East Hampshire District Council's story
The former military town of Whitehill & Bordon in East Hampshire is undergoing a major transformation to become a green, healthy, and connected town. The town lies on the edge of the South Downs National Park and, unusually, lacks a historic town centre. Now, an ambitious regeneration programme, selected as one of the NHS England’s Healthy New Towns 'demonstrator sites', will deliver around 3,350 new homes, 5,500 new jobs, a new town centre and leisure centre, plus associated infrastructure for active travel, community, education, and health care.
As part of this transformation, we engaged local residents and found that many local facilities were hard to access and that transport routes were considered unsafe, creating barriers to active travel. The Green Loop project will tackle these challenges and improve access to active travel for all while ensuring connection between the new and existing parts of the town. The scheme will also include a Green Grid – a secondary network of footpaths and cycle paths connecting the town to the Green Loop.
We used the ‘value of statistical life’ tool to measure the economic benefits of the Green Loop to Whitehill & Bordon, calculating a benefit of approximately £4.3 million. These economic benefits include increased physical activity and the prevention of premature deaths alongside carbon reduction through reduced car journeys.
The Green Loop is an important resource for the town, but it is also adding to the beauty of our area. 4500 spring bulbs have been planted along the route which is designed to blend comfortably into the local countryside, with colours drawn from local heathers used in the signage and landmarks that make up our wayfinding infrastructure. This infrastructure is crucial to supporting navigation for local residents and bringing the Green Loop to life.
Strong partnerships between East Hampshire District Council and Hampshire County Council – together with developers and landowners – have been central to the successful delivery of the Green Loop and Green Grid. To fund selected elements of the project, we secured over £4 million from the EM3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), alongside Section 106 developer contributions.
Useful learnings from East Hampshire District Council
Establish a clear governance structure – There were so many parties involved in this project, a clear governance structure was essential for setting out respective roles and responsibilities and driving a clear shared vision and master planning. This was crucial to our funding bids.
Collaborate with all stakeholders – We worked closely with local landowners, the local transport authority, Hampshire county council, residents, and all interested parties to deliver an initiative that reflected shared needs. This way of working also enabled us to resolve issues quickly and positively.
Go beyond infrastructure – You can develop incredible resources, but unless people can navigate around them effectively and access them easily, they won’t work. This approach drove our wayfinding network.
Think about linked schemes – This project has supported and accelerated other local initiatives such as pocket parks and community travel planning to reduce carbon output and deliver wider benefits to our local areas.
East Hampshire District Council's metrics
Changes in walking and cycling levels as a result of new infrastructure – automated traffic counts.
Perceptions of quality of walking and cycling infrastructure – school census and travel plans.
Impacts on health changes linked to walking and cycling levels – resident surveys.