Published on 7th May 2020
The search is underway for a development and investment partner to deliver a £400 million project which will see the creation of the UK’s cyber capital in Cheltenham.
The site located beside GCHQ will see up to 200-hectares of land transformed into a world-class, multi-purpose development with the UK’s first cyber focused campus, Cyber Central, at its heart.
Cyber Central builds on Cheltenham’s international reputation for leadership in cyber security and the development will see the Cyber Innovation Centre, bringing together GCHQ’s innovation programmes, academia, business and event space; offering up to two million square feet of commercial floor space for this rapidly growing sector.
Cyber Central will be the commercial and innovative heart of the wider Golden Valley Garden Community with over 3,000 homes creating a community supported by shops, cafes, restaurants and leisure facilities. It will significantly enhance Cheltenham’s appeal as a destination for living and working in addition to being recently recognised as the best place to live in the South West by The Sunday Times.
Cheltenham Borough Council has shown its commitment to the development with the purchase of 45 hectares of land, making it the biggest single purchase ever made by the council at £37.5 million. The council has a further £180 million funding available for the delivery of high-quality homes.
In June 2019 the government announced the Golden Valley Development would be part of its Garden Communities programme. This will promote the importance of sustainability as part of a thriving community, with a long-term focus on creating new job opportunities, high-quality housing, sustainable transport and connectivity through public transport routes. Cheltenham already has an international reputation for leadership in this sector, having the largest concentration of cyber businesses in the UK outside London. The scale of investment and its innovative heart will create a ripple effect that will spark new socio-economic opportunities for Cheltenham, Gloucestershire and the wider region.
The UK cyber security sector is currently valued at £8.3 billion, having doubled in two years and growth is expected to continue at a similar pace, therefore the timing of the Golden Valley Development will make it a key driver for economic recovery locally, regionally and nationally.
Cllr Andrew McKinlay, cabinet member for development and safety at Cheltenham Borough Council, said: “The Golden Valley Development is a prime example of how Cheltenham Borough Council continues to demonstrate its bold vision and the kind of strong local leadership that will help to drive economic recovery, post Covid-19. Our investment has been the catalyst for this development, which is recognised as one of the most exciting and innovative projects anywhere in the country. As we look to the future, cyber security and sustainable living will become ever more important – and the Golden Valley Development will lead the way on this.”
Tim Atkins, Managing Director for Place & Growth at Cheltenham Borough Council, said: “At a time of unprecedented change, the Golden Valley Development is an opportunity to put Cheltenham on a global stage and at the forefront of one of the most dynamic and exciting sectors. That’s precisely why Cheltenham Borough Council has stepped up to play a leading role in the development, working alongside multiple stakeholders across the public and private sector to drive sustainable economic recovery and growth.”
Avison Young has been appointed to lead the search for a partner on this ambitious and exciting development, which is supported by the Department of International Trade as a project of international significance.
In the first stage, interested parties are invited to complete and return a Selection Questionnaire by 10 July 2020; this is available from Avison Young. The partner is expected to be appointed in Spring 2021.