Vision for Oxford Cambridge ARC Spatial Framework statement

Leader of Buckinghamshire Council, Cllr Martin Tett, said: “Buckinghamshire Council, along with the Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership and the University of Buckingham withdrew from the so called ‘Oxford to Cambridge ARC’ Leaders’ Group last October.

As a new unitary council, and one of the biggest in the South East , Buckinghamshire wants to be in control of its own future economic development and housing decisions, rather than potentially have these imposed upon it by votes from other areas as far away as Corby and the Fenlands. We also wish to support our businesses develop opportunities wherever they occur, rather than be confined within a completely artificial geography such as the ARC.

At the time we withdrew, we wished the very best to those councils who wanted to remain within the ARC Leaders Group, and agreed we would continue to cooperate with them and indeed other councils and LEPs on a case-by-case basis.

The Government has launched a consultation which sets out their intention to prepare a ‘Spatial Framework’, which is to all intents a Regional Spatial Plan, for the ARC. This would potentially set the direction and scale of new development, in particular new housing, across a wide area between Oxford and Cambridge. This Framework will be legally binding upon councils when they come to prepare their own Local Plans, effectively overruling local communities and democratically elected councils’ wishes.

Buckinghamshire Council will now be taking the opportunity of the consultation to reiterate our position to Government and would ask our local communities to support us and submit responses that make the point that plans for Bucks should be made in Bucks in consultation with our communities, not subject to ‘top down’ targets decided in Whitehall.”