East Hampshire: Green Loop and Wayfinding Project
The town of Whitehill & Bordon is being transformed through regeneration into a green, healthy, and connected town. East Hampshire District Council’s (EHDC) Green Loop and Wayfinding project is a major multi-partner piece of green infrastructure which will deliver an accessible seven kilometre walking and cycling route to encircle and connect the new and existing town. It will encourage active travel, health and wellbeing, travel to work, leisure, residential areas and green spaces whilst protecting the surrounding natural environment.
Wayfinding elements such as map totems, benches, and blocks enable rest and play, were co-created with local people to foster a sense of belonging to their greenspaces, encouraging them to get outdoors and travel actively. Through public engagement, areas of interest, ‘Diamond Moments,’ have been created to animate the loop, which has been filmed via drone to show local people how user-friendly it is. Together, they are a key to encouraging residents and visitors to choose active travel in and around the town.
The council also launched the Betterpoints app alongside the Green Loop. This app is for residents to use to motivate people to adopt healthy and sustainable behaviours with points rewards for healthy activities.
The success of the Green Loop is down to multi-disciplinary partnership working, early masterplanning and engagement. The council worked with public health teams, the Local Enterprise Partnership, Hampshire County Council, consultants, developers, residents, community groups and schools to create green infrastructure that delivers shared needs and is used and enjoyed by residents regularly.
Whitehill and Selborne (where the Green Loop is located) is one of the five most vulnerable areas for mental health and wellbeing in East Hampshire district. The Green Loop and Wayfinding project contributes to improving quality of place, economic social and wellbeing. Residents have benefited from this innovation in areas such as improving mental and physical health by:
Providing easy to access green space and community orchards.
Making it easier for residents, including wheelchair users, to travel actively, by connecting new and existing areas of town and improving navigation around town.
Improving air quality through reduced car use.
Making walking and cycling enjoyable.
The Green Loop is delivering good value for money. It has an economic value anticipated to generate 692 walking and 260 cycling trips per day, which provides a saving of £4.3 million – using the Value of Statistic Life Economic Tool. The Green Loop goes beyond just planning for a green infrastructure. It is part of complex £1 billion, multi-partner, 15-year collaborative and transformational place-making programme.
By delivering an accessible, walking and cycling route which encircles and connects the new and existing town, the council is encouraging active travel between employment, leisure, residential areas and green spaces. This best practice will be used to support the council’s Local Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plans across the rest of the district in the future.
The project shows how councils can tackle the challenges of reducing carbon emissions and health inequalities to level up left behind communities.