Third Age Living (Blog Three)

This week we are looking at the concept of ‘Third Age’ Living in Harworth and Bircotes Town Centre.

The concept of the ‘Third Age’ grew out of a realisation that in industrialised and developed economies people live much longer than they used to. The pattern used to fall into growth and development, working life, and finally decline and death. With advances in healthcare and improvements in the wider determinants of health, people can expect to live longer, giving rise to a need to recognise the needs of those in later life who are independent, but often no longer have the same work patterns as younger people.

The determinants of health and well-being

Wider determinants of health (Barton 2010)

Whilst the whole of the Harworth and Bircotes Town Centre Masterplan seeks to create an environment where health and wellbeing is supported, there is a recognition of the local context needs that are specific to the area and the opportunities presented.

Locally, healthy life expectancy is lower than the UK average with many people living with long term conditions from their early 60s. For people to retain their independence, housing close to the Town Centre, allowing for short trips for everyday needs including healthcare, leisure, and retail without the need for a car is desirable. This is supported by the Neighbourhood Development Plan where this need was identified. 

There is currently a planning application for six apartments and nine new single storey dwellings that is awaiting determination, which involves the partial demolition and re-use of the southern building on the site of the former North Border Primary School. There are other buildings on site that could be converted and similarly re-purposed. In order to achieve a good connection with the rest of the Town Centre and promote the use of the site for the wider community, the incorporation of other uses in later phases would be desirable. Community facilities might include a hall for meeting, exercise and group meetings alongside an ancillary café.

With good links to the Town Centre and the proposed Green Heart of Harworth, the site is in a sustainable location and there is scope for people to enjoy the benefits of independence for longer. Looking at healthcare and wellbeing in the widest sense, green social prescribing in the future would be supported, alongside a revitalised community offer. Later phases could also include step down care for older people leaving hospital, allowing for rehabilitation prior to returning to an independent life in the community.

Not confined to the former North Border school site, there are many opportunities within Harworth and Bircotes Town Centre for housing that is affordable and accessible and that supports local businesses. This could be extended to live/work units and space for lifestyle businesses, allowing for a wide variety of entrepreneurial activities throughout people’s lives. Through building re-use and new construction, the character and attractiveness of the Town Centre will be supported.

Limelight community hub

A great example of integrated housing, community and healthcare facilities is Limelight, an award-winning health and wellbeing hub located in the heart of Old Trafford, Greater Manchester. Part of Trafford Housing Trust, Limelight offers a wide range of facilities, community activities and services, as well as housing 81 extra care apartments.

Timothy David Crawshaw MA MRTPI FRSA is an International Planning and Development Consultant in the areas of urban design, planning, green infrastructure, energy efficiency and sustainable transport.

With experience in Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East, alongside an expanding UK practice, he has a specific interest in the role of the nature based approaches to addressing the climate emergency, alongside improving health and wellbeing outcomes and tackling inequality.

Timothy is an experienced lecturer, trainer and facilitator with a passion for community development, and he continues to champion the role of planning as a key part of the solution to the challenges of our times. Timothy is currently the Chair of the Tees Valley Nature Partnership and is the Vice President of the Royal Town Planning Institute.

Last Updated on Friday, May 19, 2023