Investment in the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford ‘Growth Corridor’ is one of the surest ways of propelling the UK economy, providing growth opportunities for the country as a whole, argues a new report produced by LDA Design and launched at MIPIM UK today. Get investment right – and in the right places – and by 2050 the Growth Corridor could be performing as powerfully as Silicon Valley, putting scientific research at the heart of the national economy.
The Growth Corridor is an alignment of many of the UK’s fastest growing and most productive towns and cities. Home to world-leading research, from the Cambridge Stem Cell Institute and Culham Science Centre through to the development of prototype quantum computers and autonomous vehicles, the Corridor is an incubator and test bed for innovations and technological advances that are changing the way we live, work and relate to one another. It already has a booming economy and an enviable setting, offering a myriad of great places to live with immediate access to an outstanding natural environment.
The report maps comprehensively – and for the first time – the area’s scientific-based assets and key business sectors. These are seen as critical drivers for national economic growth, spearheading the incubation, testing and commercialisation of innovations that are helping to transform society. It emphasises the importance of investing in the right kind of infrastructure in the right places to help deliver inter-connected city regions that can ultimately rival the largest science-based clusters in the world, delivering innovations and technologies that can catalyse further growth across the UK.
LDA Design Board Director Charles Crawford explained the vision behind the report:
“The Corridor’s scientific assets and highly skilled workforce are already the envy of the world. As such, it has a huge role to play in the delivery of the government’s Industrial Strategy. However, achieving the forecast levels of transformational growth is not guaranteed. It will require significant investment to overcome infrastructure challenges and exploit opportunities presented by the convergence of technologies. It will also require careful planning to support the creation of high quality, sustainable and inter-connected places that people will want to invest, live and work in.”
The report was commissioned by Central Bedfordshire Council, in partnership with the Growth Corridor Local Enterprise Partnerships (South East Midlands LEP, Oxfordshire LEP, Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership, and Buckinghamshire and Thames Valley LEP). It is the first time this partnership, drawn from across the Corridor, has come together to promote investment opportunities at MIPIM UK.
The Growth Corridor LEPs, working in partnership with public and private stakeholders, are leading the development and implementation of local industrial strategies for the area. These strategies will build upon the vision and key messages set out in the document, identifying the essential infrastructure and economic development investment priorities that will be required to deliver sustainable growth.
Commenting on the report, Jason Longhurst, Director, Regeneration and Business Support, Central Bedfordshire Council, said:
“The report highlights that the Growth Corridor is rich in assets and is already one of the most innovative and economically successful areas of the UK. It is in the future potential of the area where we are seeing some significant projections. Our economy, which currently supports 1.8 million jobs, is expected to increase by 700,000 jobs by 2050. And we’re looking at a £163 billion increase in annual gross value added (GVA).”
Download the report here. LDA Design’s Charles Crawford is available for interview.