Oxbridge express could create 'England's Silicon Valley'


Mark Wood considers the impact of a new rail link on the Cambridge Property market

It’s no secret that road and rail links between Cambridge and Oxford are particularly poor. Journey times usually take more than two hours and delays are a frequent eventuality. However, plans are in the pipeline to create a direct rail link between the two cities that could transform the 67-mile corridor into ‘England’s Silicon Valley’.

The news came from Lord Adonis recently, who said that he wanted to make the corridor his top priority. Various improvements have already been put in motion along the existing route. However, the former Labour transport secretary cum infrastructure tsar wants to put forward a more robust plan to ensure that the Oxbridge bio boom doesn’t stall.

Mark Wood (right), partner and head of residential sales and new homes at Carter Jonas Bradshaws, says: “Cambridge has enormous potential. Its flourishing biotech cluster and world-class university have made it one of the most successful cities in the country. However, it lacks the transport and housing structure needed to sustain its current rate of growth, which could prove disastrous.”

In addition to the transportation issue, there are concerns that the city’s rising property prices could leave high-quality graduates no alternative than to look elsewhere for employment and housing. Since 2010, the price of property in Cambridge has continued to soar; on average, prices are now 45% higher than they were six years ago.

“The only way to maintain our talented workforce is to provide the necessary infrastructure,” continues Wood, “and creating a fast and reliable rail link between Cambridge and Oxford could tackle both issues simultaneously.

“If handled correctly, the towns and cities between and around Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge could become a highly skilled innovation cluster that could boost the national economy and become a world leader in technology and jobs.”

Plans are already being drafted for the new expressway, and a Department for Transport study is due to report on it this autumn.