Transport should be designed to unlock major housing growth

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  • 1a: Government should progress work on East West Rail, the Expressway and new settlements through a single co-ordinated delivery programme, with cross-government ministerial commitment and oversight. The aim of this programme should be to unlock opportunities for transformational housing growth through the creation of well-connected new communities. As part of this programme Government should commit:
    • £1bn to deliver the infrastructure necessary for a high quality and resilient rail commuter service between Bicester and Bedford, accelerating delivery of this section of East West Rail to a target date of 2023;
    • to accelerate work on the development of the new East West Rail line between Bedford and Cambridge, and commit to open the line by 2030; and
    • to deliver the ‘missing link’ of the Oxford-Cambridge Expressway, accelerating development work to deliver a clearly-defined and agreed route by 2025, enabling construction to begin as part of the next Road Investment Strategy (RIS 2) and be complete by 2030.
  • Key milestones and decision points in the development of East West Rail and the Expressway should be subject to “in principle” agreement to the development of significantly more ambitious proposals for housing growth in the arc, including major new settlements and urban extensions, and subsequently, progress in identifying, evaluating and designating sites. “In principle” agreement should be provided within 12 months. The schemes should be futureproofed to ensure the potential for expansion and improvement is not permanently and prematurely closed.
  • 1b: Government should seek to introduce fast, direct services to London to enable growth in the arc between Bicester and Bletchley and improve connectivity between London and Aylesbury. Any such improvements should be contingent on local authorities’ commitment to major development between Bicester and Bletchley and around existing settlements.
  • 1c: Government should work with the private sector and the relevant local authorities to agree funding packages and progress schemes to support housing and employment growth now. These should include:
    • essential works required to enable passenger services between Oxford and Cowley no later than 2019
    • the acceleration of East West Rail phase 3 works around south Cambridge to enable the deliver of a Cambridge South station in 2022 as part of Control Period 6.
  • Substantial private sector and local contributions, reflecting the benefits that these parties gain, will be required to enable the delivery of these schemes.

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