BENEFITS from work in the Oxford-Cambridge arc will be felt in Wales, East Anglia and further into the South East, according to the Government.

It published a joint declaration between Government and partners, mainly councils, on Wednesday.

The area between the country’s top university cities is ‘first and foremost an area of significant economic strength and opportunity, which can further benefit its existing and future communities by realising its potential’, it said.

As part of that, up to 300,000 new homes are expected to be built in Oxfordshire. They are part of one million new homes planned for the arc before 2050.

The Government has defined the area between the two cities as areas including Oxfordshire’s five districts, Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire, including Peterborough.

The arc is already a ‘globally significant place and has the potential to become even greater’, according to the joint declaration.

The area contributes £111bn of gross value added to the UK’s economy every year and already has a population of about 3.7m. Oxfordshire’s population is about 680,000.

The Government claims the work in the arc will improve the environment.

It states: "We value the natural environment highly, and aim to meet our ambitions while overall improving, rather than degrading, the environment."

It is not immediately clear how the proposal to build an expressway between Oxford and Cambridge meets that objective.

Other figures in the document show completed housebuilding is way down on targets over the last decade.

West Oxfordshire’s completed homes were 53 per cent down on predicted figures. The annual average housing target in the district was 798 every year – but just 379 were completed on average.

Oxford City was down by 42 per cent, Cherwell by 41 per cent, South Oxfordshire by 35 per cent and Vale of White Horse 34 per cent.

Just two local authorities exceeded housing targets in the arc over that decade. They were Chiltern District Council and Luton Borough Council. They exceeded the targets by 29 per cent and three per cent, respectively.

Arc projects include East West Rail, which starts in Oxford.