Cambridge Futures:
The Conclusions - 1

New Town

Comparing the Options

Economic efficiency

  • All the options would add to the cost of living and production in the region, owing to increased transport congestion and restrictions on land development. However some options would increase these costs even further, threatening the area’s economic prosperity.

  • Options which severely restrict development in and around the City such as Option 1: Minimum Growth and Option 7: New Town, would add between 76% and 83% to the average cost of living during the period 2001-2016. Production costs would increase by between 48% and 54%, making it difficult for export industries and services such as the high-tech sector to compete in international markets. Traditional industries and services would find it difficult to maintain their operations, leading to closures and redundancies.

  • Options which encourage development in and around the City such as Option 2: Densification and Option 4: Green Swap, would increase the cost of living and production costs within manageable proportions. They would add between 1% and 1.5% per annum to export costs during the period 2001-2016. This would augur well for the area’s economic prosperity as the higher costs would be counteracted by expected efficiency increases during the period.

  • Intermediate options which allow a measure of development within and around the City, such as Option 5: Transport Links, do not perform as well as the options which encourage development, but they do perform much better than those which impose severe restrictions on the development of the City and its surrounding area.

Social equity

  • With the higher cost of living, particularly in the City, the segregation of socio-economic groups would increase. The City and surrounding area would become the preserve of the wealthy professional and managerial classes. Manual and unskilled households would be displaced unless protected by Council housing provision.

  • Housing affordability would become a major issue with young people unable to compete in the housing market, and low income groups would be forced into cramped and substandard accommodation. The option of living beyond the Green Belt and commuting into the City and its fringe employment locations would become unviable because of congestion.

  • Options which severely restrict development in and around the City such as Option 1: Minimum Growth, Option 3: Necklace, Option 6: Virtual Highway and Option 7: New Town, would increase the segregation of the City as prices rise. Only the top income groups could afford to live in the City.

  • Options which allow a measure of development in and around the City such as Option 2: Densification, Option 4: Green Swap and Option 5: Transport Links, would improve the socio-economic mix, encouraging more balanced communities. In any case, even with these options, the City and South Cambridgeshire would have a greater proportion of higher income groups, while Huntingdonshire and East Cambridgeshire would have a higher proportion of lower income groups.

Environmental quality

  • All the options would add to road congestion because of the increased activity in the region and limited supply of infrastructure. However, some of the options would lengthen traffic delays within the City considerably, increasing emissions and thus pollution.

  • Options which encourage development of the City and its surrounding area such as Option 2: Densification and Option 4: Green Swap, would increase traffic on the City’s existing roads. Despite a higher proportion of people not using their cars, the sheer number of people in the area would increase vehicular traffic, raising congestion levels and consequently emissions and pollution.

  • Options which severely restrict development of the City and its surrounding area such as Option 1: Minimum Growth and Option 3: Necklace, would heighten traffic in the access roads to the City and its fringe, increasing congestion and pollution.

  • Options which introduce alternative forms of communication such as Option 6: Virtual Highway, Option 5: Transport Links and to some extent Option 7: New Town, perform much better in terms of congestion and thus pollution.

  • All the options use existing open space in some form or another. In some cases, such as Option 2: Densification or Option 4: Green Swap, private open space within or around the City (in the Green Belt) is used. In other cases such as Option 1: Minimum Growth, Option 3: Necklace, Option 6: Virtual Highway or Option 7: New Town, agricultural open space is used beyond South Cambridgeshire (Option 1) beyond the Green Belt (Option 3), in dispersed areas on the Virtual Highway (Option 6) or in one location (Option 7).

  • Option 5: Transport Links would utilise a mixture of existing ‘brown’ land (underutilised or derelict) near the railways to provide employment opportunities and ‘green’ land (ie, agricultural) in villages or new developments near existing or potential rail stations. Thus it would minimise the intake of open space.

  • Man-made amenities, especially in the City and around it, would be more affected by options which encourage development within or around the City. The character of the place might change to become a more compact city in Option 2: Densification or larger city in Option 4: Green Swap, weakening the image of Cambridge as a University town within a rural setting.

  • Man-made amenities within the City and its fringe would not be affected in options which restrict development in the City and surrounding area. This is particularly the case in Option 1: Minimum Growth, Option 3: Necklace and Option 7: New Town.

 

About the conclusions

This is the first of 2 pages summarising the results of the study.

This first page compares the 7 scenarios ion terms of economic efficiency, social equity, and environmental quality.

The second page groups the options and summarises their overall merits.

 

 

To Conclusions 2