In March 2016, the government’s infrastructure adviser the ‘National Infrastructure Commission’ (NIC) was asked to produce proposals for unlocking growth, housing and jobs in the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford corridor.
In its interim report, published in November, the NIC said that a lack of housing presents a “fundamental risk” to the success of the corridor and could only be tackled with the creation of a single strategic plan for the area.
Now, the NIC has published a discussion paper to help progress debate on how an integrated strategic plan for infrastructure, housing and jobs across the corridor can be developed and delivered.
Designed and scoped in this way, the development of an integrated strategic plan, and the definition of a 2050 spatial vision, might provide a mechanism through which local authorities can reach agreement on the distribution of development across administrative boundaries.
Rather than require each local authority to meet its local housing and employment needs within its own area (a principle implicit in the National Planning Policy Framework), or negotiate hand-to-hand with neighbouring authorities, the development of an integrated strategic plan would provide a framework and a process for defining housing/ employment land needs and allocations across a wider geography.
For many this could be considered reminiscent of regional spatial strategies. The NIC is inviting responses to the issues raised in the paper by 31 May 2017.