Statement from Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of Oxford City Council on behalf of the Fast Growth Cities Group (Oxford, Cambridge, Milton Keynes, Norwich, Swindon, Peterborough)
"We welcome the government announcement today setting out the next steps for bringing forward the Oxford Cambridge Arc underpinned by principles of economic growth based on environmental sustainability and a more inclusive economy. As a net contributor to the Exchequer our area of the country is vital to the UK’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The creation of a Spatial Framework should build confidence among communities across the Arc that development must deliver a net positive impact on the environment and that levelling up can be achieved for our more disadvantaged areas. A Green Arc is vital. We must ensure new developments are zero carbon and we believe that we have the knowledge and innovation to help us met our zero carbon goals. We also welcome the focus on affordable housing, including new council houses and other forms of social rented and intermediate rented homes.
“East West Rail will also bring much better connectivity, but that should not stop at re-establishing the line between Oxford and Cambridge. We need to see rail connectivity extended beyond – to Swindon and Bristol in the West and Norwich and Ipswich in the East and will continue to press the government to reverse the cuts to this project and to electrify the line as originally promised.
“The Government has outlined the creation of a new Arc-wide Growth Body – that could become the equivalent to the Midlands Engine or Northern Powerhouse. Just as it is the case in those sub-regions, the achievement of the Arc’s objectives will be inextricably linked to the future success of the major cities within it - Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge. Those cities should be given a clear voice within the new governance structure. Norwich, Swindon and Peterborough will also be integral to the Arc’s future success as collectively our cities will provide around half of the new jobs.”
Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of Oxford City Council and Chair of the Fast Growth Cities Group