To provide a clear, long-term (35 years) growth vision for Cambridge which transcends short term political interests.
Matthew is a Vice Chair of Cambridge Ahead and Chair of its Regional Economic Planning Group. He was Master of St Edmund's College from 2014-19. Before that, he was a founding financier of the Cambridge Phenomenon in the 1970s and 1980s, and head of Barclays' technology financing team. He later became a Managing Director of BZW and then Barclays Capital, Chief Executive of the Norwich and Peterborough Building Society, and Chairman of TAP Biosciences plc, International House Trust Ltd and The Transforming Pathology Partnership. He was also a Non-Executive Director of Addenbrooke’s Hospital and Chairman of its Audit Committee. Previously he was a member of the Audit Committee of Cambridge University and a founding Advisory Board member of the Cambridge Judge Business School.
The growth research commissioned by Cambridge Ahead formed an important base for the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Independent Economic Report (CPIER). This work is concentrated into three streams, namely:
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.
Cambridge Cluster Insights is a big data resource highlighting the data on the cluster of businesses located within 20 miles of Cambridge, UK. Created by Cambridge Ahead, it is a free-to-access online resource illustrating the vibrancy of the Cambridge technology and life science cluster.
Our corporate data provides clear evidence of the ongoing high growth of the company turnover and employment in the sub region. Working with the Centre for Business Research in the University of Cambridge, we publish the aggregate turnover and employment of all companies registered in the Cambridge area annually each new year, analysed by over 20 sectors. We have shared this data with the Greater Cambridge Councils (Cambridge City and South Cambs), who recognise that our data is robust and can be used as an input into their planning forecasts.
The gap between the data produced by Cambridge Ahead and the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) regional employment growth data, which for some time had been reporting slower growth, has now started to close. We are working towards agreeing with the ONS on the strengths and weaknesses of each other’s data and we hope this will lead to closer cross referencing between their and our datasets, in order to provide a reliable forward view of the sub region’s growth and hence infrastructure requirements.
Spatial modelling is a major focus for our work. The models are owned and run by the Department of Architecture in the University of Cambridge and their work involves building scenarios of how the sub region might grow over the next 2-3 decades. These scenarios generate analysis that illustrates the opportunities and risks for the future, and the trade-offs at play when spatial planning decisions are taken.
This work was a foundation of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Independent Economic Review (CPIER), which made a number of recommendations related to spatial planning which were supported by local authorities and are now in implementation.
This project will now be working closely with key agencies to promote the continued planning for transport, housing and employment space based upon the Cambridge Ahead data.
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Sarah Brereton, Director, Limewash
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