Commercial Property Partner and East West Corridor Champion at Howes Percival, Lisa Mantle discusses the Government’s decision to name the region the Oxford-Cambridge Arc.
After nearly 2 years of name juggling, Government has fixed upon the Oxford-Cambridge Arc (the “Arc”) for the geographic area shown. They finally fixed upon the Arc in Government’s ambition and joint declaration between Government and local partners published earlier this month. It has been fun considering Turing’s Way, The Growth sausage, The Innovation Sandpit or the Supercluster but no, Government has chosen a name which, while shorter than the cumbersome Cambridge – Milton Keynes – Oxford Growth corridor or Arc, is not quite as inclusive as before. They have played it safe. I think they may have missed an opportunity to be bolder, creating a more innovative option in favour of naming the two worldwide recognised brands at its edges. I for one, will not mourn the passing of CaMKOx but think it is a shame that Milton Keynes has been taken out of the Arc. I wonder what this will do towards engendering buy-in and inclusivity for those regions (Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire) which sit between the Ming vases at the ends and hope that the “once in a lifetime” transformational potential recognised by the NIC over the whole piece achieves the ambitions for diversity and inclusivity I was really hoping it would. That said, all of the Local Authority Leaders and Chairs of the Local Enterprise Partnerships across the Arc welcomed the willingness of Government to work in partnership with them and announced that they are ready to work through the challenges initially to strengthen the vision and in the longer term the shared ambition. Fingers crossed they are ready.