COUNCILLORS have today agreed a draft 'public health and wellbeing strategy' can go out to the public.

At a meeting of South Lakeland District Council’s Cabinet, the eight page council plan for the next five years was roundly supported.

It will now be shared with partners for comments before going back to the council for formal adoption as official policy.

It follows councils being given more responsibility for community health after it moved from the NHS to local government in 2013.

The report reveals how despite the fact South Lakeland has a relatively healthy population with activity levels above the national average, there are ‘pockets of deprivation’ and an 'excess number of winter deaths'.

While the district has the highest level of life expectancy across the whole of Cumbria, levels of smoking and substance misuse are said to be low but there is a '13-year age gap in healthy life expectancy in South Lakeland'.

Health problems the area faces include excess smoking during pregnancy, excess road injuries and deaths, and a higher than average number of households living in fuel poverty.

Coun Graham Vincent, said today: “I am pleased this strategy is now infront of Cabinet. We are taking a bigger and more pro-active role in health delivery and a recognition that we have a significant role to play in helping people live more healthy and maintaining that lifestyle.”

Coun Roger Bingham said: “I’m very pleased we are trying to do something about this but not a lot has been said here about mental health - particularly dementia.”

Coun John Holmes said: “I would thoroughly endorse this document and endorse the comments about dementia. It’s a growing problem now and will be important in the future.”

Coun Vincent explained that mental health was on the agenda and part of the council's thinking.