The Policy Group provides overarching strategic consideration and coordination of Cambridge Ahead activity. In this role, it tracks at each meeting the implementation of the 27 CPIER recommendations. The Group provides a regular forum for CA to engage with Government, Local Authorities and other partners to discuss emerging policy issues.

Three sub-groups exist as part of the Policy Group because they are strategically significant for the organisation in 2019-20: Regional Economic Planning, Utilities and Infrastructure, and Quality of Life.

Policy Group Chair: Alex Plant, Regulation Director, Anglian Water

Alex became Regulation Director at Anglian Water in 2017, having spent two years leading on regulatory policy and market reform. Previously he worked as Director of Regulation at Royal Mail, Executive Director for Economy, Transport & Environment at Cambridgeshire County Council, and Chief Executive of Cambridgeshire Horizons, driving forward the delivery of sustainable new communities in Cambridgeshire. Earlier in his career he worked at HM Treasury on productivity, competition and regulation policy, and at the Civil Aviation Authority as Head of Economic Policy & International Aviation.

Alex is also a Board Member for the independent urban policy think tank, the Centre for Cities.

Project Team Members

  • David Braben, CEO and Founder, and Chair of the CA Transport Group
  • The Hon. Matthew Bullock, Honorary Vice-Chair and Chair of the Regional Economic Planning Group of Cambridge Ahead
  • Aaron Cohen-Gold, Public Affairs Manager (Regional) at University of Cambridge
  • Dr David Cleevely CBE, Chairman of Raspberry Pi and Honorary Vice-Chair of Cambridge Ahead
  • Mike Emmerich, Founding Director of Metro Dynamics Ltd.
  • Harriet Fear MBE, Chair of Cambridge Ahead, Director of Cambridge& and Founder of Harriet Fear Associates
  • Jane Paterson-Todd, CEO of Cambridge Ahead
  • Dan Thorp, Director of Policy and Programmes at Cambridge Ahead
  • Cambridge Ahead Project Chairs and external parties from local and national authorities and other organisations are regularly invited to attend Policy Group meetings to discuss relevant policy matters.

Cambridge Ahead:

  • Jane Paterson-Todd, CEO
  • Dan Thorp, Director of Policy and Programmes
  • Sophie Thwaites, Team Secretary

Regional Economic Planning

Providing a clear, long-term (35 years) growth vision for Cambridge which transcends short-term political interests. The growth research commissioned by Cambridge Ahead formed an important base for the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Independent Economic Report (CPIER).

The current priority is leading the Cambridge Ahead contribution to the upcoming joint Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire (Greater Cambridge) Local Plan – inputting evidence and analysis to influence the spatial distribution of future housing and employment space.

The Regional Economic Planning Group is an evolution of the previous Growth Group which was active in supporting the development of wider regional spatial strategies, for example, with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.

Quality of Life

Scoping and establishing the elements that contribute the most to the quality of life of people in the Cambridge region and, from this, developing a framework that will allow us to more readily influence decision-making at a national and local level. This should support decision-making that enhances rather than detracts from quality of life for existing and new residents and workers.

The Framework will be developed and completed over 2019-20 following the process below, to influence decision-making from 2021 onwards.

Utilities and Infrastructure

The Policy Group will consider - as a priority in 2019-20 - how wider infrastructure issues, particularly for utilities should be responded to by Cambridge Ahead, reflecting the fact that energy, water and digital infrastructure all play critical functions in the future growth capacity of Cambridge and need strategic responses.


The Policy Group tracks the implementation of the CPIER recommendations, ensuring that the initial impact and momentum created when the Review was published is now maintained into delivery.

Into the future...

The Policy Group is taking a lead in developing an effective framework for quality of life. Maintaining and enhancing quality of life is not a new idea but achieving it as part of a sustainable growth agenda is a hot topic for policy makers right now, with little consensus yet on the right answers. For us to know if we are making a positive impact on the quality of life of people in Greater Cambridge, we need to be able to translate what can be a nebulous concept into something more defined and measurable. This would allow us more readily to influence decision-making at a national and local level so that those decisions enhance rather than detract from quality of life for existing and new residents and workers. The Policy Group is working closely with others – like the Young Advisory Committee and the Centre for Cities – to develop this framework. Our next steps are to assess what metrics already exist, arrange some focus groups to understand what matters most to different groups.

Latest Research & Publications

Over time we have built up an archive of useful research, publications and media articles – some our own and some from third parties – that serve as a useful resource for our Members, academics, business and other bodies and people interested in the future of Cambridge.


07761 511 766


Sarah Brereton, Director, Limewash
07796 583 223

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