If you haven’t heard about the CaMkOx Arc yet, you soon will. The CaMkOx Arc has potential to be one of the biggest economic and property development schemes the UK has ever seen.
Here are a few things you need to know about the CaMkOx Arc:
* It’s a huge tract of land between, as the name suggests, Cambridge, Milton Keynes and Oxford – although there are no precise boundaries.
* The CaMkOx area has some of the most modern and high. tech. industries in the country, providing some of the most highly paid jobs outside London.
* It is already home to 3.3m people and has a multi-billion pound economy. However, currently the economy here is disparate and not very well connected.
* The National Infrastructure Commission or NIC, it its report ‘Partnering for Prosperity: A New Deal for the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford Arc’ suggests the Arc could be a focus for accelerated economic development as a single coherent unit.
* Support has been given in the 2017 Autumn Budget to begin putting the infrastructure to support the Arc in place.
* A major new motorway-standard road, the Oxford-Cambridge Expressway, could be built through the centre of the CaMkOx Arc, opening up huge areas for development. Assuming it goes ahead work on the road is likely to start in the early 2020s.
* A new rail line, East West Rail, could also run right through the Arc. The Oxford-Bicester section is already open, and if the proposals go ahead the line will open from Oxford to Milton Keynes and Bedford in 2023 and to Cambridge in 2030. There is potential to open up complete new stations on the line.
* NIC recommends that the Government should progress work on East West Rail, the Expressway and new settlements through a single delivery masterplan. In other words, there could be direct Government action to develop the Arc – it won’t just be up to local authorities to pursue a few unconnected schemes.
* NIC suggest that as well as expanding existing settlements the plan here should be to unlock large scale opportunities for housing growth. This could include whole new settlements of between 10,000-150,000 new homes …. some of which could have city standing.
* The NIC report adds that the proposed route of East West Rail is already attracting interest from house builders and developers in areas that are currently poorly connected.
* Potentially up to one million new homes could be built across the CaMkOx Arc by 2050. The Government has already reached a deal with Oxfordshire to provide 100,000 homes in their part of the Arc by 2030.
While some of this might be a concern for some of the people who live in the Arc its clear that CaMkOx could be big, very big, for property and for the whole country. There is potential to completely transform the property market in the south east, and perhaps even solve the region’s housing crisis.