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The National Infrastructure Commission is pushing for up to 1 million new houses across the Arc by 2050.

To give you an idea of the scale:

  • that’s the equivalent of 20 new cities the size of Cambridge!

  • the entire county of Oxfordshire currently has around 300,000 houses

  • it would be a 330% increase over the combined amount of housing development (about 230,000 houses) currently proposed or being built in the Arc area.


It would drive an increase in population of 1.9million people, way above Office of National Statistics projections for the natural levels of growth for this area.

Development on this scale would:

  • have a dramatic impact on our rural counties, leading to loss of valuable greenfield land and significant impacts on landscape, tranquillity and the historic environment

  • fail existing residents, taking decisions on growth away from local communities and their elected representatives

  • make it much harder, if not  impossible, to meet our biodiversity and climate change commitments.  It takes over 50 tonnes of CO2 to build the average UK house, so we need to be really sure we are building the right houses in the right place

  • encourage London overflow and not be designed to meet the needs of local residents and businesses

  • be unlikely to deliver the genuinely affordable housing that is really needed. There is a significant requirement for social and other low-cost housing for people on average incomes or below within the Arc area. We see no evidence to suggest that the Arc proposals will do anything more to achieve this than the current failed delivery mechanisms

  • undermine the ‘levelling up’ agenda – directing investment to the over-heated south-east, rather than to other parts of the country where urban regeneration is critical.

For all these reasons, the Arc should be strongly challenged.

We believe that:

  • the amount of development, and its timescale, should be based on natural growth

  • brownfield land should be developed first. Green Belt, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and Special Landscape Areas should be protected with any development there as a last resort under proven and justified exceptional circumstances

  • genuinely affordable and social housing should be made available, in perpetuity, to address local need

  • higher densities of development, consistent with the character of an area, should become standard, to avoid losing more land than necessary.



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Countryside scenes from Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire

Planning should:

  • be democratic and place local communities at the centre

  • be locally-led and based on up-to-date local plans

  • have sustainable development at its heart.


See our Joint Vision for Planning.

This could affect you!  Please bring this website to the attention of your local Parish or Town Council and your neighbours.  Write to your MP and local ward councillors.

If you share our concerns, please join usHow you can helpChallenge the Arc!

Challenge the Arc!  Contact us by clicking here.

Oxford - Milton Keynes - Bedford - St Neots - Cambourne - Cambridge - development