Given the increasing threat to national and international security from cyber crime, we need to accelerate and expand our expertise and capability to address these issues. Cyber is an increasingly important economic sector, with big potential for innovative, high-skill businesses and jobs. Having Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) on the outskirts of Cheltenham makes the area an obvious choice for the development of a Cyber Park and a business park is already being developed.
Expanding the new cyber development alongside GCHQ would create a centre of excellence of national and international significance that capitalises on Gloucestershire’s unique selling point in cyber security. The focus on this high-tech, fast-moving industry would attract young professionals and support the retention of young people in the county; provide new training, upskilling, and business development opportunities; and create research partnerships and business links with centres elsewhere in the UK and internationally. There is an existing proposal for a Cyber Park – the challenge is how bold and ambitious this could be.
The Cyber Park would include a higher education research and innovation facility, working with businesses on the Park and elsewhere to support the development of new products and services. There would be on-site specialist skills training and education, at various levels. The Park would include an enterprise and innovation incubation space and support for cyber-specific start-ups, and business park space for existing businesses to re-locate or expand. There would be meeting and conference space to encourage groups to share expertise locally and beyond the Park.
The Cyber park would be be an area dedicated to cyber-related business and education development that is supported by surrounding health, housing, and leisure facilities. Economic and social benefits would be maximised, and environmental impacts minimised. Multi-modal transport planning would enable people to walk, cycle, and use public transport.