Draft Gloucester City Plan 2016 - 2031

Draft Gloucester City Plan

D: Health and Wellbeing

D: Health and Wellbeing

Policies in this section:

  • Policy D1: Active design
  • Policy D2: Outdoor space
  • Policy D3: Accessibility
  • Policy D4: Allotments
  • Policy D5: Open space
  • Policy D6: Provision of playing pitches in new development
  • Policy D7: Protection of open space and playing fields
  • Policy D8: Landscape
  • Policy D9: Community facilities
  • Policy D10: Mobile catering units
  • Policy D11: Air Quality
  • Policy D12: Noise
  • Policy D13: Pollution
  • Policy D14: Contamination
  • Policy D15: Cordon Sanitaire
  • Policy D16: Suicide Prevention

Key issues:

Health and Wellbeing covers a wide range of issues, all of which impact on the quality of life for the City’s residents and visitors. The City faces a number of health challenges and inequalities in which planning and place making has an important role to play. The level of these health challenges is significant and it is of the utmost importance that the GCP includes meaningful policies that can help to influence positive future change.

The health and wellbeing of the City’s residents should be a consideration in all policy making and in the determination of planning applications.

Access to quality built and natural environment undoubtedly impacts the health and wellbeing of those people who live or work in that place. Planning has an important role to play in delivering places and spaces that provide the best opportunities for people to make positive choices.

A healthy community is a good place to grow up and grow old in. It is one which supports healthy behaviours and supports reductions in health inequalities. It should enhance the physical and mental health of the community and, where appropriate, encourage:

  • Active healthy lifestyles that are made easy through the pattern of development, good urban design, good access to local services and facilities; green open space and safe places for active play and food growing, and is accessible by walking and cycling and public transport.
  • The creation of healthy living environments for people of all ages which supports social interaction. It meets the needs of children and young people to grow and develop, as well as being adaptable to the needs of an increasingly elderly population and those with dementia and other sensory or mobility impairments.

A background topic paper on Health and Wellbeing can be found on the council’s website by visiting www.gloucester.gov.uk/cityplan

Key evidence:

  • Active Planning Toolkit 2 – Promoting and creating built or natural environments that encourage and support physical activity, Gloucestershire NHS, February 2014
  • Future of Ageing, Government Office for Science Published 4th November 2013, updated 28th September 2015
  • Public Health England Adult Weight Data Factsheet, October 2015
  • World Health Organisation – Non-communicable disease Fact sheet, January 2015
  • Public Health England Gloucester District Health Profile, June 2015
  • Gloucestershire Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2012 – 2032 Fit for the Future, Gloucestershire Health and Wellbeing Board
  • Gloucestershire Suicide Prevention Strategy, Gloucestershire County Council and Partners, July 2015
  • Understanding Gloucestershire - A Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA), Gloucestershire County Council and Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, October 2015 
  • Planning Healthier Places – report from the reuniting health with planning project, PHE and Town and Country Planning Association, November 2013
  • Planning Healthy Weight Environments, PHE and Town and County Planning Association, December 2014
  • Obesity and the Environment: Increasing Physical Activity and Active Travel, PHE and the Local Government Association, November 2013
  • Obesity and the Environment: Regulating the Growth of Fast Food Outlets, PHE, Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, Local Government Association, March 2014
  • Improving Access to Green Space, PHE, UCL Institute of Health Equity, September 2014
  • Everybody Active, Every Day – An Evidence-Based Approach to Physical Activity, PHE, September 2014
  • Everybody Active, Every Day – What Works – The Evidence, PHE, October 2014
  • Preventing Suicide in England, A cross-government outcomes strategy to save lives, HM Government Best Practice Guide, September 2012
  • Gloucester’s Cultural Vision and Strategy 2016 – 2026, Gloucester City Council, 2016
  • Gloucestershire’s Prevention and Self-Care Plan: Scaling up prevention through empowering individuals and enabling active communities, Gloucestershire County Council, Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, NHS Trust,  2016

Relevant National Planning Policy Framework paragraphs:

  • 56 to 68 and 69 to 78

Relevant policies from the JCS:

  • SD.15 Health and Environmental Quality

JCS strategic objectives met:

  • Strategic Objective 4 – Conserving and enhancing the environment
  • Strategic Objective 5 – Delivering excellent design in new developments
  • Strategic Objective 7 – Promoting sustainable transport
  • Strategic Objective 9 – Promoting healthy communities

