The Oxford to Cambridge corridor could be a region that is “no longer reliant on the car” after a scheme based on a network of cycle routes won a National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) competition.
The vision, named VeloCity, focused on six villages to the south east of a new station on the Oxford to Cambridge rail link as a test to look at how a cluster of villages might evolve over a 30 year period.
The proposals include a network of local, medium and longer distance cycle and pedestrian routes, connected to the new East West rail and road links which will join major towns and cities.
VeloCity is a collaboration between Jennifer Ross of Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design, Sarah Featherstone of Featherstone Young, Kay Hughes of Khaa, Petra Marko of Marko and Placemakers, Annalie Riches of Mikhail Riches and Judith Sykes of Expedition Engineering.
The winning team
Source: Agnese Sanvito
Tibbalds planning and urban design director and VeloCity team leader Jennifer Ross said: “The successful implementation of this strategy allows for traditional planning policy to be turned on its head and locations that were previously seen as unsuitable for growth transformed into well-connected and sustainable places.
“It also considers how the visions might be delivered over time and the key actions and interventions that would need to be taken to make it happen. It is a people-centred vision that shows how communities could get involved and shape the places in which they live.”
The Oxford to Cambridge corridor has been highlighted as an area with the potential to unlock economic growth. The region is home to 3.3M people, and its success is threatened by housing constraints and transport pressures, the NIC said. A report published by the commission last month said the East West rail and Oxford to Cambridge expressway schemes must be built as quickly as possible.
Ross added: “We’re absolutely thrilled to win. The six of us met taking part in women’s cycling events and became friends through a shared interest in designing places that put the pedestrian and cyclist first…We spent a lot of time discussing density and place-making and how the implementation of new public transport infrastructure can change the way we plan for and think about building successful communities.”
Each of the four shortlisted teams won an honorarium of £10,000.