The Present Situation
in Cambridge

In this section:

Pressures for Growth

  • As a world-renowned University town and a prime centre for research and technology, Cambridge enjoys a high standard of living and low unemployment.

  • To sustain economic growth, larger firms need to be attracted into the region. This is needed to fund ever more expensive research and to create employment choice for high-profile, internationally sought-after managers, whilst supporting training grounds for new managers and entrepreneurs.

  • Forecasts show that 33,000 new jobs will be created in the Cambridge region within the next ten years. This will take the number of jobs in the City and its fringe to 100,000 (from over 70,000 today).

  • Aspirations to divert high-tech companies to the north and east of the County have not been all that successful as growth usually takes place within existing sites, or new companies are attracted to Cambridge for contacts and prestige.

  • Current levels of household growth are expected to rise sharply in the area, because of increased population and smaller households. Some growth will occur in areas where planning permission has been granted, but new areas need to be developed.

Pressures for restraint

  • For residents, commuters and visitors alike it is important that the attributes which initially attracted them to the City are not spoilt.

  • The primary, quantifiable restraint on growth is traffic congestion. This is identified as the most serious problem for residents. Accidents, air pollution and delays are foremost concerns. Access roads, streets and parking areas in the City are full to capacity. The trunk road system has also reached its limit.

  • Development in the countryside and villages is encountering vociferous opposition. Councillors are more sensitive to the need for restraint on growth. Some of the objections have an ecological basis, others relate to life style maintenance.

  • Demand for services such as water, etc., is increasing due to the trend for higher consumption as incomes grow. As one of the driest areas in the country, the trend towards higher water consumption is of great concern in East Anglia.

  • Presssure to build on any available land, including flood plains, could cause serious problems in the region. Increasing urbanisation reduces the drainage capacity of the land, entailing higher flood risks.

  • There is a growing perception of the desirability of a sustainable approach to society. This is embodied in the United Nations Local Agenda 21 policies gradually being adopted by local authorities, which act as increasingly pervasive restraints on growth.

To Cambridge Future