New exhibition will give Growth Arc residents a chance to see ideas for the area’s future development

Published: 31 May 2018



Bridge in Bedford

Residents of Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire, Milton Keynes and Oxfordshire will have the chance to see the ideas put forward for the future development of their area, at a new exhibition launching this Summer.

The “Exhibition of Ideas” will take place at the Transport Systems Catapult in Milton Keynes and will feature entries to the National Infrastructure Commission’s Ideas competition, giving visitors the chance to discover more about the proposals put forward for the future of the whole area.

The event will run from 5-26 July.

Commissioner and competition jury member Professor Sadie Morgan said:

“The Growth Arc is home to many of our world-leading universities and high-tech companies, making it one of the most economically important parts of the country – but in delivering the much-needed homes for the area, we must not lose sight of the character and natural beauty that residents cherish.

“The entries to our competition were mindful of all these things, and offered innovative and creative proposals for using infrastructure to support the development of well-connected and vibrant communities.  I’m delighted that this Exhibition of Ideas will give local people a chance to see what each team came up with.”

Helen Wylde, Chief Engagement Officer at the Transport Systems Catapult said:

“The arc that spans Cambridge, Milton Keynes, Northampton and Oxford defines one of the most productive and fastest-growing knowledge networks in the United Kingdom. Yet within this area significant housing and transport pressures exist which could restrict growth.

The Commission’s project is a once in a generation opportunity to build holistic solutions to these challenges which delivery not just new homes, but places which support innovation, business growth and connectivity. At this exhibition you will get a glimpse of what is possible.”

Securing the future of the country’s 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:

The Cambridge to Oxford Connection: Ideas competition ran from 30 June, with the winner announced on 6 December.

Details of the Commission’s wider work in the Growth Arc can be found at:

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