Thursday 31 March 2011

Withdrawn objection fails to save data centre

PROPOSALS FOR what was billed as one of the world’s largest data centres to be located at Kilpedder, Co Wicklow, have been rejected by An Bord Pleanála.

In an unusual move, the board rejected as too late an attempt by the last of four objectors to withdraw the appeal.

It is not known if the promoters of the 82-acre “digital services campus” which was to have been a centre for the latest cloud-computing technology will launch a new planning application.

In its decision, the board said the site was “a greenfield, unserviced rural area”, between Kilpedder and Newtownmountkennedy, and “not in an area identified for urban growth in the Regional Planning Guidelines for the Greater Dublin Area, 2010-2022”.

It said the site had “an attractive landscape character” being part of the demesne lands of Mount Kennedy House, a protected structure; and that the site was prominent in views from the N11 road.

The board also said the proposed campus was poorly served by public transport and would lead to a reliance on private cars.

It said it was “not satisfied” that the site requirements for a data centre, including high-quality connections to power and communications networks, “cannot be provided on more appropriately located serviced lands in other parts of the greater Dublin area, including Co Wicklow, where a data centre would be more sustainable in terms of environmental impacts and accessibility”.

It cited issues relating to waste water and a nearby private supply, and drainage to sensitive habitats along the coast.

After the proposal was approved by Wicklow County Council, it was referred to the board by four objectors. Three of these, including one from the National Roads Authority, were successfully withdrawn.

However, the board ruled the withdrawal of the fourth appeal from Claus, Iris and Marc Michel based at a nearby organic farm, could not be withdrawn as the withdrawal notification arrived one day after the board had made its decision in the case.

Attempts to get a comment from promoter Brian McDonagh of Ecologic Datacentres were not successful yesterday.

Irish Times

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