SERIOUS concerns have been raised over the lack of culture in the borough’s health and wellbeing strategy.

And residents have been told the local plan and local transport plan will have a ‘massive impact’ on health and wellbeing in Warrington.

The refreshed strategy for 2019-2023 came before the building stronger communities policy committee at the Town Hall last Wednesday.

The document sets out ambitions to deliver improvements to the lives of residents over the next five years.

It highlights financial challenges while calling for a ‘radical change’ in the way health and care services are delivered, if the town is to achieve long-term financial sustainability across the health and social care system.

Tracy Flute, principal in public health at the council, also highlighted the emerging local plan and local transport plan during Wednesday’s meeting.

She said: “We have got the local plan and the local transport plan, both of those strategic long-term plans will have a massive impact, or has the potential to have a massive impact on health and wellbeing.

“So, designing in health, as the borough grows in the central area or the borough as a whole, we felt was really key.

“But we felt was really important to recognise those challenges and opportunities as we were developing the strategy.

“A central them of the strategy is that health is everyone’s business and we have all got a role to play in that.”

But Cllr Dan Price (IND – Great Sankey North and Whittle Hall) hit out at the vision and believes the ‘missed opportunities’ have clouded much of the good work in the document.

Furthermore, he spoke about the importance of investing in cultural services, as well as the ‘serious problem’ of loneliness, but says cultural events in communities can bring people together.

He said: “I think with regards to the wellbeing point of view, I think we have missed something fairly significant and it is actually quite frustrating for me.

“This runs from 2019 to 2023 and throughout the whole of the report we use the word heritage zero times, the arts zero times and culture twice and once it refers to smoking culture, which is not the culture I am talking about.

“Investing in culture is fundamentally about giving people enjoyment in life and happy people are healthy people.”

Ms Flute told Cllr Price she was ‘sorry’ he felt disappointed and said she absolutely takes his points on board.

However, she stated that culture-related matters are included in the plans, although implicitly rather than explicitly.

She added: “There is definitely, as you say, so much evidence around how culture improves your wellbeing – we can maximise that and draw that out over the five years of the plan.”