Key City Plan principles met:

  •  1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14

Health and wellbeing policies

Major planning applications will need to be accompanied by a Health Impact Assessment. The applicant will also be required to submit supporting information to demonstrate how the development positively contributes to health and wellbeing and the 10 principles of Active Design checklist developed Sport England and supported by Public Health England.https://www.sportengland.org/media/3426/spe003-active-design-published-october-2015-email-2.pdf

A Health Impact Assessment promotes sustainable development that supports the creation of strong, vibrant and healthy communities, by:

  • Demonstrating that health impacts have been properly considered when preparing, evaluating and determining development proposals.
  • Ensuring developments contribute to the creation of a strong, healthy and just society.
  • Helping applicants to demonstrate that they have worked closely with those directly affected by their proposals to evolve designs that take account of the views of the community.
  • Identifying and highlighting any beneficial impacts on health and wellbeing of a particular development scheme.
  • Identifying and taking action to minimise any negative impacts on health and wellbeing of a particular development scheme.

Policy D1: Active design

Streets and public areas should be designed to allow ease of movement for pedestrians and cyclists, and designed in such a way that they encourage walking to local amenities and services, and are well connected to surrounding area.

The location, accessibility, layout and design of developments all affect the extent to which people are able to make healthy choices and lead active lives. Active design promotes healthy lifestyles that are made easy through the pattern of development, good urban design, good access to local services and facilities, good levels of connectivity; green open space and safe places for active play and food growing, and is accessible by walking, cycling and public transport.

Accessibility and walking distances shall be measured in accordance with the guidance provided in Manual for Gloucestershire Streets 4th Edition and any subsequent amendments.

Policy D2: Outdoor space

Outdoor amenity space and garden space should be retained or provided at a level that reflects the character of the area and the scale of the development.

Gardens and amenity space have an important role to play in health and the creation of a sense of wellbeing. Gardens and amenity space should be of a size that reflects the character of the area and be fit for purpose for the scale of the development. This is in addition to the provision of public open space.

Policy D3: Accessibility

Development proposals should meet the highest standards of accessible and inclusive design by demonstrating that they meet the following principles:

  1. Can be used safely, easily and with dignity by all regardless of disability, age, gender, ethnicity or economic circumstances
  2. Are convenient and welcoming with no disabling barriers, so everyone can use them independently without undue effort, separation or special treatment
  3. Are flexible and responsive taking account of what different people say they need and want, so people can use them in different ways
  4. Are realistic, offering more than one solution to help balance everyone’s needs, recognising that one solution may not work for all
  5. Are dementia friendly.

Good design should reflect the diversity of people who use it and not impose barriers of any kind. People with both physical and learning disabilities in our community should be able to access the places everyone else takes for granted. Development proposals should ensure that the needs of people with all types of mobility difficulties, both physical and sensory, are taken into account when considering the design of development proposals. This includes extensions to all buildings particularly those used by the general public such as shops and community facilities.

With an increasing ageing population and a steady rise in the number of people with dementia it is important to ensure that new development is dementia friendly. The design of the environment can make a difference to levels of independence and a person’s ability to access and negotiate the built environment. Applicants are advised to refer to the key design features set out in “At a Glance: a Checklist for Developing Dementia Friendly Communities” Housing LIN, 2012


The City Council will actively encourage developers to provide enhanced accessible toilets within schemes. Especially in developments that are accessed by the public. Standard accessible toilets do not meet the needs of all people with a disability. This reduces the accessibility of the City and its enjoyment for some of our residents and visitors. The Council endorsed the use of “Changing Places: the practical guide” which can be found at http://www.changing-places.org/install_a_toilet.aspx

Policy D4: Allotments

In housing developments of 30 or more dwellings, the Council will require the provision of a fully serviced allotment site to a standard of 0.2 hectares (1/2 acre) per 1,000 population. Off site financial contribution will be acceptable where on-site provision is not feasible.

Development involving the loss of part or all of an existing allotment site will only be permitted where:

  1. The loss of the site would not result in unmet demand for allotments within a reasonable walking distance (1.2km); and
  2. Replacement provision is made of at least equivalent size and quality, in a convenient and accessible location to serve the existing plot holders; or
  3. Existing allotment sites within the City and their management will be enhanced by compensatory measures secured by a planning obligation.

