A new government deal for the “brain belt” could bring developments of up to 150,000 new homes to Buckinghamshire.
The Pros perity Report, published on Friday by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), an advisory government department, recommends that home building is doubled, transport infrastructure is improved and powers are devolved to local authorities, in the “Cambridge to Milton Keynes to Oxford Arc”.
According to the publication, these steps should be taken to maximise the prosperity of the region, as part of a project championed by the NIC since March 2016.
Aylesbury could benefit from a rail link between the town and Milton Keynes, via an upgrade of an existing freight line, if plans go ahead, and a better service into London with the promise of ‘faster journeys’.
Cllr Martin Tett, the leader of Bucks County Council and chairman of England’s Economic Heartland Strategic Alliance, said: “There is much to welcome in this report. It is critically important that growth is enabled by the provision of new infrastructure.
“However, to be truly successful this must be more than just transport and include, for example, new utilities, high speed broadband, health services, education, parks and open space and skills.
“We also welcome the NIC’s view that the identification of areas for growth should be led by local authorities, not imposed ‘top down’.
“The Heartland Alliance clearly presents the base on which to build new, strategic, cross corridor planning and delivery vehicles. The Government does not have to start from scratch and risk losing the momentum already developed.”
The report also considers the ‘intensification and expansion’ of Milton Keynes to be a key opportunity for the area, suggesting that the population could rise to half a million people.
A ‘new garden town west of Cambridge’ supported by a new train station on the East to West Rail line could also find a home in Buckinghamshire.
Andrew M Smith, chairman of Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership, welcomed the report:
“We are delighted that the significant economic potential of the area has been recognised at a national level and that many of the infrastructure requirements have been included.”