Statement from Mayor Dr Nik Johnson on Cambridge 2040
Many residents in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will have read a report in The Times this weekend, stating the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) Minister’s, Michael Gove, ambition to turn Cambridge into Britain’s Silicon Valley, or Silicon Fen.
The lack of local communication regarding this has been disappointing, but I hope to rectify that by inviting Mr Gove and DLUHC officials to Cambridge to discuss their ambition of Cambridge 2040 further. Whilst everyone would welcome greater Government investment into our dynamic region, I believe that clear lines of communication between the Minister and Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority must be maintained in order to deliver effectively for the Greater Cambridge area.
The strength of the Greater Cambridge economy means we will need more affordable homes in the decades ahead, to provide good quality homes for all. However, these homes can only come with proper infrastructure in place and be sustainable for future generations. And they must be built in collaboration with local communities.
Greater Cambridge is facing very real infrastructure and environmental constraints, particularly regarding water supply. Work is already underway to enable Greater Cambridge’s current and emerging local plans without damaging chalk streams. This work is reliant on the successful delivery of new reservoirs and requires close working with the Environment Agency, DEFRA and Local Councils.
As Mayor I want to ensure the entire Cambridgeshire & Peterborough region benefits from future investment. To achieve this, we need to ensure that decisions about future infrastructure spending at not made in isolation, but are aligned to our region’s developing infrastructure strategy.
I welcome references to a Government desire to invest more in a better public transport system. In Cambridgeshire and Peterborough we are already looking at reforming the bus network to provide better connectivity. We are also championing rail projects, such as East West Rail, Ely Junction, Wisbech Rail and the Snailwell loop, which will enable better connectivity in and around the region, supporting the internationally significant businesses that call it home.
We are exploring sustainable, bottom-up solutions for the infrastructure constraints in Greater Cambridgeshire. I will be writing to Mr Gove and DLUHC officials, seeking to convene a meeting with local leaders. I campaigned on a platform of “Collaboration”, I look forward to working with both DLUHC and local councils to tackle the challenges that exist in the region currently and supporting sustainable world-class innovation across the region.