Cheltenham Borough Council is to begin its search for a development and investment partner to deliver a £400million cyber park and wider housing scheme this week.
Cyber Central, which the council intends to be a world-class mixed-use development, will be located next to GCHQ Cheltenham and is proposed to be the UK centre for cyber excellence and act as 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 2million 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, was due to launch the project at MIPIM and engage with strategic partners and discuss the proposals in greater detail while in Cannes, but, following its postponement, will now be in London to carry out those meetings.
UK Government supports 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 has been appointed to lead the development and partner search. Trowers & Hamlins have been advising the council on the land assembly of the site, and are now working with the council on the procurement of its development and investment partner.
A mixture of housing will be on the site, including 40% affordable and self-build in order to meet needs of the area. Along with delivering hundreds of high-quality jobs, the garden community will 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.
Tim Atkins, Managing Director for Place and Growth at Cheltenham Borough Council, 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.
“We’ll now be using the time we were going to spend in MIPIM discussing this fantastic opportunity in London engaging with developers and investors.”