Planning for Public Health in Lambeth

Under the theme of “mental wellbeing and public space” members of the Lambeth Wellbeing Network undertook two exploratory walkabouts and a series of participatory activities at their annual conference that focussed on how to bring borough planners and NHS public health professionals together to embed wellbeing in regenerating Lambeth’s built environment.

Facilitated by Andrew Stuck from Rethinking Cities and co-produced by Andrew and Lucy Smith, Mental Wellbeing lead for Lambeth at NHS S E London, the event was warmly received by participants.

“I met loads of interesting people and the presentations provide so much useful evidence for getting funding and convincing people what we know is true.”

“Excellent event – one of the best I’ve been to. Has pulled together a lot of thinking discussed in my professional networks’ over last few years – v happy to see Lambeth/NHS taking a lead on this.”

“I liked the mix of people today. Prior to this I had not met a Town Planner professionally in my 32 years NHS experience!” 

More than 30 delegates took part in an action research self-guided walkabout of Herne Hill, critiqueing the junction and public space improvements in front of the rail station, Brockwell Park and the southern end of Railton Road.  Hopping on the train, they next took part in a led walkabout around Loughborough Junction, a contrasting neighbourhood where local groups have formed an Action Plan for improvements that they would like to see the borough embrace and implement.  Delegates were asked to bring the learning from Herne Hill and their experience to bear on the challenges that residents of Loughborough Junction face.

In the afternoon, Cllr Nigel Haselden, Lambeth’s Cabinet lead on planning and Sue Foster, Director of the Planning, Regeneration and Enterprise Directorate opened the conference to more than 60 delegates.  Further presentations were made by Ilaria Geddes of University College London who worked on the Marmot Review, and several local Lambeth community champions, including Anthea Masey, Chair of Loughborough Junction’s Action Group and Petra Barran from the Eat St Collective.  Louise Dibsdall, Assistant Director of Public Health gave clear direction on how borough planners can work more closely with public health professionals and vice versa.

More details and reflections from the event will appear on the Lambeth First website.  Plans are afoot to develop further events to bring planners and regeneration professionals and public health professionals together.

This article first appeared on the Rethinking Cities website