Business leaders are to push for greater involvement for Peterborough in Government plans to create a UK rival to the Silicon Valley in the county.
It comes after Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove revealed he is considering Cambridge as the venue for a major new UK technology hub with land earmarked for business parks, laboratories and agritech science centres, and driven in part by the building of 250,000 homes in the area.
His vision was criticised by political and business leaders for failing to include a role for fast-growing Peterborough.
However, in a media briefing Mr Gove said the vision was not solely about Cambridge.
He said: “There are other opportunities in the East of England – renewable energy, agri-tech – and in Peterborough, the enlightened civic leadership and the sense of aspiration and ambition.
Mr Gove added: "Making sure there is ample connectivity across the Eastern region has to be part of the plan and we are already thinking about what we can do in order to complement the specific work in Cambridge.”
Now a key meeting is to take place next week between representatives of the business-led lobby group Eastern Powerhouse and the chairman of Home England Peter Freeman who has been tasked with drawing up the detail for the Government’s vision.
James Palmer, chairman of the Eastern Powerhouse, made up of business people and politicians from the region, said: “We will be discussing how Cambridge can be the catalyst for regional excellence.
"The Eastern Powerhouse will work with government to deliver a Silicon East.
"Technology exists that can deliver the growth needed without urban sprawl.
The success of the agritech-driven Gove initiative hinges on substantial investment in regional infrastructure, particularly upgrading rail links between Cambridge and Peterborough, and implementing efficient mass transport solutions.
The vision aims to position the region as a global leader in science and technology, capable of rivalling Boston and San Francisco.
Despite criticism from Peterborough MP Paul Bristow, he recognizes the transformative potential for Peterborough by leveraging its new university and research hub within the agritech landscape.