Reuniting Planning and Health

Healthy Cities 21st Century

Bluebell Park, Knowsley

Bluebell Park, Knowsley (Source: First Ark)

The social housing provider in Knowsley, Knowsley Housing Trust (part of First Ark), is developing a £14.4 million extra care housing called Bluebell Park in Huyton. The scheme is supported by Knowsley Council, which sold the land to the housing provider at below market rate.

This has enabled First Ark to significantly increases the quality of housing in the area and helps to meet pressing housing need for older people. The scheme includes 122 apartments and nine bungalows, with a range of communal facilities, for people over 55, which will be available for the residents of scheme and the wider community. The objective is to create a hub for residents, ensuring that the scheme is an integral part of the wider community, and ensures that residents continue to feel a part of the local neighbourhood rather than isolated from it.

First Ark’s model builds in long-term savings of investing in quality extra care development (to reduce the need for social care packages later on). On another development it estimates that the savings from this approach will be in excess of £1 million annually.

Key lessons

  • A commitment to demonstrating the long-term value of upfront investment to reduce health needs and costs in later years
  • A commitment to develop quality specialist housing for older people, to help meet shortfalls identified in council housing and planning policy
  • Collaboration: the housing association’s extra care schemes would not have been successful when bidding for funding if Housing, Health and Planning had not been working together and aligning key strategies

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