Response to the Oxford-Cambridge Arc

RESPONSE TO Creating a Vision for the Oxford-Cambridge Arc

Potterspury is a village of some 1,500 inhabitants located in the south of West Northamptonshire Council, situated between Stony Stratford (Milton Keynes) and Towcester (West Northamptonshire) on the A5. Some of our parish contains parts of the ancient forest of Whittlewood. 

Given the scale of ambitions for the Oxford-Cambridge Arc and the lack of detail as yet, we can only comment in broad terms.

1. Connectivity

Potterspury is not specifically mentioned within this consultation, but we assume that the Oxford-Cambridge Arc scheme is being coordinated with the plans for MK 2050, in which speculative proposals for a transport hub are centred on Potterspury. Potterspury is not in the area of Milton Keynes Council.

Located as it is alongside the A5, Potterspury is some 2 miles north of the Old Stratford junction between the A5, A508 and A421 and is already adversely affected by the increase in commuter traffic on the north-south route between Milton Keynes and points north.

We are also adversely affected by long-distance north-south traffic that is often diverted onto the A5 and A508 from the M1. This is not always a direct result of the road improvements programme. 

2. Environment

We applaud the environmental concerns that feature so prominently in the consultation document and hope that these concerns are translated into environmentally sensitive actions.

3. Economy

We appreciate the ambitions to improve the local economy by the creation of jobs and hope for initiatives to increase the skills of our local workforce.

4. Housing and transport

We note the statistics about the housing deficit across the region. 

We hope that local villages and small hamlets will not be overwhelmed by crass over-development, ill-thought-out schemes and a lack of infrastructure. Over-reliance on private transport in this area has blighted many communities.

South Northamptonshire is a largely rural area and while we acknowledge the need for economic sustainability and a local housing supply that will fulfil future needs, we hope that planners will also consider the wishes of local people who have chosen to live in rural communities rather than urban or suburban ones. 

5. Sustainability

The sustainability appraisal should include the historic environment. For example, there is a strong economic driver in our area based on the leisure and tourism by use of our historic canal network by all sections of the community. There are similar other “treasures” that need to be  considered.

6. Please note that the wishes of the residents of Potterspury are clearly set out in our Parish Plan (www.potterspurypc.org.uk)