Publishing Date: Jan 25, 2024

Datacentres for better security

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A council has announced the sale of land at an airfield in Essex to Google for the “possible” development of a new data centre campus.

Epping Forest District Council said 52 acres at North Weald Airfield had been allocated for employment use.

The airfield would “continue to function as an operational aerodrome“, with a new combined control tower and fire station also planned.

The council said its announcement came after an “extensive consultation” among key local stakeholders and local residents which was carried out in light of a masterplan put together last March.

Chris Whitbread, leader of the Conservative-controlled council, said: “The potential that this development brings is immense – not only in terms of advancing our digital infrastructure but also in generating high-quality, well-paid employment opportunities and bolstering our local economy.

The sale makes the best use of the land available at North Weald Airfield, both in terms of driving forward our local economy as well as meeting the recommendations of the strategic masterplan.

The council's finance and economic development portfolio holder, John Philip, told the meeting the sale had been completed.

In a statement, a Google spokesperson said: “While we do not have a confirmed timeline for development, we want to ensure we have the option to expand our technical infrastructure, should our business demand it.

A previous plan to place an industrial estate on the site was rejected after local concerns in 2021.


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