FAMILIES in two new Oxfordshire housing developments could get discounts on their supermarket shop, cut-price sports gear and free cinema tickets for hitting fitness targets under a new NHS scheme.

People who will live in Barton Park in Oxford and in Bicester’s 6,000-home eco town will be rewarded for exercising in a bid to reduce pressure on health services and improve wellbeing.

Developers will also be asked to provide free bikes with new houses and flats to cut car use and encourage cycling to drive out couch potato lifestyles.

Some of the ideas in the building plans include playgrounds near pavements and fast-food-free zones. The latest proposal will see users of a smartphone app rewarded for walking, NHS England said.

It hoped the scheme will help narrow the ‘worrying’ 10-year gap in average life expectancy across different parts of Oxford.

Mark Ladbrooke, Oxford City Councillor for Barton said welcomed the idea of the NHS scheme and said he hoped it would address the yawning gap between communities in the city.

The secretary for Oxfordshire’s Keep Our NHS Public campaign added: “It is hugely important to make sure that the next generation are in a fitter state and have good quality food and way to exercise and different sorts of facilities.

“An issue for me is the huge concern around Barton and Sandhills is that there is a huge difference in the life expectancy.

“It’s bad enough that it’s 10 years. It’s very worrying and I very much welcome this approach.”

Mr Ladbrooke said he was aware of the steps taken in the construction of Barton Park - which will see 885 homes and a primary school be built west of Barton - to create various areas for people to exercise in, such as the Linear Park.

Recent hospital mortality figures laid bare the health inequalities faced by thousands of families in the city. The NHS Digital figures revealed 3,234 people die under the care of Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, 1,317 - or 40 per cent - were from the poorest wards.

Obesity, cardiovascular disease, respiratory issues and mental health problems all rise exponentially in poorer parts of the city, as well as loneliness and isolation.

A man living in areas such as Barton and Blackbird Leys has a life expectancy of 75 years, compared to men in North Oxford, who are expected to live until 85.

The developments in Oxford and Bicester are two of 10 housing projects across the country which make up the NHS Healthy New Towns programme.

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said the plans ‘point the way’ for the communities of the future.

Officials overseeing the proposals are said to be looking at existing schemes where health insurance customers are rewarded with 25 per cent off their weekly shop if they hit monthly exercise targets, according to the Daily Telegraph.

The programme aims to ‘reduce pressure on the NHS by rethinking our lifestyles and the way health services are delivered’.

Mr Stevens added: “If there’s to be a much-needed wave of new house building across England, let’s ‘design-in’ health from the start.

“The NHS makes no apologies for weighing in with good ideas on how the how the built environment can encourage healthy towns and supportive neighbourhoods.”