Cheltenham Borough Council begins its search for a partner to deliver £400million Golden Valley development

The search for a development partner for a major £400million project to create the UK’s cyber capital as part of the Golden Valley Garden Community has been launched by Cheltenham Borough Council.  

This world-class mixed-use development will be located on a 200 ha site adjacent to GCHQ that will feature Cyber Central: the UK’s first campus focused around the rapidly growing cyber-tech sector, as well as providing over 3,000 homes.

The UK cyber security sector alone is currently valued at £8.3bn, having doubled in two years.  Growth in this sector is expected to continue at a similar pace, providing a unique and valuable commercial anchor.

Avison Young has been selected to lead the search for this prestigious appointment, which is supported by the Department of International Trade as a project of international significance.

Cyber Central builds on Cheltenham’s international reputation for leadership in this sector, having the UK’s highest concentration of cyber–tech business outside London. At its heart, a unique commercial anchor, the Cyber Innovation Centre bringing together GCHQ’s innovation programmes, academia, business and event space; offering up to 2 million sq ft of commercial floor space available for the industry to grow around this honey pot.  

The Golden Valley Garden Community will be an integrated sustainable development creating a thriving community, supported with shops, cafes, restaurants, and leisure facilities. It will include a wide range of innovative housing solutions, striving to achieve new standards in design.

Cheltenham has one of the strongest housing markets in the region and has seen some of the highest house price growth in the area over recent years.  The employment market in Cheltenham is strong with a diverse range of businesses present including a number of high-profile HQ’s, such as GCHQ, Superdry and Spirax-Sarco. It has an exceptionally strong representation from digital and tech firms including Google, Microsoft and Apple all present in the town; boasting densities of 11 times the national average in this sector.

Cheltenham Borough Council has demonstrated its long-term commitment to the development with the acquisition of 45 ha of allocated greenfield land. This investment of £37.5million is the biggest single purchase ever made by the Council. It has a further £180m funding available for the delivery of high-quality homes.

Tim Atkins, Managing Director for Place and Growth at Cheltenham Borough Council says, “With the UK cyber market’s growth set to continue, this is a ground-breaking project that will cement Cheltenham as the cyber-tech capital of the UK.

“Our dynamic vision is to create one of the world’s best places to work, rest and play. We are looking for the right partner to help us create Utopia.  Cyber Central will spearhead the UK’s mission to be the safest place to online business as a global leader in cyber security, as well as driving forward our economic recovery.”

Gordon Isgrove, Principal at Avison Young, who is leading the search for a development partner, adds, “Cheltenham Borough Council has demonstrated its long-term commitment and leadership to this exemplar project. Cyber security is the UK’s fastest growing industry and with the strong support of GCHQ and Government, this is an exciting and exceptional opportunity to develop a connected cyber-led ecosystem to be the first of its kind in the UK.”

The selection process is being undertaken in accordance with European Union Legislation and is advertised within the Official Journal for the European Union.

In the first stage, interested parties are invited to complete and return a Selection Questionnaire which is available from Avison Young, and should be submitted by 10th July 2020. It is intended that a partner will be appointed in Spring 2021.