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Gloucestershire Business News

Contractors sought for £400 million cyber park build

The search has begun for a development and investment partner for what is probably Gloucestershire's biggest building project.

Cheltenham Borough Council is looking for just that business to deliver what it describes as the "£400million cyber park and wider housing scheme".

Cyber Central, which the borough hopes will be "a world-class mixed-use development", will be located next to GCHQ Cheltenham and aims to be the UK centre for cyber excellence, a global hub to inspire collaboration, growth, research and development.

Earmarked to be built in West Cheltenham, on 45 hectares acquired by the council, the proposals would deliver the UK's first cyber park.

It would be the first phase of a wider 130-hectare garden community called The Golden Valley, which includes two million sq ft of commercial floor space predominantly for the cyber security sector along with up to 3,000 homes.

Tim Atkins, Cheltenham Borough Council's managing director for place and growth, said: "Cyber Central really is a one-of-a-kind opportunity not only for Cheltenham and the west, but also the UK and we're really excited to begin our search for a development partner.

"With spending in the cyber security market expected to double in the next five years, this is an exciting time for Cheltenham. Cheltenham is already a leader in cyber innovation and Cyber Central will cement that foundation, as we become the cyber tech capital of the UK.

"We want to create somewhere that is one of the best places in the world to design, create, grow and operate an innovative and successful cyber security or technology business."

UK Government is said to support the Cyber Central proposals and it is recognised as a priority project in the Local Industrial Strategy, Gloucestershire County Council's strategic economic plan and Cheltenham Borough Council's corporate plan.

Avison Young, which has offices in Birmingham and Bristol, has been appointed to lead the development and partner search.

Trowers & Hamlins, which also has a Birmingham office, has been advising the council on the land assembly of the site, and is now working on the procurement of a development and investment partner.

A mixture of housing will be on the site, including 40 per cent affordable and self-build in order to meet needs of the area.

The aim is for the development to deliver "hundreds of high-quality jobs" and for the garden community to become a "thriving community", with shops, cafes, restaurants and leisure facilities provided for residents and employees, along with a number of public spaces for people to meet.

At the heart of the site will be an innovation centre - a flexible workspace to be shared between the cyber industry, academia and public bodies.

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