Regional spatial planning would make the East of England an even greater place to invest and grow

Mike Derbyshire:  Head of Planning, Bidwells and Delivery Board member of Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor

A spatial framework is key to enhancing the development of the technology industry between Norwich and Cambridge, says head of planning Mike Derbyshire ahead of the Real Estate Live conference today

Thoughtleader blog: 

“Phrases like “a 30-year vision” have been re-introduced to the Planners and Local Authority vocabulary by central government, but this can’t be idle words. In the digital age with access to so much research, these frameworks must be driven by data.

The potential of the Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor is exponential.

Home to one of the largest research parks in Europe, Norwich is fast being recognised as a city pioneering innovative research, reframing the future of technology across East Anglia.

The next decade will heighten the technology sector’s growth across the region.  From Norwich’s University of East Anglia and Norwich Research Park, to Wymondham’s manufacturing village, the Thetford Enterprise Park, Haverhill Business Park and Babraham Research Campus – it’s clear the region is ahead of the curve.

Alongside these trailblazing facilities, the tech corridor has cultivated an environment where manufacturers, creative industries and logistics companies can thrive. These cross-sector clusters are closing the gaps in supply chains, creating a bustling network of companies, working together to enhance technology not only in the east, but nationwide.

The diverse sectors spanning the corridor have a great local economic impact. But with the right resources and spatial planning injected into the corridor, the region’s technology infrastructure will only continue to grow in years to come.

We need a collaborative approach across several industries to help strengthen the corridor in order to make it a nationally recognised centre for innovation.  A new boundary blind approach to strategic planning is needed to deliver this spatial framework effectively.”

The Tech Corridor spatial vision plan

Mike Derbyshire, alongside other senior regional stakeholders, was a key driver behind the Tech Corridor Cluster Development Roadmap: a significant data-driven study, commissioned by the Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor, led by leading design practice, Perkins and Will. The study uses a range of different data sets to map locations with ‘high-growth potential’ in the Tech Corridor region.

The study aims to: 

  1. Define the role that each location currently plays within the Tech Corridor economy 
  2. Identify future opportunities and help set growth aspirations for each location
  3. Identify the opportunities arising from connecting the locations and building the Tech Corridor into an ‘ecosystem of connected, complementing clusters’.
  4. Identify a shared narrative and shared challenges and opportunities that could be best addressed on a ‘Corridor-level’ rather than by individual locations or businesses such as digital connectivity.  

The goal of this work is to create a holistic view/ ‘spatial vision’ for the Tech Corridor region and bring forward ideas on how the Tech Corridor could grow and develop over the coming decades.  This will help strengthen the inward investment ‘offer’ of the region by enhancing the business environment in key, high-growth locations.

For more insight into the work to date on the Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor Cluster Development roadmap, please view the guide below:



Mike Derbyshire is  Head of Planning at Bidwells, one of the UK’s leading property consultancies and a Delivery Board member at the Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor