OxCam Arc Spatial Framework Announced in Budget

Red Book

2.128 The government has designated the corridor of land connecting Oxford, Milton Keynes, Bedford and Cambridge (the OxCam Arc) as a key economic priority. Earlier this year, the government announced the East West Rail Company’s preferred route for the new line between Bedford and Cambridge. The government will also, subject to planning consents, build a new rail station at Cambridge South, improving connectivity to the world-leading research facilities of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus – the largest cluster of medical and life sciences research in Europe.
2.129 The Budget announces plans to develop, with local partners, a long-term Spatial Framework to support strategic planning in the OxCam Arc. This will support the area’s future economic success and the delivery of the new homes required by this growth up to 2050 and beyond. The government is also going to examine and develop the case for up to four new Development Corporations in the OxCam Arc at Bedford, St Neots/Sandy, Cambourne and Cambridge, which includes plans to explore the case for a New Town at Cambridge, to accelerate new housing and infrastructure development.

Four key decisions here

  1.  The much  framework will no longer to left entirely to local authorities but developed in partnership with local authorities.  It will cover up to 2050 so will see at least double the housebuilding planned in local plans, molre than that as existing pipeline of approved schemes can be used only once.
  2. The announcements cover where new settlements are being looked at apart from Oxford and Bucks, where plans are less advanced.  The odd one out was Milton Keynes.  The obvious candidate for a DC is MK where the plans for expansion were announced in Jan.  The complication is the cross border elements and the opposition of some local mps, which stopped the planned government support of the expansion around the election.
  3. A new town at Cambridge made sense with an alignment of East-West Rail south of the Sandy Hills, now the only area left is SW of Cambridge which with its Water Meadows etc. is a bad area for expansion
  4. No announcement of scrapping of expressway.

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