Allotments have a number of benefits. They offer an economic, healthy and sustainable way of growing produce and provide vital habitats for wildlife and plants. Furthermore, they promote healthier lifestyles through regular exercise and promote mental health and wellbeing through stress reduction and purposeful activity.

Allotments are particularly important where residents do not have a suitably sized garden to offer a cultivable plot. Therefore the Council will seek in new residential development of 30 or more dwellings, a minimum of 0.2 hectares per 1,000 population, or equivalent financial contribution towards off-site provision or enhancement, where on site provision is not feasible.

This requirement is in addition to the Public Open Space requirement.

Policy D5: Open Space

The Council will expect all residential development and major employment development to provide an appropriate amount of Public Open Space in accordance with the City Council’s current Public Open Space Standards.

For larger residential schemes of 30 or more dwellings, public open space will be required on-site.

For smaller residential schemes where the provision of public open space on-site is not feasible, a financial payment will be sought to improve and enhance existing public open space or to create new public open space within the locality.

Open space should be useable, accessible, well located, appropriately equipped and designed, overlooked by adjoining properties and take account of community safety issues.

An appropriate commuted sum will be sought from developers to cover future maintenance costs of public open space in new developments. This will be a matter for negotiation.

Gloucester City Council defines public open space as the following:

‘Open Space is that which is available for sport, active recreation, or children’s play, which is of a suitable size and nature for its intended purpose, and safely and freely available to the general public’.

The Council’s 2014 ‘Open Space Strategy’ identifies that Gloucester is suffering from a deficiency in public open space. Gloucester’s deficiency in public open space is not evenly distributed, both in terms of quality and quantity. There is for example a notable lack of open space in some areas, such as Inner Barton and Quedgeley, whilst some other areas have relatively high quantities of public open space, but quality and access to this space are not at an acceptable standard.

The strategy identifies and sets a quantity standard for open space provision across the city of 2.8ha per 1000 population. However, because open space is not distributed evenly, there are six city wards where there is a significant shortfall in terms of the adopted standard:

  • Barton & Tredworth (0.24ha/1000)
  • Moreland (1.04ha/1000)
  • Quedgeley Severn Vale (1.08ha/1000)
  • Tuffley (1.19ha/1000)
  • Hucclecote (1.54ha/1000)
  • Kingsholm & Wotton (1.74ha/1000)

Consideration should also to be given to Policy F5: Green Infrastructure to ensure connectivity between open spaces and the wider Green Infrastructure network.

Policy D6: Provision of playing pitches in new development

All new developments will be expected to provide for the sporting needs arising from the residents of that development, in accordance with the adopted Gloucester Playing Pitch Strategy (2015).Where possible, this should be provided for onsite.Alternatively, a financial contribution will be required for the improvements of facilities elsewhere in the City.

The Council has an up-to-date Playing Pitch Strategy (PPS), prepared in accordance of Sport England guidance and which satisfies paragraphs 73 and 74 of the NPPF.

The PPS shows that there is a shortage of playing pitches to provide for demand both now and in the future.Therefore all pitches are subject to protection unless one of the five Sport England exception tests can be satisfied.

The PPS also shows that new provision is needed in the city and it is necessary for provision / contributions to be made through development sites.

Policy D7: Protection of open space and playing fields

There is a general presumption against the loss of existing and proposed open space including playing fields unless it can be demonstrated that:

  1. There is no longer a demand or prospect of demand for the recreational use of the site and a deficiency would not be created in the short term or long term through its loss for recreational use; or
  2. The proposed development is ancillary to the principal use of the site as a playing field or playing fields, and does not affect the quantity or quality of pitches or adversely affect their use; or
    (Typical types of development that may meet with this exception include pavilions, changing rooms and sports lighting which improve the sporting usage of the site).
  3. Suitable alternative provision of equivalent or greater recreational or community benefit is made in an easily accessible location well served by a range of sustainable transport modes; or
  4. It can be demonstrated that it is an area or part area of poor quality which is unsuitable for recreation and compensatory enhancements to existing public open space in the locality are implemented; or
  5. The playing field or playing fields, which would be lost as a result of the proposed development, would be replaced by a playing field or playing fields of an equivalent or better quality and of equivalent or greater quantity, in a suitable location and subject to equivalent or better management arrangements, prior to the commencement of development.
  6. The redevelopment of a small part of the site will secure the retention and improvement of the remainder (to be secured through a Section 106 legal agreement); or
  7. The proposed development is for an indoor or outdoor sports facility, the provision of which would be of sufficient benefit to the development of sport as to outweigh the detriment caused by the loss of the playing field or playing fields’.

