While the property sector sees the positives of the consultation on the Ox-Cam Arc, there was a cautionary note among the experts who responded to our request for comments.
Politics has long been the Arc’s biggest obstacle but, as Rob Allaway of DevComms points out, there is also a low level of awareness of the Arc among the wider population.
And that could mean hurdles in the years ahead. Experience suggests a great many people will fail to engage until someone announces plans to build 1,000 homes in their back yards. And that could be a scenario repeated in many locations.
The potential battles against individual developments across the whole Arc region could make the process slower and more costly. Perhaps changes to the planning system, which seem to be happening in parallel, will smooth the path for the Arc.
Since before the Arc was proposed, some have argued that building new settlements, rather than extending existing ones, was a preferable route to take to achieve housing numbers.
Given that the Arc is all about sustainability, this would seem a great opportunity to create new towns, built with the Arc’s fundamentally sustainable vision in mind.
Perhaps that might mean giving up some Green Belt land, an irony in environmental terms.
But, as we’ve seen at Reading Golf Club and other sites, residents’ groups can be powerful in fighting developments on their doorsteps.
We know there are plenty of smart minds helping the Arc to become a reality but bringing the public with them may not be easy.
You only have to look at Heathrow Airport to see what opposition to major development can do.
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