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Although it may not always seem like it Spring is finally with us, so now is a great time to get out into the fresh air. A variety of research funded by the Government, highlights the significance of visiting green, open spaces and the effects they have on improving people’s mental and physical health.

Creating outdoor spaces for better health - by Andrew Carrington

With this in mind, it is more important than ever for developers to be incorporating not just homes, but good quality open space and recreation areas within their masterplans.

According to Natural England that commissioned the review with the University of Essex and the UK’s leading health charity, Mind, connecting to nature can have a positive impact on anxiety, stress and depression. Further to this, a second two-year study by Natural England, the Department for Food and Rural Affairs, Public Health England, Historic England and King’s College London found that more than half of people living in deprived areas would take more exercise if green spaces were improved. They also found that children’s physical activity levels are increased when they live closer to parks, playgrounds, and recreation areas.

At Countryside, we agree that having outdoor space makes for healthier places to live. We use a landscape-led approach to place making and we work with our own in-house specialists and landscape consultants to create a wide variety of outdoor spaces from large country parks to smaller ‘pocket parks’ within residential areas, as well as children’s play areas and even skate parks.

We take a strategic approach, looking at the wider picture of how to add value to the homes and places we create for the benefit of all of our stakeholders. Our starting point is always the existing local landscape to ensure our master planning evolves sensitively within the existing environment and historic features, making best use of existing hedgerows, mature trees and water features. It often involves transforming both greenfield and brownfield sites – opening up areas previously private land to local communities who can then benefit more fully from them.

With the open spaces at so many Countryside developments we are confident residents will be encouraged to get outside and enjoy the Spring and the Summer to come. From a brisk woodland walk, to an informal cricket match or a more intensive ‘boot camp’ style workout, many of our developments provide a huge range of exercise options, all of which can improve both our mental and physical health.

At Kings Park in Harold Wood (pictured above), on the site of a former hospital, we are completing ‘Regency Gardens’ one of London’s newest and largest landscaped squares, which offers a perfect place for residents to relax and unwind.

At Beaulieu, in Chelmsford on the site of what was once King Henry VIII’s estate, the historic landscape is being transformed. Green open spaces play a central role including recreation areas for dog walking, community gardens and large parks with play areas, all connected with a network of footpaths and cycle ways.

At Great Kneighton in Cambridge, plans have recently been approved for the second phase of the 120-acre Country Park that will include a skate park, children’s play area, 1km trim trail and informal recreation areas with open grass areas for picnics, which together with the woodland will offer yet more opportunities for residents to live an active, healthy lifestyle.

Ensuring our residents can embrace the great outdoors, whatever the weather, is key to creating places where people want to live and where communities can thrive.

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Andrew Carrington,
Managing Director - Strategic Land

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About this blog

Here you’ll find property related blog articles from the team at Countryside as well as independent experts. Expect regular tips and advice on topics such as buying a new home, interior and landscape design, setting up home, mortgages and finance, plus articles on architecture, the property market, regeneration and more.

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