£1 billion tech park proposed for Cheltenham

If approved, 1 million sq ft of commercial space, as well as 1,000 new homes, would create Europe’s largest purpose-built tech campus and take the UK one step closer to becoming a science and tech superpower by 2030 at Cheltenham’s Golden Valley Development.

By Emma Luther  |  Published
A CGI of the landmark project shows just how close it is to GCHQ.

Plans have been submitted for Cheltenham’s Golden Valley Development to create a £1 billion project at the heart of the Government’s National Cyber Strategy and the UK’s newest Innovation District.  

Developer HBD x Factory is poised to deliver the expansive project, located on the edge of Cheltenham next to GCHQ, alongside Cheltenham Borough Council and key local partners. 

The proposed development, covering 47 hectares, is for a new innovation district, made up of more than 1 million sq ft of commercial space as well as 1,000 low-carbon properties to rent and buy.

The aim of the project is to attract businesses with a focus on science and technology, building on the existing specialist cluster in cyber and the emerging AI, deep tech and future computing and quantum sectors. 

An extensive network of green open spaces with community amenities and a new primary school also feature in the plans.

Separate detailed proposals for the National Cyber Innovation Centre will be submitted in 2024 after £95 million of funding was secured for the delivery of the landmark new building. 

GCHQ’s deputy chief scientific adviser for national security, Paul Killworth, 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.'

HBD executive director Adam Brady 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.'

Councillor 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 and I am delighted we have reached a stage that a planning application has been submitted. 

'Here in Cheltenham, we will be host to an internationally significant cyber and technology focused campus which, subject to planning permission, will provide the catalyst for delivering economic growth for the town and regeneration of local communities.'

If approval is granted, The National Cyber Innovation Centre would sit at the heart of the new campus, building on Gloucestershire’s reputation as a hotspot for cyber business. The county is currently home to the largest number of cyber businesses in the UK outside of London.

Located adjacent to the GCHQ doughnut, the development is within 90 minutes of 20 universities, with ambitions to attract a wealth of talent to the expanding high-value, high-growth industry. 

Currently valued at over £10 billion, the UK is one of the largest, most concentrated and accessible cyber security markets in the world, with a reputation for academic excellence and incident management that makes it a leading global player in cyber security.

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