Plans for a new data center in Buckinghamshire, UK, are back on the table after a successful legal challenge.
First reported by Planning Resource, the UK High Court has overruled a planning inspector’s decision to reject the company’s planned development, after the court identified errors in the Inspectorate's decision.
Plans for a data center were first filed in December 2020. Link Park Heathrow filed with Buckinghamshire and Hillingdon Councils to demolish the existing buildings at its site on Thorney Mill Road in Iver to develop a 55,000 sqm (592,000 sq ft) data center along with offices and an on-site substation.
The company aims to develop a single, three-story facility on 10.75 acres. The 60MW facility would offer a total of 16,850 sqm (181,400 sq ft) of IT space.
Both councils failed to make a decision on the proposed development, leading Link Park to appeal to the UK Planning Inspectorate. After a hearing and site visit, the Inspectorate dismissed the company’s appeal in a December 2022 decision.
The Inspectorate said the decision to deny outline planning permission was made as it was viewed the development would “conflict” with the area’s development plan and “harm” the Green Belt area of outer London.
“The proposed development would result in significant harm to the character and appearance of the immediate surroundings and also some harm to the wider area,” the Inspectorate said. “The development would also have an adverse effect upon the air quality levels in Buckinghamshire and Hillingdon and would not also provide appropriate employment opportunities for the occupiers of Buckinghamshire.”
Link Park then filed an appeal against the Inspectorate’s decision to deny the development, with the company successful in the high court.
The company claimed the Inspectorate’s conclusions around the lack of employment opportunities offered were “inconsistent and/or irrational,” "erred in law” on certain points, and were wrong around the impact on the Green Belt given the site is already used for commercial industrial properties.
Nestled between existing data center hotspots Slough and Hayes, Iver isn’t traditionally a major development area for data centers. However, Segro, CyrusOne, CorScale, and Amazon are looking to develop data centers in the area.
Link Park’s site is located in the south of Iver, near to Iver station and close to the Segro, CorScale, and Amazon sites, while CyrusOne’s is located further north.