A new exhibition opens today, showcasing the range of ideas put forward to transform the Arc which spans Cambridge, Milton Keynes and Oxford.

The Exhibition of Ideas launches at the Transport Systems Catapult in Milton Keynes, and offers residents across the Arc the chance to see for themselves the entries to the National Infrastructure Commission’s Growth Arc Ideas competition.

This includes the winning entry VeloCity, which proposed a series of new villages within easy walking and cycling distance of each other.  This idea has also now won the IMCL Honor Award.

The exhibition is free to visit, and runs until 26 July.

Commissioner Professor Sadie Morgan said:

“The arc between Cambridge and Oxford is an economic powerhouse for the UK, and has the potential to be even more successful in future.  We therefore need to do all we can to ensure the area continues to attract the brightest and best.

“Entries to our Growth Arc Ideas competition aimed to do just that, and I’m delighted that their proposals are now on display for residents to see.

“I would urge anyone who can do so to visit this exhibition, which I hope will give people the chance to think about what they want to see for their community in the coming years.”

Chief executive of the Transport Systems Catapult Paul Campion said:

“The project to create 100,000 new homes in the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Cambridge arc is a unique opportunity to take advantage of the many strengths of the area to create jobs and growth for the UK.

“To turn new houses into homes and enable the home-owners to play a full part in the economic and social life of the region, we will need to create excellent transport links with forward thinking planning. The ideas I have seen in this exhibition will help to create a future we can be proud of and show, again, that we have the talent in this country to turn the Growth Arc into a positive example for the whole country.”

Iain Stewart, MP for Milton Keynes North and champion for the Growth Arc, said:

“Seeing the exhibition first hand has left me extremely excited for the future of the area. The unique and the wonderful ideas on show here demonstrate that we can build on the success of the region with sustainable development which attracts people to the area and drives economic growth, whilst respecting our unique environment and character.”

Maintaining the economic success of the Growth Arc

Stretching for 130 miles from Cambridge to Oxfordshire via Bedfordshire, Northampton and Milton Keynes, the Growth Arc is home to 3.3million people and contributes £90.5billion to the UK economy.

The Growth Arc Ideas competition formed a key part of the Commission’s work in this area, and invited teams of urban designers, architects, economists, planning experts and community specialists to submit their proposals.

Each competitor’s concept had to meet the key objective of improving local infrastructure to help deliver much-needed new homes for the area.

The winning team, Velocity, proposed a cluster of villages in the area within walking and cycling distances of each other.

The competition ran alongside the Commission’s report, Partnering for Prosperity, which highlighted the need for a ground-breaking deal between central and local government to deliver the infrastructure needed to deliver one million new homes by 2050 – including a new East-West rail link and an Oxford-Cambridge Expressway.

In his Budget statement last year, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced measures to get work underway in line with the Commission’s recommendations.  This included:

  • A deal between Ministers and Oxfordshire to deliver 100,000 new homes in the county by 2031;
  • Funding to accelerate the delivery of East-West Rail, helping to open connections between Oxford and Bedford, and from Aylesbury to Milton Keynes, by 2024;
  • The formation of an independent East West Rail Company to explore how to speed up progress with the East-West rail connection between Bedford and Cambridge;
  • A programme of work to develop plans for a new Cambridge South station;
  • A commitment to deliver the new Oxford-Cambridge Expressway by 2030; and
  • The establishment of Cambridge as a Tech Nation hub

Notes to Editors:

Details of the Exhibition of Ideas can be found at: http://ts.catapult.org.uk/growthcorridorexhibition/

Details of the Commission’s wider work in the Growth Arc can be found at: https://www.nic.org.uk/our-work/growth-corridor/

About Transport Systems Catapult

The Transport Systems Catapult is the UK’s technology and innovation centre for Intelligent Mobility, harnessing emerging technologies to improve the movement of people and goods around the world. We are here to support business growth, increase the UK’s share of the global Intelligent Mobility market, and attract investment – creating jobs and generating long-term economic growth.

We will help sell UK capability on the global stage, while also promoting the UK as a superb test bed for the transportation industry. With a clear emphasis on collaboration, we are bringing together diverse organisations across different modes of transport, breaking down barriers and providing a unique platform for meeting the world’s most pressing transport challenges.

The Transport Systems Catapult is one of an elite network of not-for-profit technology and innovation centres established and overseen by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK. For more information, please visit www.ts.catapult.org.uk