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Infrastructure is ‘vital’ to region’s growth ambitions, summit hears

That was the message to delegates at an Infrastructure Summit from key influencers from the Treasury and the National Infrastructure Commission.

The region is one of the fastest growing areas in the country, with significant numbers of new jobs and homes set to be created. The continued development of the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Northampton-Oxford corridor forms a pivotal part of the region’s growth agenda.

A summit, organised by the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership, heard it is vital that the need for more housing and the desire for better transport links are aligned to ensure that the necessary infrastructure is delivered  in the right places.

SEMLEP chief executive Stephen Catchpole (pictured) said: "We have the chance to change the lives of a whole generation, bringing a new era of innovation, job creation and prosperity to the region.

"By working together with government we can ensure the funding is there to put into place the infrastructure needed to support our plans for the area.

"The next few years promise to be a tremendously exciting time for the South East Midlands. It is essential to ensure that we continue to attract skilled workers to support the innovative and pioneering businesses in this area.”

The summit, held at Towcester Racecourse, also heard from high profile business leaders including the RIUCS UK infrastructure director Phil Hardy-Bishop,  Patrick O’Sullivan, consultant on the East West Rail, and London Luton Airport chief executive Nick Barton.

Their message was that the South East Midlands has a real ambition to ensure that it achieves its full potential in terms of economic growth and quality of life and secures the investment in infrastructure of all types to support and drive forward sustainable growth.

Phil Graham, chief executive of the National Infrastructure Commission, said: “The skills base in the corridor is unique and there is a high level of productivity and sustained growth among knowledge-led business sectors.

“That can lead to challenges with transport and housing and ambitious strategies are needed to deliver long-term growth. A clear and coherent plan can link the two and we hope to be the catalyst that unlocks the huge potential in the area.” 

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