The government are proposing a strategic approach to planning for growth and infrastructure to realise the economic and cultural potential of the Oxford-Cambridge Arc and transform it into one of the world’s premier growth corridors and a world-leader in sustainability.

The government have now launched the Creating a vision for the Oxford-Cambridge Arc consultation. This consultation is being undertaken to inform the approach to the future of the Oxford-Cambridge Arc, which has been identified by the government as a key economic priority and which spans the five counties of Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.  The consultation seeks views to help create a vision for the Oxford-Cambridge Arc Spatial Framework, and in doing so guide the future growth of the area to 2050.

The government want to use the Spatial Framework to make sure that we build places that the Arc needs to support sustainable growth, and that communities will enjoy for decades and centuries to come. They know that local authorities and local communities through Local Plans and Neighbourhood Plans are already working to plan for a better future for their areas, and want to work closely with them in this process. They have committed to doing this by using the Spatial Framework, to identify:

  • the most sustainable locations for new homes, including identifying Opportunity Areas, to support local planning authorities to plan for this growth;
  • the infrastructure – such as transport, health and education facilities, utilities and digital – needed to support sustainable growth in those locations, and the key locations for strategic infrastructure; and
  • locations to protect and improve the environmental as part of sustainable growth and development.

They will also seek to set policies to enable:

  • new development to come forward at the scale and speed needed, in sustainable locations, with a focus on brownfield redevelopment;
  • new development to support the recovery of nature, new green space that can be accessed by all, resilience to climate change, and protection of highly valued
    existing green space; and
  • housing needs to be met in full, including much-needed affordable housing.

The consultation asks for views on what residents of the Arc think are important and is open for comment until 12 October 2021.

In addition to launching this consultation the government has appointed an expert panel to provide advice on creating well-designed, sustainable and vibrant places in the Oxford-Cambridge Arc.

The panel will focus on the area between Bedford and Cambridge, where the government has committed to explore the case for new or expanded settlements including those linked to potential East West Rail stations, to bring forward well-designed, inclusive and vibrant places.

Emma Cariaga, Joint Head of the Canada Water Development & Head of Residential at British Land, will chair the panel. Other members will consist of industry leaders, local representatives and subject area experts acting in a personal capacity, who will work with local government and other partners to inform their advice. The full panel will be confirmed in due course.

Contact us to find out how your aspirations can fit into this strategy.