Oxfordshire Growth Board has concluded its round of discussions with the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) over the proposed Oxford to Cambridge Growth Corridor.
The board now awaits the Government’s decision over investment funding for new transport infrastructure and housing in Oxfordshire, expected to be revealed in the Budget.
Following 18 months work, the NIC, headed by former transport secretary Lord Adonis, will be making its recommendations to Government on how to maximise the economic potential of the 130-mile corridor that links the two cities. The project aims to grow the knowledge-based economy in the corridor so that it competes on a global stage with areas such as Silicon Valley in the US, while protecting the area’s high-quality environment, and securing the homes and jobs that the area needs. The area is home to four of the UK’s fastest growing towns and cities, as well as globally-renowned centres of research expertise and advanced manufacturing.
The NIC’s recommendations will be taken into consideration by the Government for its infrastructure spending announcement in the Autumn Budget, which will be announced on Wednesday 22 November.
The Oxfordshire Growth Board – a joint committee of Oxfordshire’s six councils and the county’s Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) – has been supporting the NIC’s work on the Ox-Cam corridor.
The Growth Board has produced a long-term vision for transport across the county to feed into the NIC’s work, particularly focusing on the first/last mile of transport in Oxford – between the city’s railway station and people’s homes or workplaces.
This work has also fed in to another NIC project, led by former Cycling Commissioner to London Andrew Gilligan, to help make Oxford ‘world class’ for cyclists. Mr Gilligan visited Oxford in August to meet City and County Council leaders, along with University and other local stakeholders. Mr Gilligan’s draft report is expected shortly.
The Growth Board’s other recent work includes the commissioning of the independent Oxfordshire Infrastructure Strategy, a report that aims to identify, map and prioritise the infrastructure – including new roads, schools, hospitals and houses – that Oxfordshire will need to meet the expected population growth by 2040.
Councillor Bob Price, Leader of Oxford City Council, and current chair of the Oxfordshire Growth Board, said: “With world class centres like Harwell, Culham and Oxford itself, Oxfordshire is already a knowledge-intensive cluster that competes on a global stage. Working with the National Infrastructure Commission, the Oxfordshire Growth Board has focused on the opportunity to strengthen the knowledge arc – or brain-belt – linking Oxford through Milton Keynes to Cambridge. There is the potential to create a new economic powerhouse for the UK, while protecting our high quality environment, and securing the homes the area needs.”
The six councils represented on the Oxfordshire Growth Board are Cherwell District Council, Oxford City Council, Oxfordshire County Council, South Oxfordshire District Council, Vale of White Horse District Council and West Oxfordshire District Council.