Re-opening of the east-west rail line the starting point for delivering one million homes between Cambridge and Oxford

An application has been submitted by Network Rail to the Secretary of State to re-open the western section of the east-west rail line from Bicester through to Bedford. This infrastructure development has been labelled as the catalyst for contributing an additional £160 billion to the national economy by 2050.

The Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford arc is home to some of the UK’s most innovative and productive commercial activity but is hampered by inadequate infrastructure and an undersupply of housing. The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) are calling for greater local powers to encourage privately-led development for up to one million new houses in the arc by 2050. To achieve this rate of housing growth, the NIC state there needs to be significant involvement from both the public and private sector.

Is such growth realistically achievable? Without the full commitment of all relevant bodies, it is doubtful. However, the submission of the application by Network Rail is the first major hurdle to be overcome and at the very least will kickstart the delivery of much needed housing growth within the Bedford—Bicester section of the arc.

Author: Robbie Locke

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