Green open spaces in cities are increasingly being recognised as important land uses in promoting the quality of life of urban living. Open space, both public and privately owned, contributes to the health of residents, adds aesthetic and visual amenity to the vitality of the built environment and provides opportunities for passive and formal recreational pursuits whilst also providing valuable habitats for wildlife in the City.

The Council is therefore committed to protecting existing provision, bringing back into public use playing pitches that have been taken out of the supply and encouraging greater community access to playing fields currently either privately owned or operated or in education of ownership.

Policy D8: Community facilities

Planning permission for the redevelopment or change of use of community facilities will be permitted only when the following can be clearly demonstrated:

  1. It is no longer viable to run the property as a community facility, and;
  2. The facility has been appropriately and positively marketed for a reasonable period and no reasonable offers have been received, and;
  3. An alternative replacement community facility will be provided on part or all of the site, or within reasonable walking distance of the site unless it can be demonstrated there is a lack of demand, a surplus of community facilities providing the same offer in the locality, and no other organisation is willing to acquire the site and continue its use as a community facility..  The size and nature of any replacement facility will be determined through evidence of extensive engagement with the community and the Council’s Partnership and Engagement team to ensure that the replacement facility meets the needs of the community that it will serve and is fit for purpose.

Community facilities are considered to be a necessary component in supporting strong, vibrant and healthy communities. It is important that the community facilities which reflects the community’s needs and supports its health, social and cultural wellbeing are protected or provided as appropriate. As such the Council will seek to protect against the loss of community facilities.

Community facilities can include public houses, community centres, sports venues, meeting places, cultural buildings and places of worship. Where applications for a change of use or redevelopment of a community facility are received, the Council will require evidence that:

a) a comprehensive sustained marketing campaign (agreed in advance by the Council) has been undertaken using an agreed realistic valuation of the premises;

b) the marketing campaign has run for a period of at least twelve months before the planning application is submitted;

c) if marketing has been based wholly or partly on an alternative community or employment use, there has been prior discussion with the Council on the principle of the proposal;

d) the community facility has been offered for sale locally, and in the region, in appropriate publications and through specialised agents;

e) it can be demonstrated that the community facility is not financially viable; in order to determine if this is the case, the Council will require submission of accounts for the last three full years in which the facility was operating as a full-time business.

Policy D9: Mobile catering units

Proposals for mobile catering units will be supported where the following criteria are met:

  1. The design of the mobile catering unit would not have a significant adverse impact on the visual amenity of the area;
  2. The proposal would not have a significantly adverse impact on neighbouring properties and uses within a reasonable distance of the proposed location in terms of noise, traffic disturbance, odour, litter, light or hours of operation;
  3. The proposal would not have a severe impact on the surrounding highway network, traffic safety or create unacceptable parking issues;
  4. The proposal incorporates adequate waste storage and disposal facilities; and
  5. Consideration will be given to any positive health impacts provided by the range of food and drink available to customers, and the proposed location of the facility.

Note: The council will expect mobile catering units to be removed from the site following each day of trading, when located on public land.

The council consider that there is a need to maintain a balance in the number of mobile catering units available for the public against permanent hot food establishments. Issues such as visual and residential amenity, transport impacts, possible pollution issues and health issues generally also need to be considered.

The permanent and regular stationing of a mobile catering normally requires planning permission because of the change of use of the land on which the unit is situated.

Although applicants for mobile catering units tend to apply for 7 days a week they do not always use this allowance. This note to the proposed interim policy will help prevent the units being parked in position 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, which sometimes occurs. This would benefit the visual amenities of the area and availability of on street parking at non trading times.

Policy D10: Air quality

Where there is a localised source of air pollution, buildings should be designed and sited to reduce exposure to air pollutants.

Development proposals will ensure that development is not contributing to poor air quality and provide air quality assessments where appropriate.

Air pollution is the result of emissions, such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and sulphur dioxide, being released into the atmosphere. The impact of dust, fumes and odour on air quality also need to be considered. The main sources of emissions are transport, combustion and industrial processes. Air pollution has been linked to health problems such as asthma and other respiratory diseases, and damage to the surrounding environment.

