What is the Oxford-Cambridge Arc?
The Oxford-Cambridge Arc is that part of central England, from Oxford to Cambridge, encompassing the Silverstone cluster, Milton Keynes and Northampton which lies at the heart of the UK’s fast growing high-value knowledge-based businesses. It has been recognised that these areas already demonstrate higher than average growth year on year.
The Government has decided to name the area the Oxford-Cambridge Arc but is still referred to by a host of alternative names. The Supercluster is being promoted by the Silverstone cluster who point out that it is actually a cluster of clusters. The brain belt, or Turing Arch, nod to the bio tech, space tech and automotive tech coming out of the Universities along, and at both ends of, the corridor and the coding innovation. CaMKOx, the Cambridge – Milton Keynes – Oxford Corridor, growth corridor or arc are also widely used.
The Arc is the UK’s 'hothouse' for world leading science, innovation and technology based industries. It contains world leaders in high-performance engineering, advanced manufacturing, motorsport, digital creative and life sciences. This growth has happened with limited encouragement, building on the world-leading Universities in its midst.
The area is already seen as an economic success, England’s Economic Heartland (EEH) identified 175,000 businesses employing over 1.64 million people adding over £92.5billion gross value to the national pot in its October 2016 report, but there is a real belief that the potential for economic growth is far higher. The Arc is now getting support. The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) supports improved connectivity focusing on improving the rail and road links between Cambridge, Milton Keynes and Oxford and through EEH and SEMLEP initiatives, local government is committed to working together towards the collective goal.
To allow the Arc to be the best it can be certain key things have been identified: improved East-West connectivity: rail network and road network enhancements; housing developments to supply the workforce required to sustain the growth; and cooperation. It is a fantastic opportunity to shape the corridor for years to come with intelligent solutions to transport, housing, IT connectivity.