Plans submitted for new £1 billion 'Golden Valley' tech hub in Cheltenham

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Plans have been submitted for a £1 billion development in Cheltenham that will include one of Europe's largest tech campuses.

Golden Valley will cover 47 hectares and, along with 1,000 low-carbon residential properties, include more than a million square feet of commercial space, targeting businesses with a focus on science and technology. 

The development is expected to create 12,000 new jobs.

"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," said Adam Brady, executive director at developer HBD x Factory.

The site will house the National Cyber Innovation Centre, which received £95 million in funding last month. Detailed proposals are expected to be submitted in the new year. 

As well as serving as a general innovation centre focused on the AI, deep tech and quantum sectors, there are plans to use the site as a test ground for new smart city concepts.

"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," said councilor Mike Collins at Cheltenham Borough Council.

Developers said Gloucestershire is already home to one of the UK’s most significant technology clusters, and has the largest concentration of cyber companies outside of London. 


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In Cheltenham alone, there are an estimated 590 technology firms employing over 3,100 people, with Gloucestershire as a whole housing 2,300 businesses.

More than 120 of these are cyber security businesses, developers said, making the density of cyber security firms 11 times the UK average.

The location, developers said, boasts good rail and road links to Bristol, Birmingham, London, and other key parts of the country, and is within 90 minutes' travel to 20 universities.

Golden Valley security collaboration

The new development is also close to GCHQ, which is supporting the creation of the new centre.

Paul Killworth, deputy chief scientific adviser for national security at GCHQ, said the launch of the centre could foster closer collaboration between the security service and cyber security sector. 

"The opportunity offered by Golden Valley will lead to a sea-change in national-security relations between government, academia and industry," he said.

"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," Killworth added. 

“GCHQ already plays a prominent role in these sectors both locally and nationally and it looks forward to participating in this exciting development."

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance journalist writing for publications including the BBC, Private Eye, Forbes, Raconteur and specialist technology titles.