The panellists, from left to right, Janet Miller, George Candler, Jonathan Nunn, Heather Pugh, John Sinclair and David Bainbridge (c) MOLA.jpg

MOLA brings together leaders to discuss The Oxford to Cambridge Arc

MOLA team

Last night, we invited leaders from a range of sectors to take part in a debate, chaired by our CEO, Janet Miller, to discuss what is needed to kick-start development in The Oxford to Cambridge Arc.

The National Infrastructure Commission has highlighted that a strategic step-change is needed to plan and secure the infrastructure and housing needed for the area to succeed, stressing the need for closer collaboration. This week the Government issued The Oxford-Cambridge Arc: government ambition and joint declaration between government and local partners reaffirming their commitment to the Arc.

We work with developers and communities to engender progressive and sustainable development, and have been for over 40 years. And it’s in this spirit that we brought together influential voices to debate the action required to put into place the housing, infrastructure and investment in people needed in the Oxford to Cambridge Arc. 

Janet Miller, CEO at MOLA

Introduced by James Saunders Watson, the High Sheriff of Northamptonshire, the debate brought together important figures from Local Government, development and education convened to discuss what action is needed to catalyse development in this area which has been has been identified by Government as an area of exceptional intellectual capital, with the potential to be Britain’s ‘Silicon Valley’.

Panellist, Cllr. Jonathan Nunn, Northampton Borough Council Leader discussed how important it is for the anticipated growth in the region to benefit new and existing communities locally and how the council are playing a very active part in the future strategy across the Arc, and will continue to do so over the coming months. 

Heather Pugh, Partner at David Lock Associates Limited and panellist at the event talked about the need for big plans on a long-term basis to kick-start a step-change in planning and designing at a strategic scale within the Arc. She went on to highlight how growth plans need to do more than identify the ‘new places’ that might be ‘unlocked’ through new strategic infrastructure, and that they must also consider the way in which new and existing places will interact.

John Sinclair, Dean of Arts, Science and Technology at the University of Northampton considered the role universities will play in the development of the Arc, and thay they are ideally-placed to provide the highly-skilled people needed for the Arc to thrive, and that strategic partnerships need to be forged with employers to develop Higher Level and Degree Apprenticeships; support the development of individuals already in work; and to develop innovations in areas such as transport and logistics.

David Bainbridge, Partner at Bidwells said that a clear vision and responsible body is crucial to taking the Arc forward, and that local Authorities must take robust action to plan development and engage communities, explaining the vision and discussing issues and options. He went on to say that if existing communities in the growth Arc are not part of the journey, then its true potential will not be realised.

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