We at Velocity hereby extend our warm congratulations to VeloCity. No, we’re not slapping our own backs. That’s the winning proposal in the Cambridge to Oxford Connection ideas competition by Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design with Mikhail Riches; Featherstone Young; Marko and Placemakers; Expedition Engineering; and Khaa.
The all-female team put together an idea for VeloCity as "a unique region in the UK no longer reliant on the car". This, it envisaged, would be supported by an integrated system of fast rail and road links connecting major towns and cities and an associated finer grain network of local, medium and longer-distance cycle routes. Focusing on six villages in the south east of one of the new stations on the Oxford to Cambridge rail link, VeloCity also advanced a "place-based vision for reimagining the 21st century village".
The idea beat a shortlist including Barton Willmore with Momentum; Fletcher Priest Architects with Bradley Murphy Design and Peter Brett Associates; and Mae with Oneworks, Planit, AKTII, Tyrens and Max Fordham.
The corridor that spans Cambridge, Milton Keynes, Northampton and Oxford is one of the fastest growing knowledge networks in the UK and is home to 3.3 million people. But it is facing housing and transport pressures, leading the National Infrastructure Commission to stage this two-stage ideas context. In the Autumn Budget, the government backed the commission's vision to build up to one million new homes across the arc by 2050, and announced plans to complete both a new East-West Rail link and an Oxford-Cambridge Expressway by 2030.