Cyber Quarter Officially Opened

The £9m Cyber Quarter – Midlands Centre for Cyber Security based at Skylon Park on the Herefordshire Enterprise Zone has been officially opened.

Erika Lewis, director for cyber security and digital identity at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, was joined by a senior representative from the National Cyber Security Centre – a part of GCHQ – alongside partners to cut the ribbon on the new building.

The centre is a joint venture between the University of Wolverhampton and Herefordshire Council and is part-funded by the Government’s Local Growth Fund, via the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The 2,000 square metre building will provide significant resources for research and development across three cyber laboratories, advanced training facilities as part of the University’s Wolverhampton Cyber Research Institute and additional business space for up to 16 cyber companies.

Despite work temporarily halted on the site due to pandemic lockdown restrictions in March, Speller Metcalfe carried out a phased return recently with a reduced workforce, in line with revised protocols and protective measures enabling progress.

The new building has generated 80% spend locally within 30 miles of the project which includes subcontractors Folbig Fabrications, Hereford Asbestos Services, Herefordshire Council Building Control and Quickskip, based close to the site at Rotherwas.

Minister for Media, Data and Digital Infrastructure, Julia Lopez, said: “This new state-of-art-centre will be a fantastic addition to the country’s booming cyber security industry and offer businesses the support they need to take their ideas to the next level.

“Growing and developing the UK’s technology sector is a crucial part of our mission to level up and we are backing firms with pro-innovation policies and supporting people to get the skills to succeed.”

The new centre incorporates a full height glass atrium to provide a dual break-out space and function hall, alongside the main three storey building that houses business suites, innovation rooms, IT workshops and a ‘Cyber Range’ – a cutting edge facility that will defend against the global rise of hacking.

The building is constructed using a glulam and CLT frame, with a high quality exposed visual timber finish. The roof structure is to be glue-laminated timber beams with diagonal feature bracing and rafters with triangulated roof-lights integrated. The CLT and glulam hybrid structure has sequestered 30 tonnes of CO2e (the equivalent steel/concrete equivalent would have emitted 563 tonnes of CO2e).

The team was made up of Associated Architects Speller Metcalfe, Hybrid Structures, Cundall, Ramboll, Gleeds and Couch Perry Wilkes.

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