There are three Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) in the city: Barton Street AQMA, Priory Road AQMA, Painswick Road AQMA. Opportunities shall be taken to improve the AQMAs wherever possible.

Policy D11: Noise

Proposals to locate development that is likely to generate unacceptable noise levels close to noise sensitive uses will not normally be permitted.

Proposals to locate noise sensitive development in areas with existing high levels of noise will not normally be permitted. Mitigation of noise impacts through design, layout, and insulation will be expected where appropriate.

Noise can impact on mental health, undermine quality of life and affect natural habitats. This includes persistent and intermittent noises, from service plant on buildings, road traffic, sound systems, construction and domestic noise. The separation of noise sensitive development such as residential, health and educational uses from noise generating sources can reduce the effects of noise on those uses. Noise generating sources within the city include transport routes, commerce, sport, recreation and other leisure time activities. Proposals for noise sensitive development where it is affected by noise generating sources will not be permitted unless satisfactory mitigation measures can be demonstrated.

Policy D12: Pollution

Development that may be liable to cause pollution of water, air or soil, or pollution through noise, dust, vibration, light, heat or radiation will only be permitted if the quality and enjoyment of the environment would not be unduly damaged or put at risk.

Particular attention will be given to development of potentially polluting uses in close proximity to sensitive uses such as schools, hospitals, housing or offices. Development of sensitive uses such as schools, hospitals, houses and offices will not be permitted where they would be adversely affected by existing polluting uses.

Pollution includes all manner of emissions that can cause harm to people and the environment generally. The role of the planning system is to ensure that potentially polluting new development is acceptable in its location. It is for other relevant bodies including our Environmental Health Section to actually control emissions. Nevertheless, new development should be designed to ensure that it does not lead to unacceptable emissions of pollutants, which may cause health or environmental problems and then has to be controlled by our Environmental Health Section or other agencies. This is particularly relevant where a potentially polluting use is proposed next to a sensitive site (schools, hospitals etc.) It is also incumbent upon the authority to ensure that these potentially sensitive uses are not located near to existing sources of pollution.

Policy D13: Contamination

Proposals on land which may be contaminated should be accompanied by an investigation to establish the level of contamination in the soil and/or groundwater/surface waters and identify appropriate mitigation. Development which could adversely affect the quality of groundwater will not be permitted.

A full assessment of potential hazards and the measures necessary to counter these will be required before applications are determined. Developers should consult the Environment Agency and the City Council’s Environmental Health Section prior to submitting a planning application to establish the need for studies to be undertaken into potential effects on water resources and other receptors. Any subsequent planning application will be referred to the Environment Agency for their comments.

Policy D14: Cordon Sanitaire

Development likely to be adversely affected by smell from Netheridge Sewage Works, within the constraint areas defined on the proposals map, will not be permitted.

Severn Trent Water Limited is responsible for sewerage and sewage disposal. They operate Netheridge sewage disposal works south of Hempsted. The fields adjoining Netheridge are used for sludge disposal that, in addition to the works itself, create unavoidable smell problems. In order to reasonably prevent development that would be adversely affected by smell, a cordon sanitaire area is shown on the proposals map within which development will not generally be permitted.

The cordon does not represent the absolute limit of the area where smells can be detected, but are drawn so as not unreasonably to constrain development in the existing built-up area.

Policy D15: Suicide prevention

On buildings of 4 or more storeys management and/or mitigation measures should be taken to help prevent suicide. Mitigation measures are well designed and incorporated into the design of the building.

Suicide is a national and local health priority. In Gloucestershire suicide kills approximately 60-67 people a year.[1] When compared to deaths from road traffic accidents, which were 29 in 2014[2], suicide is responsible for twice as many deaths. Whilst not all suicide can be prevented through mitigation measures in the urban environment, it is the Council’s responsibility to do all that in can to keep people safe. In planning, a simple thing that can be done is to make sure that where there is public access to tall buildings, that these buildings are designed in a way that restricts the access or the possibility of jumping or falling from the upper floors. This accords with the government’s objective to reduce access to the means of suicide. Retrofitting schemes can be expensive, cumbersome and poorly designed, as such it is considered appropriate to deal with this issue from the outset to ensure well-designed buildings.

[1]  Gloucestershire Suicide Prevention Strategy, July 2015, Gloucestershire County Council and Partners.

[2]  Road Safety Gloucestershire, 2014, Gloucestershire County Council.