The Arc is the major government economic development scheme for the counties stretching from Oxford to Cambridge, originally associated with the apparently defunct East-West Expressway. A recent consultation is vague about numbers, but those previously associated with the scheme envisaged a million new dwellings across the counties, and doubling the population of Oxfordshire.
The Council is by no means against growth, but we believe growth on the scale apparently envisaged for this region is undesirable for a number of reasons:
- The scheme seems potentially to cut out the local planning process.
- Oxfordshire has high employment and a buoyant economy. A proposal on this scale will generate more jobs and the associated housing across north Oxfordshire on top of the 100K houses already planned for the county.
- The proposals are inconsistent with the government's own levelling up agenda; the emphasis should be on boosting the economy in other areas of the country that need it.
- The power of virtual working means that there is not the same need to link the two university towns by a series of new towns.
- The proposals are just not sustainable in a crowded part of south eat of England.
- Whilst the government has scrapped the Expressway there is a real possibility that this will happen by default along the line of the Arc.
- The proposals will destroy further large swathes of green space.
- The proposal do not fit with the need to do everything in our power to reduce the risks posed by climate change.