Work on the £9 million Cyber Quarter – Midlands Centre for Cyber Security in Hereford has hit new heights by reaching another milestone.
Building contractor, Speller Metcalfe, has now reached the highest point of the new building, based on Skylon Park, Hereford Enterprise Zone, and a virtual topping out ceremony filmed by partners has marked the occasion.
The new building is a joint venture between the University of Wolverhampton and Herefordshire Council, part-funded by the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
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, designed by Birmingham based Associated Architects, 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.
Councillor David Hitchiner, Leader of Herefordshire Council, said: “In this time of crisis it’s good to be able to recognise the continued development of the Cyber Quarter – Midlands Centre for Cyber Security, developing a world-class facility focused on cyber security, an area where there is already considerable interest and expertise. The Centre will retain skills in the County as well as attracting highly skilled people to live and work here. We know both will be key in the County’s economic recovery in the months and years ahead.”
Andrew Manning-Cox, Chair of Hereford Enterprise Zone, Skylon Park and a non-executive director of the Marches LEP, said: “I am delighted to be taking part in the virtual topping out ceremony. This project marks the culmination of a huge amount of effort and is the product of coordinated funding support from a number of partners. In today’s society we can see how vital it is that businesses have security of their IT and information, all the more important with the ability to work remotely and from different locations around the world. This underlines the relevance and importance of having a new Cyber Centre in Herefordshire.”
Professor Geoff Layer, Vice Chancellor at the University of Wolverhampton, said: “Together with our partners I’m delighted that this new building will soon be open. It’s a magnificent new Centre that brings to Hereford a brand new research and innovation, training and incubation start-up that focuses on how we can develop the skills of the future with the research and innovation that many of our companies need. This is a major innovation in the area and one that will firmly put Hereford on the map in terms of cyber security.”
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.
The centre, which secured £2.82m of funding via the Marches LEP’s Growth Deal with Government in 2017, is part of the new Cyber Quarter at Skylon Park, already home to numerous defence and security sector businesses.
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 Cyber Quarter – Midlands Centre for Cyber Security will be open in the autumn of 2020.