A plan to unleash the economic and cultural potential of the Oxford-Cambridge Arc and to transform it into one of the world’s premier growth corridors and a world leader in sustainability has been announced by Housing Minister, Christopher Pincher.
The spatial framework plan will help to create thousands of jobs, drive investment, protect and enhance the environment and provide the infrastructure and new places needed to make the area an even greater place to live and work.
The Arc offers a significant opportunity for the government and partners to work together to support the delivery of improved connectivity, productivity and placemaking, whilst ensuring pioneering environmental standards and enhancements are delivered, as well as ensuring that the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan is put into action.
Its area spans the five counties of Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire respectively.
The results of the policy paper, due to be published in 2022, will give communities a chance to shape the long-term future of their area and will help to ensure the benefits of growth are felt across the region.
The intention to establish an Arc Growth Body will also help unleash the area’s potential as a global innovation powerhouse by promoting the Arc internationally and with the right interventions and investment, local analysis suggests that by 2050, economic output could double to over £200bn.
To realise the full potential of local economies and the Arc as a whole, the government is also considering how further investment could create jobs, support the delivery of more homes and support local economic growth.
Commenting, Mr Pincher said: “The Oxford-Cambridge Arc is already home to world leading economic, cultural and scientific assets.
“We know for instance, Cambridge’s rate of patent applications, a key indicator of innovation, is the highest in the United Kingdom, while nearby Milton Keynes is the fastest growing city in the country.
“We want to take this region to the next phase of its renaissance by unlocking its full potential and our plans will drive investment where it is needed and ensure, as growth happens, we create well-designed, inclusive and vibrant places and communities.
“The OxCam spatial framework will allow us to plan positively for growth and we look forward to working with our local partners over the coming months to strengthen our vision and approach to the Arc.”
Chair of the Arc Leaders Group and Leader of Cherwell District Council, Councillor Barry Wood added: We welcome the continuing commitment from Government to the Oxford to Cambridge Arc.
“We look forward to working together with local people and our local partners to deliver an economy that works for all, underpinned by a high-quality natural environment. This will include planning for and enabling development that is truly inclusive and sustainable, which delivers real benefits for our communities and environment now and in the future.”