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Campaigners offer five alternatives to Oxford-Cambridge Arc

Words: Huw Morris

Campaigners are proposing five alternatives to the Oxford-Cambridge Arc, which they claim are less damaging and more sustainable.


Smart Growth UK said the arc concept, which is based on the quality of universities, historic cities and knowledge-intensive businesses and workforces, could be introduced in other parts of England if combined with four sustainability requirements.

These are brownfield development land, high-quality public transport, a need for economic regeneration and no acute housing shortage.

The group, an “informal coalition” of national and local groups and individuals” promoting compact and functional urban areas with sustainable transport, identifies five “strong candidates” for the arc approach. These are Wolverhampton-Birmingham-Coventry, Newcastle-Sunderland-Middlesbrough, Nottingham-Derby, Manchester-Salford-Bolton and Leeds-Bradford-Huddersfield.

“These five demonstrate both the potential, the need for growth and an ability to accommodate it,” said the campaigners.

Smart Growth UK added that the original Oxford-Cambridge Corridor had now grown to five counties plus Peterborough, “lacks any real unifying economic or political feature” with relatively small urban centres separated by “huge areas of open country”.

The Smart Growth study can be found here.

Image credit | iStock