The plans come under Gove's 'Cambridge 2040' initiative, a keystone policy for the Government's economic strategyRICHARD TOWNSHEND / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Michael Gove has been criticised by Cambridge’s MP and local councillors after a new announcement of his plans for a major expansion of the city.

Cambridge council leaders wrote that they were “disappointed” by the announcement, while the city’s MP criticised the Government’s “arrogance”.

Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, announced updated plans for the Government’s ‘Cambridge 2040’ initiative yesterday (19/12). The Government’s vision for the city includes proposals for more than 150,000 new homes, and intends to make Cambridge “Europe’s science capital”.

Council leaders and Daniel Ziechner, Labour MP for Cambridge, stressed the threat posed to Gove’s plans by water scarcity, an issue which was dismissed by the Secretary of State last month.

In a joint statement, the leaders of various Council bodies said: “Despite working hard to engage constructively with Government officials [...] it’s deeply disappointing that once again Government plans for Cambridge seem to be being negotiated through the press.”

The councillors wrote that the new figure of 150,000 homes had “come down” from Gove’s initial goal of 250,000, but is “still substantially more” than the 50,000 that local authorities had requested, a figure “which will already be incredibly challenging to bring forward”.


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The local leaders also demanded “clarity” in Gove’s proposals for a ‘Cambridge Delivery Group’ to implement government plans for the area: “Devolution works best when local politicians are empowered to lead and deliver sustainable development,” they said.

Criticising the new announcement, Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner said: “Once again, Michael Gove and the Tories are arrogantly pronouncing plans for the future of Cambridge without involving local people or their representatives.”

“What the Government needs to do is address the pressing water issues and unlock the funding for transport and housing projects that are ready to go and urgently needed - until then, this is just more hot air,” he said.