Planning submitted for £1bn Golden Valley cyber project
By Sarah Wood | 2nd November 2023
Planning has been submitted for Cheltenham's Golden Valley Development, the £1bn project at the heart of the Government's National Cyber Strategy.
Developer HBD x Factory Ltd will deliver the landmark project, alongside Cheltenham Borough Council and key local partners.
Gloucestershire is home to the largest number of cyber businesses in the UK outside of London, making Cheltenham the ideal location for the industry to scale up.
The proposed development, covering 47ha, will deliver a diverse innovation district, of over 1 million sq ft of commercial space. It will attract businesses with a focus on science and technology in particular, building on the existing specialist cluster in cyber and the emerging AI, deep tech and future computing/ quantum sectors.
New homes will be an important element of the project, providing over 1,000 low-carbon properties to rent and buy. It will all be situated within an extensive network of green open spaces, with community amenities and a new primary school also featuring in the masterplan.
Separate detailed proposals for the National Cyber Innovation Centre will be submitted in the new year, following last month's £95m funding agreement for the delivery of the flagship building.
Paul Killworth, deputy chief scientific adviser for national security at GCHQ, said: "GCHQ supports Cheltenham Borough Council's vision of Golden Valley as a thriving, high-tech cluster of cyber and technology firms working across the new campus.
"The opportunity offered by Golden Valley will lead to a sea-change in national security relations between government, academia and industry. The National Cyber Innovation Centre was described as "a true international centre of innovation" in the National Cyber Strategy, and the development will also be a key part of the transformation of the intelligence community's science and technology effort.
"GCHQ already plays a prominent role in these sectors, both locally and nationally, and it looks forward to participating in this exciting development."
Adam Brady, executive director at HBD, said: "Golden Valley is the first development of its kind to be delivered in the UK - it sits at the heart of the Government's cyber and technology strategy and underpins the UK's ambitions to become a science and technology superpower by 2030. It's great to see planning now submitted, marking a major milestone for this nationally significant project."
Cllr Mike Collins, cabinet member for cyber, regeneration and commercial income at Cheltenham Borough Council, said: "This is a huge step in the delivery of Golden Valley. Here in Cheltenham, we will be host to an internationally significant cyber and technology focussed campus which, subject to planning permission, will provide the catalyst for delivering economic growth for the town and regeneration of local communities."
Located adjacent to the iconic GCHQ building, known as The Doughnut, Golden Valley is located within 90 minutes of 20 universities, meaning it is ideally placed to attract a wealth of talent.
Currently valued at over £10bn, the UK is one of the largest, most concentrated, and accessible cyber security markets in the world. Golden Valley will play a key role in the continued growth and evolution of the sector and the UK's capabilities, attracting inward investment and supporting the development of science and technology industry skills and expertise.
Property developer HBD is part of the Henry Boot Group. It has a proven track record in the delivery of large-scale regeneration projects across the UK. HBD x Factory Ltd was appointed development partner for Golden Valley in 2022 and will lead on the delivery of the first phase of the £1bn project.
Meanwhile, a consultation has started for outline proposals for an employment-led, mixed-use development which will provide approximately 55,000 sq ft of commercial floor space and around 350 new homes, forming part of the Golden Valley Development in Cheltenham.
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