The future of the OxCam Arc Image Open Government Licence v3.0

The government said people across the Oxford Cambridge Arc, and all with an interest in the area, will have the opportunity to contribute to the long-term development of the area, as part of its newly launched consultation.

A new plan aims to “enhance the infrastructure, environment and new developments” in the counties of Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

Housing Minister Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP said:

“Today is a big step forward for the OxCam Arc as we have launched an innovative digital consultation with the public, including those that live and work in the Arc, so that everyone has a chance to have their say.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for people across the Arc to make their voice heard and help create the future for their community that they want to see.

“Both the Spatial Framework consultation and Expert Advisory Panel will help us to ensure the Oxford-Cambridge Arc will be a great place to live and work – now and in the decades to come.”

This public consultation is the first of three that will guide a new Spatial Framework over the next two years. A digital platform has been created to make it accessible for people who live, work, and have an interest in the area to make their voices heard.

Comments received in the consultation will help create the Spatial Framework’s vision for the area to 2050, and will help guide local planning and investment decisions in four areas; the environment; the economy; connectivity and infrastructure; and place-making

The consultation is also seeking views on the work the government has done to set the scope of the Sustainability Appraisal.

Transport Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said:

“The East West Rail project plays an important role in enabling connectivity within the OxCam Arc and will help us build back better from COVID-19.

“We’ve committed £760 million to the first phase of EWR which will support improved access to jobs and other opportunities in the area as well as boosting economic growth in the region more widely.”

The government has also announced a new expert panel to advise on sustainable economic and housing growth in the Arc. The panel will be chaired by leading development and regeneration expert Emma Cariaga and will advise the government on issues ranging from design and sustainability to delivery and investment models.

Emma Cariaga said:

“I am delighted to be chairing the new panel exploring opportunities for sustainable economic and housing growth in the Arc. The past 18 months have highlighted the importance of the quality of the places in which we live, work and enjoy ourselves.

“So it is great to see those opportunities to bring forward well-planned places that make the most of existing, proposed and emerging infrastructure are being properly considered.

“As a panel, we will explore a range of subjects – including design, finance models and sustainability – that will be vital for these places to get right if they are to serve present and future communities. I look forward to getting started

“This regional success will build on the work of the United Kingdom Government that has helped millions of people continue to provide for their families as part of its Plan for Jobs to protect, support and create employment.”

The panel’s primary area of focus is between Bedford and Cambridge, where the government is examining opportunities to bring forward “well-designed, inclusive and sustainable places”.

Other members will consist of industry leaders, local representatives and subject area experts from a range of disciplines, who will work with local government and other partners to inform the panel’s advice. The full panel will be confirmed in due course.