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Cheltenham Borough Council is seeking a development partner(s) to deliver the Golden Valley proposals.
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Spring 2021
News

Chris Lau

Head of Inward Investment
GFirst LEP

A POWERFUL PARTNERSHIP

The private and public sector have joined forces to transform Cheltenham from the centre outwards. GFirst LEP is one of the key players in this partnership.

The vision for Cyber Central is shared by a powerful partnership including Cheltenham Borough Council, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire County Council, Homes England and GFirst LEP.

GFirst LEP is the Local Enterprise Partnership for Gloucestershire. Their aim is to make Gloucestershire great by driving sustainable economic growth throughout the county, creating jobs and business opportunities for thousands of people.

So it’s no surprise that GFirst LEP is right behind Cyber Central and has got on board to help shape the project’s future. Dr Diane Savory OBE, Chair of GFirst LEP and ex COO of SuperGroup plc said “Cheltenham is internationally recognised as the ‘cradle of cyber innovation for the UK’. Our investment of £22million is the largest of all our project investments and will fund the necessary road infrastructure to deliver this ambitious project, bringing high-skilled jobs and housing to the area.”

Chris Lau, Head of Inward Investment at GFirst LEP, is particularly excited by the transformation that the development will bring to Gloucestershire. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for companies in the UK,” he explains, “Only very rarely do you get the chance to participate in something brand new and this is one of those special moments.”

A development with strong foundations

Lau is keen to point out though that Cyber Central hasn’t suddenly appeared out of nowhere. Straddling the Tewkesbury & Cheltenham Borough boundary, the site was allocated in the joint core strategy in 2017. In Gloucestershire’s draft Local Industrial Strategy developed by GFirst LEP, cyber- tech was identified as a key priority sector for the county. Cyber Central will help fulfil the ambitions of positioning Gloucestershire as the cyber-tech capital of the UK and beyond. Thanks to the draw of GCHQ and affiliated businesses, the cyber sector is already well represented here, with over 11,000 existing talented professionals already supporting GCHQ’s work in Cheltenham.

“The potential for Cyber Central should not be viewed in isolation for the cyber-tech sector.” says Lau.. “With the growing importance of digitisation, artificial intelligence and Industry 4.0 that is shifting industry boundaries in other sectors such as advanced manufacturing, agri-tech or fin-tech, Cyber Central will provide a platform for innovative companies to tap into the cross-sector expertise.” If investors and businesses need any persuasion of the merits of Cyber Central, the fact that GFirst LEP is devoted to the project shows the level of commitment that’s already being generated across the public sector.

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