective ways to work within the local community to help people stay healthy and well, and live independent lives for longer.

“To achieve this, we are exploring with our partners how we can best use the County Council’s services and resources to achieve real improvements for residents, and see how these can also be applied elsewhere in Hampshire.”

Dr Anthony Leung, a Whitehill & Bordon GP who was instrumental in the success of the Healthy New Town bid, said:

“Healthy New Town status will bring the political will, notice and support to Whitehill & Bordon. For so long now, residents have had to fight for attention and investment in healthcare. It is a rare opportunity to build in not only new facilities, but to design health into the core fabric of the new town.

“Freed from legacy constraints, we can work out how best to deliver services that our population needs. We have already been leading the way with bringing specialists into local surgeries so patients can be seen sooner and closer to home. We are working hard to improve access, figure out how we can use technology, and how we build strong communities that promote health and wellbeing.

“We will work other sectors such as education, social care, industry, voluntary groups, academia, research, and of course, patients, in designing this future and to secure commitment from government, payors and other providers. We want Whitehill & Bordon to be known for where healthcare innovation and excellence is to be found.”

Sara Tiller, Chief Development Officer for NHS south Eastern Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group and the CCG’s Chase project director, said:

“We are absolutely delighted by this fantastic news.

“It gives us a platform for moving forward to deliver our long-term goal of providing the local NHS services that the people of Whitehill & Bordon have told us they want and need at the heart of their community.

“The success of this bid clearly shows that our vision for the future health care needs of the local population – which has been worked up over a period of years with key local stakeholders – is now shared and reflected at a national level. This will really help put Whitehill & Bordon on the map.”

James Child, project lead for the Whitehill & Bordon Regeneration Company, a 50:50 joint venture between Dorchester Regeneration and Taylor Wimpey, says:

“The excitement of the redevelopment taking place at Whitehill & Bordon is that we are in the privileged position of building an entire new town centre and social infrastructure for the whole town from scratch. This means that we can mould everything, from the style of new housing on offer, to the public facilities available. As the Development Partner appointed on behalf of the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, we have a responsibility to create the best possible neighbourhoods and make them sustainable in every way we can, both environmentally and socially.

“Being part of the NHS and Public Health England’s ‘Healthy New Town’ scheme gives us the opportunity to work with a team of specialists that we would otherwise not have had such open access to. It means we can make Whitehill & Bordon a model for the future delivery of healthcare and social services and can design in to our plans new concepts, new technologies and new ways of thinking. It will mean not simply building new hospitals, doctors surgeries or healthcare facilities, but establishing a new, forward thinking, integrated, town wide healthcare infrastructure.

“Our desire is for Whitehill & Bordon to be a destination in its own right and a place where people enjoy living and working. To achieve this we will create a town which has social cohesion at its heart and makes it easy for people to live a healthy and active lifestyle. As a nation our lifestyles have changed considerably and one of the interesting opportunities as part of the regeneration of a former Barracks site is adapting those existing facilities and transforming them to meet modern lifestyles. The Healthy New Town scheme provides us with additional resources to support our drive to influence design and build facilities that are specifically tailored to new methods of care, whilst enhancing and complimenting the services that already exist.

“The regeneration of Whitehill & Bordon was already one of the most ambitious and exciting redevelopment projects underway in the UK. Inclusion in the Healthy New Town scheme adds to the prominence of the project and elevates it further as part of the national agenda, whilst ensuring the design and delivery remains locally driven.”

David Lee, Chairman of the Patient Participation Group for Forest Surgery in Whitehill & Bordon, said:

“I was delighted to be able to contribute on behalf of the people and patients of the town to the successful presentation to NHS England on behalf of the Whitehill & Bordon Healthy New Town project.

“Our success has resulted in an association with NHS England which should bring many benefits to our project. We should gain extensively, not only from expertise from within NHS England, but also from its many experienced contacts who have been involved, and are involved, with other healthy projects.

“Undoubtedly, this association brings a major title and sponsor ‘NHS England’ to our project which will demonstrate to everyone that Whitehill & Bordon’s regeneration has a badge of approval and is aiming to be one of the healthiest in the country.”

The bid was submitted in partnership by: Whitehill & Bordon Regeneration Partnership, East Hampshire District Council, NHS South Eastern Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Hampshire County Council, Whitehill & Bordon Regeneration Company, Local GPs, Defence Infrastructure Organisation, Radian, Wessex Academic Health Science Network, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, NHS Property Services, Homes and Communities Agency, Royal Society for Public Health, Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership and Community First HEH.

Whitehill & Bordon set to be one of the healthiest towns in UK