Thursday, 20 March 2014

Greater Cambridge Welcomes Game Changing Billion Pound City Deal

Council leaders, businesses and the University of Cambridge have welcomed a Government announcement today to back a City Deal which could unlock £1billion of investment for the Greater Cambridge area.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced at Parliament in his Budget statement on Wednesday, a grant of up to £500 million through a "GainShare" Deal.

The Deal aims to secure hundreds of millions of pounds of additional funding for investment in transport infrastructure to support high quality economic and housing growth over the coming decades.

It follows more than a year of negotiations with central Government by Cambridge City Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council, Cambridgeshire County Council, The University of Cambridge and the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership.

Members from all three Councils will consider the details of the proposed Deal over the next two weeks.

In addition to funding for transport, the Deal would see the three councils (Cambridge City, South Cambridgeshire District and Cambridgeshire County Council) pooling some of their own separate funding and powers, and working even more closely than now. This would allow for the creation of a single strategic vision for the future of the area covered by Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire.

Partners were invited to negotiate a city deal in autumn 2012.

Councillor Martin Curtis, Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, said: "We welcome this news today and will now be looking carefully at the detail. But it could be a real game changer, moving the economy of Greater Cambridge and the wider County towards becoming a real economic powerhouse. The improvements will see a step change in transport infrastructure that will create jobs and boost the local economy. The success of this will also be felt outside the Cambridge area so all our communities benefit."

Councillor Tim Bick, Leader of Cambridge City Council, said: ""People trying to find a home and people spending an ever longer time in traffic are offered hope for the future with the result of this lengthy negotiation. Our otherwise stunningly successful local economy is in danger of being held back. This big extra infrastructure investment will speed the delivery of much needed housing developments outside the city and strengthen public transport and cycling options inside the city. The commitment by the three local councils for fully joined-up decision making over planning and transport policy enables real leadership for the area."

Councillor Ray Manning, Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, added: "We have worked really hard with our partners to negotiate a deal on the right terms for our communities, and the news today moves us a step closer to unlocking up to a billion pounds of investment. This funding could prove to be a vital piece of the jigsaw in delivering the roads and transport links needed to support thousands of new jobs being created, as well as much-needed high quality housing for the area."

Grahame Nix, Chief Executive of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership, said: "We are pleased that the strong support that local businesses have shown for the Greater Cambridge City Deal has been recognised by Government. The City Deal will deliver real benefits for the local area, providing the support it needs to enable economic growth both now and in the future. The LEP looks forward to working with partners further to deliver these important improvements to infrastructure and housing."

Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, said: "This is great news for Cambridge. We look forward to working with our partners to deliver housing and transport improvements that will help us to innovate and sustain economic growth, while protecting the features that make Cambridge such an attractive place to work, study and live."