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      The Arc is Greater than the Sum of its Parts

      In the context of the Oxford-Cambridge Arc, economic development is but one ingredient that makes up the region’s recipe for growth.

      21 Feb 2022 Andrew Taylor, Group Planning Director, Countryside

      Opportunities for local employment, bringing together a whole host of jobs and talent, skills, and salaries, are only attractive if they coexist with good quality housing, schooling, social infrastructure, and open space. Exceptional, successful, and sustainable places all blend a sense of community with economic and social capital. 

      Planning for growth of this kind calls into question existing assumptions that might be rather outdated. Many local plans (and Council development strategies) prepare for a future within their tightly defined boundaries, yet our population is much more mobile than it has ever been. Innovators in the Oxford-Milton Keynes-Cambridge region, like AstraZeneca based in Cambridge, employ across Cambridgeshire, Essex, Suffolk, and Hertfordshire. We also communicate differently, using collaborative tools such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom, which transcend spatial constraints. The Arc as a broader concept is useful not only as a means to better comprehend connectivity but should be the lens through which regional planning provides for growth and development. 

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      The Arc is fundamentally a project of trust – trust that cuts both ways if we’re to create something truly important to the future of the UK as a scientific superpower. Developers must prioritise public consultation and generate plans which are based on future community aspiration. In the same vein, engagement and the transparency of consultation cannot be curtailed by local pressures to resist open engagement.

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