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Golden Valley: A £1bn Cyber Hub Next to GCHQ

The UK government has announced its plans to build a £1bn cyber hub next to the GCHQ headquarters in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. The project, dubbed Golden Valley, is expected to create thousands of jobs and boost the country’s cyber security capabilities.

What is Golden Valley?

Golden Valley is a proposed development project that will cover more than 116 acres of land near the GCHQ building. The project aims to deliver a diverse innovation district, comprising over 1 million sq. ft. of commercial space for businesses with a focus on science and technology, especially in the fields of cyber, AI, deep tech and future computing/quantum.

The project will also include over 1,000 low-carbon homes to rent and buy, an extensive network of green open spaces, community amenities and a new primary school. The project is expected to generate up to 12,000 jobs and contribute £2.2bn to the local economy over the next decade.

Golden Valley: A £1bn Cyber Hub Next to GCHQ

Why is it important for the UK?

Golden Valley is seen as a major part of the UK’s National Cyber Strategy and its ambition to be a science and tech superpower. The project will leverage the existing expertise and reputation of GCHQ and the surrounding cyber cluster, which is home to over 200 cyber businesses and organisations.

The project will also feature a National Cyber Innovation Centre, which will be a centre for learning and collaboration between government, academia and industry. The centre will provide facilities and support for cyber innovation, research and education, as well as hosting events and conferences. The centre will receive £95m of funding from the government and is expected to open in 2025.

How will it benefit the local community?

Golden Valley is designed to be a sustainable and inclusive development that will enhance the quality of life and wellbeing of the local community. The project will provide new housing options, improved transport links, enhanced green spaces and recreational facilities, as well as opportunities for education and skills development.

The project will also support the regeneration of West Cheltenham, which is one of the most deprived areas in the county. The project will aim to address the social and economic challenges faced by the residents, such as unemployment, low income, poor health and digital exclusion.

What are the next steps?

The plans for Golden Valley have been submitted to Cheltenham Borough Council for approval. The developer, HBD x Factory Ltd, will work alongside the council and key local partners, such as GCHQ, the University of Gloucestershire, Gloucestershire College and the Cheltenham Cyber Park Trust, to deliver the project.

The project is expected to start construction in 2024 and be completed by 2030. The project will be delivered in phases, with the first phase focusing on the National Cyber Innovation Centre and the commercial space. The subsequent phases will deliver the residential, educational and community elements of the project.

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