Planning submitted for £1bn project at the heart of the UK’s Technology and Cyber ambitions

  • Golden Valley is a once-in-a-lifetime project at the heart of the UK’s National Cyber Strategy
  • Once complete, it will be one of Europe’s largest purpose-built tech campus’ and will play a crucial role in achieving the UK’s ambition to be a Science and Tech Superpower by 2030.
  • Cheltenham is already home to one of the UK’s most significant Technology Clusters and has the largest concentration of cyber companies outside of London, complemented by a diverse cluster of businesses specialising in AI, Deep Tech and Future Computing/Quantum.
  • Beyond enhancing the technology ecosystem, Golden Valley will also be a playground for innovators looking to test new, innovative Smart City concepts.
  • Golden Valley, which spans 47 ha, will comprise 1 million sq. ft of new commercial space and over 1,000 low carbon homes.

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 Ltd will deliver the expansive project alongside Cheltenham Borough Council and key 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.

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.”

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 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.’’

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.”

Dev Chakraborty, Deputy CEO, GFirst LEP said; “We’re pleased to see planning has now been submitted for the Golden Valley Development. Cheltenham is internationally recognised as the ‘cradle of cyber innovation for the UK’. Our investment of £23.6 million funded the West Cheltenham Transport Improvement Scheme (WCTIS), our largest project investment to date, which provided the necessary road infrastructure for this nationally significant project.”

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.

Currently valued at over £10bn, 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. The UK cyber security market is rapidly expanding; Golden Valley will play a key role in the continued growth and evolution of the sector and the UK’s capabilities, attracting inward investment and supporting the development of science and technology industry skills and expertise.

Property developer HBD is part of the Henry Boot Group. It is one of the country’s most successful and well-established developers with a proven track record in the delivery of large-scale regeneration projects across the UK. HBD x Factory Ltd was appointed development partner for Golden Valley in 2022 and will lead on the delivery of the first phase of the £1bn project.

Golden Valley