Runcorn to become ‘healthy new town’

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An artist's impression of the new complex © Halton Borough Council

An artist’s impression of the new complex © Halton Borough Council

An area in Runcorn has been announced as one of 10 places across England to be supported by the NHS as part of its ‘Healthy New Towns’ initiative.

Halton Lea was chosen from 114 applications for the programme which will aim to help shape the development of certain areas to help test solutions for numerous health challenges of the 21st Century, including obesity, dementia and community cohesion.

The 800 new homes will be constructed next to Runcorn shopping centre.

With the support of the NHS, it will bring together renowned clinicians, designers and technology experts to reimagine how healthcare can be delivered in these places.

Sarah Johnson Griffiths, Consultant of Public Health at Halton Borough Council, spoke to JMU Journalism about the new programme.

She said: “The model, will take a holistic approach to the development of new communities. It considers social cohesion, physical and mental wellbeing and the use of digital technologies to ensure lasting health and wellbeing for its community.

“Halton Lea, Runcorn was chosen as it has the potential to regenerate into a thriving community hub, with new opportunities for social and community activities, integrated housing, health and social care provision.

“At the centre is the proposal is around 800 new homes around Halton Lea, next to Runcorn shopping centre. These include developments at Castle View House, East Lane House and Grosvenor House.”

The unspecified amount of money to build the developments will come from council budgets and private partners rather than the NHS.

Planned adaptations for the housing include easy-to-plug sockets and electronic alarms to warn if a dementia sufferer has failed to switch off a cooker or tap.

Sarah added: “In the coming months and years, we will work with Government to find the solutions to achieve a sustainable model for Halton Lea for the next 10-15 years. These include working with existing leisure and social facilities within Halton Lea to support people to continue to shop and socialise safely and with confidence.”

It is not been confirmed when the developments will begin.

About Ben Cummings, JMU Journalism