A pan regional partnership to drive the Ox-Cam Arc has won the support of the Government.

Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove has endorsed the formation of the Oxford to Cambridge Pan Regional Partnership, made up of leaders from local councils, local enterprise partnerships, the Arc Universities Group and the area’s transport body, England’s Economic Heartland. It will unlock access to up to £2.5 million Government funding.

The partnership’s initial programme is to:

  • Develop propositions to attract international investment
  • Pursue work already underway to establish environmental principles

A shadow board has been set up and recruitment will now begin to appoint someone to chair the group.

The shadow board is made up of:

  • Cllr Barry Wood, leader of Cherwell District Council (pictured), who will be interim chair
  • Cllr Susan Brown, leader of Oxford City Council, representing the Future Oxfordshire Partnership
  • Cllr Pete Marland, leader of Milton Keynes City Council, representing the Central Area Growth Board
  • Cllr Richard Wenham, leader of Central Bedfordshire Council, representing the Central Area Growth Board and chair of England’s Economic Heartland
  • Cllr Anna Smith, leader of Cambridge City Council, representing the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority
  • Prof Alistair Fitt, pro-vice chancellor of Oxford Brookes University, sitting as chair of the Arc Universities Group
  • Peter Horrocks, chair of regional LEPs and business boards, who will chair the economy sub-group
  • Cllr Bridget Smith, leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, who will chair the environment sub-group

Interim chair Cllr Wood said: “We believe that by working together the whole Oxford to Cambridge region can be greater than the sum of its parts.

“With official status as a pan-regional partnership backed by Government, we can unlock potential and further strengthen our area’s position as a hub of innovation; a globally recognised region of science and technology that delivers prosperity for our communities.

“It will enable us to better achieve inclusive and sustainable outcomes for residents, business and the environment.”

Cllr Liz Leffman, leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said: “This is a welcome step forward for partners across the Oxford to Cambridge area who are in a strong position to work together to create conditions for economic growth underpinned by environmental sustainability.

“Now that this official status has been bestowed we can work more intensively towards our common aims and the benefits they will bring to residents across our individual areas.”

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