Plans go in for Cheltenham’s £1bn Golden Valley scheme

Planning has been submitted for Cheltenham’s Golden Valley Development, the £1bn project at the heart of the Government’s National Cyber Strategy and the UK’s newest Innovation District.

Developer HBD x Factory will deliver the expansive project alongside Cheltenham Borough Council and local partners.

The proposed development, covering 47ha, will deliver a diverse innovation district, comprising over 1 million sq ft of commercial space. It will attract businesses with a focus on science and technology in particular, building on the existing specialist cluster in cyber and the emerging AI, Deep Tech and Future Computing/Quantum sectors.

New homes will also be an important element of the project, providing over 1,000 low-carbon properties to rent and buy. All this will be situated within an extensive network of green open spaces with community amenities and a new primary school also featuring in the masterplan.

Separate detailed proposals for the National Cyber Innovation Centre will be submitted in the new year following last month’s £95m funding agreement for the delivery of the landmark new building.

GCHQ’s Paul Killworth, deputy chief scientific adviser for National Security, 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 & 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.”

Adam Brady, executive director at HBD, 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.”

Cllr 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 that 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 focussed campus which, subject to planning permission, will provide the catalyst for delivering economic growth for the town and regeneration of local communities.’’

The National Cyber Innovation Centre, which gained £95m funding approval last month, will sit at the heart of a thriving campus, building further on Gloucestershire’s reputation as a hotspot for cyber business. Gloucestershire is home to the largest number of cyber businesses in the UK outside of London, making Cheltenham the ideal location for the industry to scale up.

Located adjacent to the iconic GCHQ building known affectionately as ‘The Doughnut’, Golden Valley is easily accessible by train and road with fast direct connectivity to Bristol, Birmingham, London and other key parts of the country, and within 90 minutes of 20 universities, it’s also ideally placed to attract a wealth of talent, expanding this high-value, high-growth industry.

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