Beginner’s Guide to Making Streets Healthier…

Beginner’s Guide to Making Streets Healthier…

The Challenge

In the last few years, Healthy Streets has developed from an idealistic concept into an official design approach for London’s streets. The vision links the physical design of the street with both transport and health matters, promoting the uptake of active travel and places an individual’s well-being within and experience of the urban environment at the core of planning the city. As outlined in the Draft New London Plan and the Mayor’s Transport Strategy (2018), the Healthy Streets approach is designed to improve personal health and reduce health inequalities through promoting active, sustainable travel throughout the capital. The new approach marks an overall shift in planning policy, focusing less so within the confines of the development itself in favour of the experience of those using the development or passing through.

The London Development team was appointed by MBU Capital in 2019 to provide transport and highways consultancy services associated with the redevelopment of St. Nicholas House, Sutton. The proposals involve partial demolition and extension of the existing building to provide a 14-storey development with approx. 200 residential units, as well as office and retail spaces on the ground floor. The site is in a sustainable and accessible location in Central Sutton, with good opportunities by foot, cycle and public transport, connecting the area to a variety of facilities and amenities.


As part of this commission, SYSTRA produced a Transport Assessment and Travel Plan. With Healthy Streets being incorporated into official TfL planning policy, Peter May conducted an Active Travel Zone Assessment for St. Nicholas House. This involved a site visit to Sutton and then mapping potential key destinations within a twenty minute cycling distance, such as stations, town centres, schools, parks and hospitals. Cycling and walking routes from the Site to the nearest and most likely destinations were also highlighted. This assessment was a success, with TfL’s official approval obtained in a timely manner.

SYSTRA appreciates that more must be discussed and learned on the Healthy Streets approach, before it is truly embraced and integrated into London’s development framework. As consultants regularly engaged in the London development and property markets, SYSTRA remains fully supportive of this positive and people-led change in policy. Having attended specific TfL workshops on the Healthy Streets approach, SYSTRA are well versed on advising clients what the implementation of such a change in planning policy may mean for current and future planning applications.

Further information on SYSTRA’s interpretation of TfL’s Healthy Streets programme can be found here.

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