Cambridge, one of the most important European centres for fledgling technology companies, is suffering a relative decline with 'disaster just round the corner', according to a new report. Financial Times

Silicon Fen, as it is sometimes called, is weak in 'soft-tech' ventures, such as internet companies. Start-ups are, meanwhile, hampered by high house prices and congested roads, which make it difficult for them to attract and retain promising young technologists.

The Cambridge Cluster Report 2007 calls for a 'modest' expansion of the city to help its internationally significant technology cluster to overcome growing capacity constraints.

However, even minor development of the historic Fenland settlement would be controversial. The Campaign for the Preservation of Rural England said: 'The reality is that this would ruin Cambridge. The city is full.'