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Vision Sets Out a Brighter Future for Greater Cambridge

Published: Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Greater Cambridge City Deal has set out a refreshed vision for how it will accelerate the building of thousands of new homes and jobs and create a fit-for-the-future transport network.

Its leader, Cllr Lewis Herbert, said the partnership’s mission is clear: “We want to work together - with each other, our partners and our local communities - to grow and to share Greater Cambridge’s prosperity, now and for the future.

“We are fortunate to live in one of the most successful and stunning places in the country and its clear the City Deal has a vital role in keeping it that way.

Greater Cambridge remains one of only a handful of city regions to makes a net contribution to the UK economy but - with the population set to rise by 30% over the coming years – the cost of housing, traffic congestion and pollution will get worse if no action is taken.

The partnership of local councils, the Local Enterprise Partnership and University of Cambridge, has secured hundreds of millions of pounds of funding over the coming years to help keep Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire successful, world-changing and special, by tackling the key issues that could prevent this.

City Deal’s leaders said they have recently ‘taken stock’ of how the City Deal can best make a real difference to people’s lives and support business growth.

Cllr Herbert, chair of its Executive Board and leader of Cambridge City Council, said: “The pre-election period gave members of our Board and Assembly the time and space to come together, to review what we want to achieve and our approach.

“At the same time, we are building a strong partnership with the new Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and Combined Authority and, as we know, a country is heading towards Brexit. It has been a good time to reflect and take stock of what the City Deal has to offer.

“The conclusion - from all the discussions we have had - is that the City Deal remains absolutely vital to the future success of Greater Cambridge.

“What matters to residents, travellers and local businesses is that the City Deal delivers better transport and tackles congestion, and achieves more skills investment and affordable housing too.  Some of the detail on how we are improving will appear dry to many, but we know that these changes mean we will definitely deliver better from here on, building on so much progress already underway.”

In 2017, the partnership will start to look at more transformational transport solutions – starting with a study on the deliverability of future transport options comparing underground, light rail, fast buses and busways, including the potential for bringing forward autonomous vehicles for mass transit.

At the same time, it will use its collective voice to influence national transport agencies and service providers to bring earlier benefits – including a third rail station for Cambridge near Addenbrooke’s and improvements along the M11 and at Girton interchange.

There will be further and broader engagement with residents, workers and businesses on future and on-going projects, and improved access to information including the launch of a new website later this month.

 A recruitment campaign is currently underway, in conjunction with the County Council, to build the capacity and skills needed to manage the ambitious and complex programme.

The partnership, which will continue to operate as a joint committee of the three partnership councils* within the wider Combined Authority context, will also consider new and improved governance arrangements including introduction of ‘working groups’ earlier in the life-cycle of schemes, drawing on the energy and expertise of Assembly members to represent the views of local people, business and academia.

 It aims to support ‘good growth’ by:

  • Creating better, greener transport networks, connecting people to homes, jobs, study and opportunity.
  • Accelerating housing delivery and homes for all
  • Inspiring and developing our future workforce, so that businesses can grow
  • Investing and developing Smart technology, supporting transport, housing and skills.

Vice Chair and South Cambridgeshire District Councillor Francis Burkitt said: “This is an exciting time for the city, for South Cambridgeshire and for Cambridgeshire, enjoying unparalleled levels of investment because we can give so much back – when Greater Cambridge succeeds, the rest of the country benefits.

“Our earliest schemes will start to come to fruition and we will continue to ‘work together’, not just as a partnership, but with Mayor, local MPs, national organisations like Highways England, Network Rail and East-West Rail. But, most importantly, it reflects the fact that we will work together with our residents in the city and the district. We will communicate, consult and listen.

 “Clearly, we want to grow the economy and create jobs and opportunities for everyone, especially young people starting their working lives. But it’s more than just the economy, it’s about our overall prosperity and quality of life; and that covers health, the environment, public transport, access to housing, the digital world, cycling provision and so much more.”

Finally, in a move to reflect its strong collaboration and partnership approach, from next month, the Greater Cambridge City Deal will become known as the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) and with a revised strapline of ‘Growing and Sharing Prosperity’, continuing to deliver the City Deal for Greater Cambridge.