Guides & Advice

Building for a Healthy Life: putting wellbeing at the forefront of housing

Published: 27th August 2020
Area: Real Estate & Planning

Building for a Healthy Life: putting wellbeing at the forefront of housing

Lockdown has highlighted that the UK housing crisis isn’t purely about quantity, it’s also about quality. A form of revolution is needed, with developers adding residents’ wellbeing to their priority lists, as well as speed.

Luckily, the recent launch of ‘Building for a Healthy Life’ (BHL) could be the answer.

Read the Building for a Healthier life toolkit publication here.

The impact of unsuitable housing

Well-lit private spaces and nearby green areas are no longer added extras, they are necessities. For the many people who live in urban areas with limited access to these, the pandemic has had a negative impact on their mental health, having stopped them from being able to escape their four walls.

Space saving is often the main focus for city developments, ensuring maximum capacity in a minimal area. However, this approach doesn’t consider wellbeing and instead relies on residents being able to leave to meet their wider basic needs.

This one-size-fits all approach to the housing crisis is not an effective solution, and it’s time to try something new.

What is Building for a Healthier Life (BHL)?

Backed by Homes England, BHL has been created to replace ‘Building for Life 12’ (Bfl 12). Simply put, the goal of these new guidelines is to encourage housing developers to weave health and wellbeing into their plans.

BHL’s predecessor, BfL 12, was made up of 12 set questions designed to help assess the quality of housing schemes. Aspects such as facilities, tenure types and private spaces were covered, but many used it as a quick tick-box system, rather than truly considering how they could improve their sites.

However, BHL appears to have moved away from this question and answer process.

‘How-to’ guides for healthy spaces

The purpose of BHL is for architects and planners to submit evidence that shows exactly how wellbeing elements are to be implemented.

By providing visual aids that act as “how to” guides for healthy spaces, BHL enables developers to pick and choose the design cues that they feel would benefit their own housing schemes.

Wellbeing considerations

There is one thing that BHL has taken from BfL 12, and that is the idea of having 12 main considerations for developers. These have been split into three categories:

  • Integrated neighbourhoods;
  • Distinctive places; and
  • Streets for all.

Individual elements include ‘homes for everyone’, ‘well defined streets and spaces’ and ‘green and blue infrastructure’.

Each element should be taken in context with the development, rather than followed as a checklist, to ensure the result will fully benefit all residents.

Building long-term housing is essential

In future, decision makers must ensure that wellbeing considerations are included in development plans wherever possible. Although speed is still necessary to tackle the housing crisis, homes built for the long-term must become part of the solution. Hopefully, BHL and the pandemic will lead to more developers building with health in mind.

Helping you to achieve the best outcome

If you’re in the early stages of a development, we can help you to utilise the toolkit. Our team of specialist town and country planners will guide you through the process and work alongside you to demonstrate to the decision-maker why your scheme has been designed in a specific manner.

Contact us

For advice and support on how you can use BHL to your advantage, or any other planning query, contact Sachin Parmar  and Brian Mullin in our planning consultancy team Marrons Planning.

From inspirational SHMA Talks to informative webinars, we also have lots of educational and entertaining content for life and business. Visit SHMA® ON DEMAND.

Our free legal helpline offers bespoke guidance on a range of subjects, from employment and general business matters through to director’s responsibilities, insolvency, restructuring, funding and disputes. We also have a team of experts on hand for any queries on family and private matters too. Available from 10am-12pm Monday to Friday, call 0800 689 4064.

SHMA® ON DEMAND

Listen to our SHMA® ON DEMAND content covering a broad range of topics to help support you and your business.

Agriculture: Brexit and the impacts on farmers and land owners

25 Feb

Peter Snodgrass, Partner & Head of Agriculture
Agriculture: Brexit and the impacts on farmers and land owners

Peter Snodgrass, Head of Agriculture at Shakespeare Martineau, will be in conversation with Jason […]

IR35 – what changes are expected in April 2021?

24 Feb

Rhys Wyborn, Partner
IR35 – what changes are expected in April 2021?

In this webinar, Rhys Wyborn – partner in our employment team reminds employers of […]

The FE White Paper – what it means to the Further Education sector

12 Feb

Smita Jamdar, Partner & Head of Education | Tom Long, Partner
The FE White Paper – what it means to the Further Education sector

Smita Jamdar & Tom Long look at what the FE White Paper offers the […]

Exploring Surrogacy – the essential legal advice you need when having a child using a surrogate

11 Feb

Katherine Marshall, Partner | Matt Parr, Legal Director | David Browne, Partner
Exploring Surrogacy – the essential legal advice you need when having a child using a surrogate

In the first of our series of family webinars Katherine Marshall will be talking […]

Our thoughts

All the latest views and insights on current topics.

Marrons Planning shortlisted as finalists for two awards at the national RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence 2021

17 Feb

Marrons Planning

Marrons Planning shortlisted as finalists for two awards at the national RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence 2021

Marrons Planning shortlisted as finalists for two awards at the national RTPI Awards for […]

Read article Right Arrow

Shakespeare Martineau supports STOPageism campaign

27 Jan

Firm News

Shakespeare Martineau supports STOPageism campaign

Shakespeare Martineau is the first law firm to show support for the STOPageism campaign, […]

Read article Right Arrow

What does 2021 hold? Our sector predictions

26 Jan

Corporate & Commercial

What does 2021 hold? Our sector predictions

Read article Right Arrow

Shakespeare Martineau advises £35 million property scheme sale

26 Jan

Real Estate & Planning

Shakespeare Martineau advises £35 million property scheme sale

Read article Right Arrow

The environmental and social benefits of village life in retirement | Later living

24 Jan

Real Estate & Planning

The environmental and social benefits of village life in retirement | Later living

Read article Right Arrow

An Act of Plenty – The Agriculture Act 2020

22 Jan

Real Estate & Planning

An Act of Plenty – The Agriculture Act 2020

Read article Right Arrow

Commercial Real Estate Continues to Transition | Lockdown 3.0

19 Jan

Real Estate & Planning

Commercial Real Estate Continues to Transition | Lockdown 3.0

Read article Right Arrow

How can we help?

Our expert lawyers are ready to help you with a wide range of legal services, use the search below or call us on: 0330 024 0333