Housing and infrastructure are key issues in Oxfordshire, and Nicola is fighting for investment in our roads, rail, public transport, parking, flood defences aswell as crucial services such as schools and medical services. Nicola has taken up the issue of housing provision at both local and national level; urging Oxford City Council to build more homes (see here) as well as pressing the Government to recognise the exceptional circumstances Oxford faces (see link).
The Oxford Club of Constructing Excellence recently hosted an event at the Said Business School in central Oxford which Nicola attended and gave the keynote speech, to discuss in depth how Oxford can continue to attract investment as well as meeting the challenges of providing essential infrastructure. The event was coordinated to discuss ‘Future Captial Investment projects and development opportunities within the Built Environment of Oxford and the surrounding County’.
As well as Nicola, the Chief Executive of the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, the Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, Senior representatives from Network Rail and Chiltern Railways also spoke.
Nicola spoke of how Oxford is one of the most beautiful and historic cities in the world and the County is one of the top five technology innovation ecosystems in the world, but we will not be able to truly fulfil its potential if we not invest in the infrastructure we need to unlock that growth. She cited high cost housing, grid locked roads and over-subscribed schools as just some of the challenges faced by Oxfordshire. She also stressed the need to invest in things like trains, broadband and skills training. Nicola has been working on each of these issues as promised in her ‘Six Point Plan’ she was elected to deliver.
Of course, key Government policies are helping to drive forward these aims- initiatives to improve home ownership and housing delivery, release public sector land as well as continuing to invest in infrastructure. The Chancellor has promised £100 billion invested in new roads, rail, flood defences and other projects. This includes fully funding the £15 billion Roads Investment Strategy, including improvements for all of the major A34 junctions and the much-needed long term feasibility plan for dualling the link between Oxford and Cambridge which Nicola has campaigned hard for.
I was encouraged at this conference to see such determination and alignment from the Oxfordshire LEP, County Council and City Council, not to mention Cherwell District Council, the Vale of White Horse District Council, Oxford University and Oxford Brookes University and the key major employers across central Oxfordshire to work together to deliver for our residents and our businesses a City to work in and live in that is truly fit for the 21st century.