13. Inclusive, Safe and Healthy Communities
13.1 Meeting the diverse needs of all people in existing and future communities is important in promoting personal well-being, social cohesion and inclusion, and creating equal opportunities for all citizens. It is therefore particularly important to ensure that everyone is able to enjoy equal opportunities in community life including access to a healthy lifestyle and sense of well-being. Much can be done to deliver inclusive, safe and healthy communities through the Local Plan by controlling the location and design of development to provide physical access for all groups to the district’s assets in both the built and natural environment.
13.2 Compared with other areas in Warwickshire, Warwick District (as a whole) has a healthy population with higher than average life expectancy and lower levels of health deprivation and obesity. However, this hides the fact that the gap in life expectancy between the least and most deprived areas of the District is over five years for men. Similarly, levels of recorded crime across the District are low in comparison to other areas, although the fear of crime and anti-social behaviour is an issue in some communities. The Local Plan will have to support wider initiatives to maintain and improve both the health and safety of the local population.
13.3 Overall, levels of deprivation in the District are low with the majority of communities within the 50% least deprived areas nationally, and some communities within the top 5% least deprived areas across the country. However, like many areas, there are pockets of deprivation and particular deprivation issues around access to housing and services across a wide area of the District which the Local Plan must help address through narrowing the gaps between affluent and deprived areas.
13.4 Levels of crime and disorder are important factors in determining where people want to live. Everyone should be able to feel safe in their surroundings as this is a key contributor to people’s quality of life and a fundamental element of community cohesion. Addressing crime and antisocial behaviour can also reduce social inequalities and support the economic regeneration of areas.
13.5 Another important factor that can support healthy lifestyles is ensuring that sufficient land is made available to all for play, sport and recreation. Good access to open space can also facilitate social inclusion and provide educational opportunities. Open space can also play an important part in urban regeneration by enhancing the environment, supporting nature conservation, and improving air quality. For further details see Green Infrastructure - section 15 .
Relevant Issue & Strategic Objectives
- Crime and the fear of crime, particularly in town centres, and the need to protect the community from harm
- Need to make sure new developments are built to a high standard in terms of design, and provide inclusive, lively and attractive places where people feel safe and want to live, work or visit
- Need to make sure that new developments are in places that will reduce the need for people to use their cars and encourage people to live more healthy lifestyles by walking and cycling
- Make sure new developments provide public and private open spaces where there is a choice of areas of shade, shelter and recreation which will benefit people, wildlife, flood storage and carbon management
- To enable improvements to be made to the built and natural environments which will help maintain and improve historic assets, improve habitats and their connectivity, help the public access and enjoy open spaces such as allotments, reduce the risk of flooding, keep the effects of climate change (including the effects on habitats and wildlife) to a minimum, and support healthy lifestyles
- To enable improvements to be made to maintain and improve the quality of sporting and leisure facilities including opportunities for culture and tourism. This will include maintaining a flexible supply of land and buildings for sport and recreation that is the right quality and in the right location, and can meet people’s current and future needs and support healthy lifestyles
PO13: Inclusive, Safe & Healthy Communities
Our Preferred Option is to:
- deliver community safety and reduce crime and anti-social behaviour through the appropriate design and location of new development
- where appropriate, undertake community safety measures at specific locations. and Tthis may be best achieved by working with communities through the development of specific area action plans or supplementary planning documents
- require new large scale housing development to provide levels of open space and provisions for sport to meet community needs and create inclusive communities. It will be important to maximise linkages and access to the wider countryside for recreational purposes for all
- protect and improve the quality of existing open spaces in the District and to enhance both the quantity and quality of open space provision as the towns and villages grow over the plan period
- contribute to the provision of facilities for sport to enable good levels of access for the public
- provide/ require improvements to existing children’s and young people’s play areas as well as the provision of new facilities in conjunction with new developments.
Justification for Preferred Option
National and other policy context
Core planning principles
13.6 The NPPF states that a set of core land-use planning principles should underpin both plan-making and decision taking. These principles include that planning should take account of and support local strategies to improve health, social and cultural wellbeing for all, and deliver sufficient community and cultural facilities and services to meet local needs
Requiring good design
13.7 The Government attaches great importance to the design of the built environment. Good design is a key aspect of sustainable development, is indivisible from good planning, and should contribute positively to making places better for people
13.8 Development should optimise the potential of a site to accommodate development, create and sustain an appropriate mix of uses (including incorporation of green and other public space as part of developments) and support local facilities and transport networks
13.9 Development should create safe and accessible environments where crime and disorder, and the fear of crime, do not undermine quality of life or community cohesion.
Promoting healthy communities
13.10 The planning system can play an important role in facilitating social interaction and creating healthy, inclusive communities. Local planning authorities should create a shared vision with communities of the residential environment and facilities they wish to see. To support this, local planning authorities should aim to involve all sections of the community in the development of Local Plans, and in planning decisions, and should facilitate neighbourhood planning. Planning policies and decisions, in turn, should aim to achieve places which promote:
Safe and accessible environments where crime and disorder, and the fear of crime, do not undermine quality of life or community cohesion
Safe and accessible developments, containing clear and legible pedestrian routes, and high quality public space, which encourage the active and continual use of public areas
Access to high quality open spaces and opportunities for sport and recreation can make an important contribution to the health and well-being of communities. Planning policies should be based on robust and up-to-date assessments of the needs for open space, sports and recreation facilities and opportunities for new provision. The assessments should identify specific needs and quantitative deficits or surpluses of open space, sports and recreational facilities in the local area. Information gained from the assessments should be used to determine what open space, sports and recreational provision is required.
