The success of the Greater Cambridge (see glossary) economy is of national importance. Greater Cambridge has grown as a centre for high technology employment since the 1970s, and is seen as a world leader in innovation, much of it as a result of ideas coming out of the University of Cambridge and new companies starting up and expanding.
However, our local economy is not just about technology. Other types of industry and agriculture also play an important role and ensure a variety of jobs for local people. Greater Cambridge is also a thriving education, retail, leisure and tourist destination, which all provide jobs. It is important that the city centre continues to provide a wide range of uses including shopping, leisure, entertainment, museums, university faculty buildings and colleges, offices and housing. There are also district and local centres in the city, and village centres at a range of scales, which meet more local needs, as well as providing valuable and varied employment. New town centres are being developed at Northstowe, and soon at the new town north of Waterbeach.
If we do not plan for enough jobs of the right types, this could lead to a range of consequences, including local firms not finding suitable affordable buildings for their needs, companies moving elsewhere (including outside the UK), and increased commuting out of the area. It could also mean not enough services and shopping in our area, forcing people to travel outside of Greater Cambridge.
The Councils have committed to a goal of doubling the total economic output of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough area over 25 years (measured as Gross Value Added (see glossary) – GVA – which measures the value of goods and services produced in the area). This vision formed part of the devolution deal with government which created the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (see glossary). It has implications for future jobs and homes growth in our area.
The 2018 Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Independent Economic Review (CPIER) showed that our recent employment growth has been faster than previously forecast. It considered future scenarios regarding continuation of that growth, including those that achieve the goal to double GVA (see glossary) over 25 years.
The next Local Plan (see glossary) needs to identify the number and type of jobs that should be planned for, so that we can find appropriate sites for business growth. It will also be important to consider how the plan provides flexibility so that if this ambitious economic growth is achieved, it is accompanied by the homes and infrastructure to support it. The new research that we have commissioned will help us with this. For more detail on what this may mean for housing growth, see the Homes section.
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