Having somewhere to play
Many children find the idea of going out for a walk about as interesting as eating a plate of broccoli but it’s vital to health and wellbeing. So one key aspect of making it a bit more interesting is to make sure local parks are worth visiting.
In a survey cited in the RTPI’s ‘Invest and Prosper’ 24 per cent of respondents cited lack of facilities as the primary reason they did not visit their nearest park the most often. The same report highlighted research by Vivid Economics that significantly increasing the number of facilities in medium-to large-sized greenspaces, including public toilets, children’s play areas, and café-like amenities, could increase annual visits to greenspaces in Great Britain by as much as 67%. They estimated that this could create up to £10bn in benefits in terms of physical and mental health and wellbeing.
The role of planning in housing quality is crucial.
Having somewhere to play is important to the health and wellbeing of children, but there are also lots of other factors like housing quality. Research highlighted in the Invest and Proper report found that living in poor-quality housing increases the risk of severe ill-health and disability among children and young adults by up to 25 percent.
The role of planning in housing quality is crucial. There are already concerns that bypassing the planning system – for example through permitted development, whereby buildings can be converted from one type to another, e.g. offices to residential, can often result in minimum standards not being met.