A business park that would create 12,000 new jobs could be coming to Cheltenham.
Cheltenham’s Golden Valley cyber development is a step closer to becoming a reality as civic chiefs approved spending up to £95m on the first phase of the project.
Cheltenham Borough Council hopes the Golden Valley Development, also known as West Cheltenham, will cement the town’s position as the UK’s cyber capital as well as unlock land for thousands of homes.
The planned creation of a cyber business park on land next to GCHQ is expected to create 12,000 new jobs and 3,700 houses are planned for the area.
Councillors voted to enter into a conditional development funding agreement with HBC X Factory (HBDXF) and set aside a funding envelope of up to £95m.
This will go towards designing and developing the business park.
Cyber, regeneration and commercial income cabinet member Mike Collins said the National Cyber Innovation Centre and Mobility Hub would be the “beating heart” of the whole Golden Valley Development.
“This is the single biggest project Cheltenham Borough Council has ever undertaken.
“Conditional viability tests need to be passed before they can progress to the development of the buildings. It will benefit everyone in our wonderful town.”
There were a mix of opinions from councillors, with some seeing it as too much money, but others backing the plans.
Councillor Bernie Fisher said the scheme “secures the future of our town”.
He said: “Now is the time to put our support behind a team of people that have brought together this intriguing plan. There’s some golden opportunities in the Golden Valley and we should grasp them with both hands.”
However, Cllr Wendy Flynn said it’s too much money.
She said: “Most of us won’t be alive in 50 years’ time after the return period in this report. If this ends up being a massive mistake, it is those future generations who will be paying the price.
“There are too many unknowns. It’s a massive amount of money for something that is outside a normal council’s business. I can’t support it, I’m sorry.”
However, overall civic chiefs approved spending up to £95m on the first phase of the project.