Savills plc

07/21/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/21/2021 02:34

Consultation launched to shape the future of the Oxford-Cambridge Arc

The Right Honorable Christopher Pincher MP, Minister of State for Housing, 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.'

The Oxford-Cambridge Arc is seen by Government as a national economic priority area, with potential to be one of the most prosperous, innovative and sustainable economic areas in the world.

The Arc covers the ceremonial counties of Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire. This comprises 3 county councils, 17 district councils, 6 unitary authorities and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.

The Spatial Framework will set national planning policy and national transport policy for the area and all new local plans will be expected to be consistent with the new policy, which is understood to be published in final form in early 2023. In the meantime the Chief Planner at MHCLG has encouraged all local authorities to continue to make progress on emerging local plans and not to wait for the Spatial Framework.

As expected, at this stage there are no specific policy proposals, growth ranges or targets or spatial areas identified for growth.

The consultation is mostly concerned with establishing certain principles, such as in relation to the environment, biodiversity, design, resource management and climate change. There is a growing database for the Arc which has informed the vision and associated documentation including preparation of a Local Natural Capital Plan for the Arc and identification of Environmental Opportunity Zones.

This consultation follows significant stakeholder engagement by the Oxford-Cambridge Arc Unit within MHCLG and partners. As pointed to in the Autumn 2020 Planning White Paper: Planning for the Future, the Government intends to engage more collaboratively and be more digital in the way it communicates.

The Spatial Framework can help develop an Economic Strategy building on work put in by Local Enterprise Partnerships and others including on Local Industrial Strategies. The vision is for a range of employment opportunities where education and skills are linked.

Response to the consultation will inform 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.

This is especially relevant coming on the same day that MHCLG published a revision to the National Planning Policy Framework and launched a National Model Design Code under the Building Beautiful Places initiative.

Following this consultation, in Spring 2022, 'Towards a Spatial Framework' will be published which is intended to be an interim document setting out options for policy and launch of the second public consultation. Then in Autumn 2022, MHCLG will publish a 'Draft Spatial Framework' alongside a third public consultation.

We welcome the Government's continued commitment to collaborative, inclusive and digital-based engagement on the emerging Spatial Framework for the Oxford-Cambridge Arc and encourage everyone to consider responding to the consultation.

This digital consultation is open until 12 October 2021 and can be found on the MHCLG website.