Affordable homes of a decent standard are important to ensure good physical and mental health and well-being and have an important impact on health and health inequalities. The type of housing, its location and access to services and amenities such as shops, leisure facilities and transport links are also important. The English Housing Survey also identified a higher prevalence of poor housing in the private rented sector compared to other tenures and in the current market the private rented sector continues to grow.
Children, older people and people with disabilities and chronic health conditions can be particularly affected by unsuitable housing conditions which can lead to poor health and exacerbate existing health conditions. A warm, dry and secure home is associated with better health. A Building Research Establishment 2015 briefing report suggested that the cost to the NHS of poor housing was £2billion per annum in England based on first year treatment costs alone. At worst unsuitable and poor housing conditions such as overcrowding, damp and cold have all been shown to be associated with physical illnesses including poor respiratory health, hypothermia, heart disease and eczema. 
Research also illustrates the impact of poor housing, affordability and stability on mental health. Suitable housing and a settled home contribute to supporting good mental health and without a settled place to live recovery from mental illness can be significantly impeded.
Although Bexley is an affluent borough the less-affluent areas in the borough have higher levels of ill-health and poorer housing with greater levels of overcrowding and private renters. This is something that will be explored further through the SHMA and will help us to more fully understand the link between health and well-being and housing in the borough
However, it’s not just about building new or refurbishing homes, but creating sustainable, healthy, high quality neighbourhoods where people want to live, play, learn and earn.
Other issues that affect health and well-being include:
- Outdoor air pollution, particularly for cardio-respiratory mortality and morbidity
- Open/green space which brings direct benefits to physical and mental health and well-being
- Transport in terms of enabling access from home to employment, education, social networks and services
- Low levels of social integration and loneliness which significantly increase mortality
- Fear of crime and harassment including noise from neighbours
These issues all have an impact on health and well-being and will be addressed through the Corporate Plan and other policies across the authority.
Bexley has also adopted a Growth Strategy that will have positive impacts on the health and well-being of communities and individuals. Bexley’s Growth Strategy aims to create a borough for all life stages and tenures. It sets out the key principles for good growth over a 30-year time scale from 2020 to 2050 to ensure growth is managed to benefit local people and bring benefits to transport connectivity, economic prosperity and skills.
We will also use planning interventions to encourage active travel, reduce car speed and improve public transport which can all help to reduce health inequalities.
 The Cost of Poor Housing – Building Research Establishment 2015
 People Living In Bad Housing – Natcen Social Research 2013