Cheltenham Borough councillors have overwhelmingly supported ambitious recovery budget proposals for 2021/22 against the challenges of COVID-19, to support economic growth, tackle climate change and progress its commitment to make Cheltenham the Cyber Capital of the UK.
Key proposals include:
The Golden Valley Development – home of Cyber Central UK which sets a vision for a campus style development focused around innovation in the cyber sector, driving forward the UK’s mission to be a science superpower and global lead in cyber security. It also seeks to deliver up to 4,000 homes, directly contributing to another council priority regarding housing delivery and achieving a target of 40% affordable homes.
Carbon neutrality – a renewed commitment to becoming a net zero carbon council and borough by 2030, will allow the council to play its part in a collective national effort to rebuild. The budget proposals provide an additional funding for climate emergency initiatives on top of the funding already allocated.
Economic development – a key priority within the recovery strategy to revitalise and reshape the economy. The council aims to encourage collaboration across sectors to ensure that culture, hospitality and creativity are interweaved into its economic recovery plans particularly in enhancing the cyber investment plans, supporting the creative revitalisation of the High Street, and the imaginative use of local open spaces.
The £5.2 million flagship scheme in the heart of Cheltenham town centre, known as the Minster Innovation Exchange, forms a huge part of realising this ambition. The budget proposes an additional £75,000 to ensure permanent resource is available to lead on recovery.
Increasing apprenticeships – Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on the UK’s employment, and young people have been hardest hit. The council is committed to invest in the future of apprenticeships this budget will see an additional £75,000 which will provide for a cohort of apprentices who will commence employment at the council in September 2021.