Existing open space, sports and recreational buildings and land, including playing fields, should not be built on unless an assessment has been undertaken which has clearly shown the open space, buildings or land to be surplus to requirements; or
The loss resulting from the proposed development would be replaced by equivalent or better provision in terms of quantity and quality in a sustainable location; or
The development is for alternative sports and recreational provision, the needs for which clearly outweigh the loss.
Local communities, through local and neighbourhood plans, should be able to identify special protection green areas of particular importance to them. By designating land as Local Green Space local communities will be able to rule out new development other than in very special circumstances. Identifying land as Local Green Space should, therefore, be consistent with the local planning of sustainable development and complement investment in sufficient homes, jobs and other essential services. Local Green Spaces should only be designated when a plan is prepared or reviewed, and be capable of enduring beyond the end of the plan period.
Levels of crime and disorder in Warwick district
13.11 In 2009/10 there were 8,129 recorded crimes in the district. This is the lowest total for 10 years with 1,584 fewer crimes than the previous 12 month period. In 2010/11 there were a total of 8,147 crimes, an increase of 0.2%. In the same period:
- Violent Crime was up 5% to 1,391 from 1,324
- Serious Acquisitive Crime is at its lowest ever level down to 1,472 from 1,780 (17%)
- Burglary is at its lowest ever level at 449 down from 606 (26.%)
- Vehicle crime is at its lowest ever level at 971 from 1104 (12%). Though there were 31 more thefts of a vehicle, thefts from a vehicle were down by 164.
- Robbery was at its lowest ever level at 52 down from 67 (22%)
- Criminal damage was 1,530 (1.4%) up from 1,551
- There were 6,334 reported anti-social behaviour incidents which is up 256 on the best ever performance of 6,078.
13.12 In 2009/10 Fear of crime levels are the lowest for 10 years with significant reductions recorded. Local people were asked how concerned they were and the figures for those very or fairly concerned were:
- being physically attacked by a stranger 33.2%, in 2005/06 this figure was 38.1%
- their home broken into and something stolen 45.1%, in 2000/01 this figure was 64.1%
- having their car stolen 32.2%, in 2000/01 this figure was 51.8%
13.13 Tackling anti-social behaviour is the Warwick District Council Community Safety priority and, together with Stratford-on-Avon District Council, take the lead in tackling this priority in South Warwickshire.
13.14 Based on the findings of the Strategic Assessment, the priorities for Safer South Warwickshire (Community Safety Partnership) are tackling violent crime, tackling anti-social behaviour, tackling alcohol abuse and tackling those causing most harm.
A District with low levels of ‘Multiple Deprivation’
Indices of Deprivation 2010
13.15 The new English Indices of Deprivation 2010 have recently been released by the Department for Communities and Local Government as the official measure of deprivation at Lower Layer Super Output Area level (SOA) in England. SOAs have an approximate population of 1,500 people and allow the identification of small pockets of deprivation; there are 333 SOAs in Warwickshire.
13.16 These indices are weighted and combined to create an overall Index of Multiple Deprivation (IM D) score for each SOA in the country.
Multiple Deprivation in Warwick District
|Number of areas ranked in the top 20% most deprived nationally||1|
|Number of areas ranked in the top 30% most deprived nationally||4|
|Number of areas ranked in the top 10% most deprived nationally in terms of barriers to housing and services||14|
Warwick District Parks and Open Spaces Audit 2008
13.17 In 2008 the District Council commissioned the production of a Parks and Open Spaces Audit. The audit has enabled the Council to understand the current quantity and quality of open space provision across the District as well as the public’s perception of existing open space.
13.18 The audit supplied a significant amount of information on the amount, type and quality of open space currently available throughout the District and the varying qualitative and quantitative needs of different areas. The audit also involved a household questionnaire to help develop a thorough understanding of the public’s perception of the District’s existing and future open space requirements; in brief the key findings were:-
- The District has an overall average amount of 5.47 hectares of unrestricted green space per 1,000 population, it is intended that the District Council has a policy position to continue to replicate this overall average across the District by insisting on appropriate levels of new open space provision within or associated with future new development.
- The majority of people have used parks and open spaces in their local area, with parks and gardens being the most popular type of venue
- Major barriers to use include” lack of time” and a perceived fear of personal safety
- In general terms, the public feels that the current amount of green space provision is about right
- The overall quality of open space in the District is perceived to be high (but this does not relate to specific venues)
- Respondents still feel that there is scope for continual improvement of parks and open spaces
- Management issues relating to dog fouling, maintenance of infrastructure and responding to litter and vandalism need to be addressed to improve customer satisfaction levels
13.19 Planning (and land use matters) can do much to influence social cohesion and the ability of communities to have appropriate access to services and facilities. The distribution and detailed design of the built environment (including open space) can do much to ensure the creation of safe places and participation in healthier/ active lifestyles. Therefore there are no alternative to the options set out above.