Cambridge is a Partner City in the Centre for Cities research programme ‘Unlocking City Potential and Sustaining City Growth’. The programme works closely with a small group of cities to inform economic development strategies and improve economic performance. This report looks at how housing, transport and the economy interact and sets out policy analysis and recommendations in response to three principal questions:
- What is the impact of Cambridge’s growth on the wider economy?
- How can transport be used to support sustainable economic growth in Cambridge?
- How can housing policy in Cambridge help to overcome affordability challenges and support sustainable economic growth?
Cambridge is a key economic driver for the wider region and an asset for the UK as a whole, attracting investment in knowledge intensive industries that otherwise might not have come to the UK at all. But success is creating emerging transport and housing bottlenecks which need to be addressed to ensure future sustainable growth and maintain quality of life. This report sets out how Cambridge’s Local Authorities need to respond:
- Investing in Cambridge as a regional economic driver. The Local Authorities that make up Cambridge’s core functional labour market operate within a shared economy and have a common purpose. They must collaborate more closely with each other to tackle emerging bottlenecks, particularly around transport and housing. They must also strengthen collaboration with the East of England Development Agency (EEDA), the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), the Greater Cambridge Partnership and Cambridgeshire Horizons. Our analysis shows that the six Local Authorities making up Cambridge’s core functional labour market are: Cambridge City Council, SouthCambridgeshire District Council, East Cambridgeshire District Council, Forest Heath District Council, Huntingdonshire District Council and St. Edmundsbury District Council.
- Supporting sustainable growth through transport. Cambridgeshire County Council should investigate ways to bring together transport and planning powers to support sustainable economic growth across the wider Cambridge region, take action to reduce congestion and increase the use of sustainable transport. In particular, the Council needs to act quickly on the Congestion Transport Innovation Fund (C-TIF) and pursue its bid in the next six months – otherwise the money for transport funding is unlikely to be there.
- Supporting sustainable growth through housing. Increasing the supply of affordable housing in the Cambridge travel to work area (TTWA) should continue to be the number one housing policy priority of the City Council and surrounding District Councils. Measures to achieve this should include purchasing lower value land and housing stock during the recession and, over the medium term, working with institutional investors to grow a larger, more flexible intermediate and private rented sector.