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Ox-Cam Arc is 'devastating blow for local democracy and the countryside'

Ox-Cam Arc is 'devastating blow for local democracy and the countryside'

The Government acceptance of recommendations from the National Infrastructure Commission to develop the Oxford-Cambridge Arc despite no formal public consultation, environmental assessment or parliamentary enquiry having taken place, is a ‘devastating blow for local democracy and the countryside’, says CPRE.

The National Infrastructure Commission has recommended a million new houses in the Arc by 2050, a million new jobs, and the Oxford-Cambridge Expressway – a brand new major road, which is, in effect, a motorway by stealth.

However, CPRE welcomed the pledge for a ‘Joint Vision Statement’, but stressed the need for a full public consultation on the proposals, not one limited to ‘local partners’.

Paul Miner, head of strategic plans and devolution at the Campaign to Protect Rural England said:

"That the government has accepted the NIC’s recommendation for growth in the Oxford-Cambridge Arc, without formal public consultation or an environmental assessment, is a devastating blow for local democracy and the countryside.

"It seems the government remains wedded to its 'growth at all costs' approach. Despite clear commitments to new houses and a new road, the Government has made only vague statements on housing design and levels of affordable housing, with no assurances that the Arc will be an example of sustainable development.

"It is imperative that a Strategic Environmental Assessment is conducted. The assessment must look at the impacts of both the proposed 1 million homes and major new road on the countryside, people’s health and well-being, and climate change in a holistic manner."

CPRE are calling for a full parliamentary inquiry into the proposals, a proper planning process with local involvement, an Arc-wide commitment to high standards of affordable housing provision and design, commitments for protection and improvement of the environment, and a focus on improvements to public transport, not a new road.

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