Providing a clear, long-term (35 years) growth vision for Cambridge which transcends short-term political interests. 

Project Overview

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:

  • Corporate data: developing compelling, repeatable and reportable data about companies’ growth in Cambridge and the wider region.
  • Qualitative research: complementary company research exploring the different aspects of managing high growth.
  • Spatial modelling: undertaking spatial land use modelling and developing land use and transport scenarios to influence future planning policies.

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.

Regional Economic Planning Group Chair: Matthew Bullock, Honorary Vice-Chair of Cambridge Ahead

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.

Data Highlights

Corporate data

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

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.

Into the future…

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.

Project Team Members

  • Anglia Ruskin University* - James Rolfe, Chief Operating Officer
  • Aviva Investors* - Jonathan Bayfield, Head of UK Research
  • Bidwells* - Patrick McMahon, Senior Partner
  • Biomed Realty* - Matt Smith, Director
  • Cambridge Ahead Honorary Vice-Chair* - Professor Peter Landshoff, Fellow of Christ’s College and Professor Emeritus University of Cambridge
  • Cambridge Ahead Honorary Vice-Chair* - Rory Landman, Fellow of Trinity College
  • Cambridge University Hospitals Partnership* - Dr Araminta Ledger, Director of Campus Development
  • Carter Jonas* - Colin Brown, Partner
  • The Crown Estate* - Lucy Eaton, Head of Strategy & Business Development - Regional
  • Deloitte* - Caroline McDade, Director
  • First Base* - Barry Jessup, CEO
  • Hill* - Andy Hill, Group Chief Executive
  • Howard Group* - Werner Baumker, Group Director, Property
  • HSBC* - Dan Liles, Relationship Director
  • Jesus College* - Richard Anthony, Bursar
  • The Jockey Club* - William Gittus, Group Property Director
  • JLL* - Jon Neale, Head of Research
  • Lands Improvement Holdings - Katheryn Turner, Head of Planning
  • Mick George* - Michael George, Managing Director
  • Morgan Sindall* - Bob Ensch, Area Director, Cambridge
  • Pigeon Investments* - James Buxton, Director
  • Rapleys* - Robert Clarke, Senior Partner / Richard Sykes-Popham, Partner
  • RG Carter* - David Jefferies, Framework Manager
  • Savills* - Tom Fraser, Director
  • St John’s College* - Chris Ewbank, Senior Bursar
  • U+I* / TOWN - Mike Bodkin, Head of Planning
  • University of Cambridge*, Dept. of Architecture - Dr Ying Jin, Reader in Architecture and Urbanism and Director of the Martin Centre
  • University of Cambridge*, Centre for Business Research - Dr Andy Cosh, Senior Research Associate and Dr Giorgio, Research Fellow
  • University of Cambridge* - Dr Gemma Burgess, Senior Research Associate
  • Water Resource East - Robin Price, Managing Director

*Member/Member Organisation

Cambridge Ahead:

  • Jane Paterson-Todd, CEO
  • Dan Thorp, Director of Policy and Programmes
  • Lawrence Morris, Manager of Policy and Programmes

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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