Challenges facing Silicon Fen

the panel at the Cambridge question time on Friday November 18

the panel at the Cambridge question time on Friday November 18 - Credit: Archant

Promoting `brand Cambridge’ globally should be a priority, say business and community leaders

More than 300 people from Cambridge’s business community flocked to the city’s Guildhall for answers about the challenges facing Silicon Fen in a post-Brexit world.

Leading businesses including city-based property developer and investor Howard Group and the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), took to the stage as part the Estates Gazette’s Question Time on Friday November 18.

The panel was generally optimistic about brand Cambridge’s ability to prosper in a post-Brexit world providing it addresses key issues including its transport system, infrastructure and housing affordability. It was agreed that the focus should now be on Cambridge to act as a global brand to appeal beyond the realms of Europe following the referendum result in June.

William Jewson, development director at Howard Group, said: “There’s a clear agreement that our city is better prepared than most to survive outside the European Union, but we have to work together to tackle key issues that could inhibit our ability to prosper in the future. Cambridge is a dynamic city and I am confident it will find a solution.

“At Howard Group we’re focused on working with stakeholders to address issues around infrastructure to ensure we’re part of the solution.”

Housing affordability and working environments were a concern, with the panel voicing the need for a solution to take pressure off the creaking city centre. The effect this has on ensuring we retain the best workforce talent was also raised with many agreeing that we need to rethink the approach to providing conducive working environments for a new generation.

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The panel consisted of key leading political and business figures including: Rt Hon Lord Lansley, chair of the Cambridgeshire Development Forum,

William Jewson – Development director, Howard Group, Richard Janes – Cambridge head of development, Savills, Mark Reeve – chairman, Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership, Emily Orton – co-founder, Darktrace. and Derek Carr – partner, PEM.