Cyber plan important for our town
THE recent announcement that Cheltenham Borough Council has bought 45 hectares of development land to push forward the town’s Cyber Central plan has been positively received in the town and Gloucestershire as a whole.
Cyber Central is an ambitious plan for West Cheltenham that builds on our area’s specialist expertise in technology. It aims to fuel growth of skilled jobs and local businesses, contributing to a healthy economy and supporting thriving communities in which to live and work. The project is of huge local, regional and national significance as shown by the significant support already received from many Whitehall departments. It is in reality much more than a traditional business park.
So why has the Council taken this important decision now, when there is so much uncertainty about the economy and the future of the county as a result of Brexit? The answer is clear – it is precisely because this development is so important for the town’s future.
The land purchase will help ensure, together with the Council’s partners, the town gets the very best from the development. The Council is now better placed to influence how the Cyber Park progresses in terms of time scales for the development, but also in ensuring that Cheltenham maximises the benefit from the development, economically, environmentally, and culturally.
At a time when commercial investment in the UK risks stalling, the Council has been able use its own money raising powers to ensure that Cyber Central is not delayed.
We see this as a good investment because the Cyber industry is one of the most rapidly expanding sectors in the world economy, with Cyber Security a crucial component of it. This is also an industry in which the UK is a world leader, with GCHQ its flag ship. The international nature of the Cyber Industry will limit the impact Brexit has on the future development of the site. This is an investment in the future of Cheltenham. It will provide opportunities for our young people for decades to come as well as financial returns to the Council to fund the services we provide.