Friday, 4 March 2011

Roads body withdraws objections to Wicklow data centre

The National Roads Authority (NRA) has withdrawn objections to plans for one of the world’s largest data centres at Newtownmountkennedy in Co Wicklow.

The NRA’s decision to drop objections to the proposed €1 billion development came after a strong local campaign that included assurances from Wicklow County Council on improvements to a junction on the N11.

Ecologic Datacentres of Newtownmountkennedy has proposed an 82-acre 'digital services campus' based on the latest cloud computing technology and associated industries on a site it owns at Mountkennedy Demesne.

While the centre would employ some 200 people when fully operational, the developers envisage a multiple of that number employed during construction.

The developers intend the campus to be carbon-negative, using electricity from renewable sources. Heat generated by the facility will be used in a district heating system. They also plan to build a tourist 'biodome park' similar to the Eden Project in England.

The NRA based its objections to the project on access to the N11 - consultants’ reports said the present interchange would be unable to handle additional traffic.

However, the authority last week confirmed it had received assurances from the council that road improvements would be made without use of NRA funds.

Brian McDonagh of Ecologic Datacentres said the campus would include a new road parallel to the N11, serving the site from its Kilpedder end to the Ballyroan roundabout. He said this would allow for a cycle track linking the Newtownmountkennedy road with Kilpedder.

Mr McDonagh rejected criticism that, as a property developer, he was not in a position to deliver the cloud computing business. He said his company was in talks with some of the industry’s best-known names. He said the talks, in San Francisco, were going well.

Council chairman Tom Fortune welcomed the announcement, saying the project had tremendous spin-off potential for the area.

The Irish Times

www.buckplanning.ie

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