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Date for work to bring new cyber centre on-line revealed by GFirst LEP

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Written by: Andrew Merrell | Posted 05 October 2017 11:19

Date for work to bring new cyber centre on-line revealed by GFirst LEP

Work could begin on a new cyber business park of "national significance" beside a certain Government communications headquarters as early as 2019, according to GFirst LEP.

The Government-funded business-driven local enterprise partnership – in place to drive the county’s economy - revealed the speed at which the 45 hectare site could be transformed at its annual review.

Staged at the Brimscombe-based Rush Skatepark board members took it in turns to reveal the fruits of the LEP’s labours, where it had been spending the near £100million its business plan has won from central Government and its plans for the future.

Some 300 of the great and good of the county’s business community were there to hear the detail, among it news about the much-talked about cyber park which will further put the county at the heart of the UK’s cattle against cyber-crime.

“We have won £22million for the national cyber centre business park,” said Steve Jordan, board member and leader of Cheltenham Borough Council. That money would help secure the infrastructure for the development.

Originally, said Mr Jordan, the sizeable slab of land to the West of GCHQ was in the Joint Core Strategy earmarking future development land as unsuitable, due to Severn Trent’s operations on the site.

Avoiding unnecessary detail, this was where the sewage treatment firm historically chose to “spread its cake”, said Mr Jordan, adding that situation had now changed.

“This will, of course, unlock some exciting new potential job opportunities available in the area,” added Mr Jordan, adding some 1,100 houses were also planned for the land.

“We have £22million of funding to make the cyber park happen. We have now formally agreed how that money can be spent.

“The joint core strategy has now has been examined. It is awaiting publication. By the end of 2018 we hope planning will be finalised and in 2019 we hope to start carrying out highway work to make it all happen.”

Victoria Knight, from multi-national IT company Fujitsu also spoke to underline the significance of the potential development. Cyber crime, she said, was an “increasing threat” and a multi-billion pound market.

Importantly for the whole project, as was pointed out, it has Government backing to speed it on its way.

In Autumn 2015, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, visited Cheltenham and announced the creation of the national cyber innovation centre, one of two in the country.

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