Consultation has opened on Equinix’s plan to turn a former paint factory in Slough, UK, into a data center.

The colocation company has revealed details of its plans for the former AkzoNobel factory on Wexham Road, ahead of submitting a planning application for the facility later this year.

It acquired the site in 2022 and, if the scheme is approved, said it hopes to start construction work on a three-building data center in the next three to four years.

Slough, west of London, is a major UK data center hub, and Equinix already runs six facilities in the area.

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Equinix's plans for Wexham Road, Slough – Equinix

Equinix’s plan for new Slough data center

Equinix claims the development will create a “landmark in Slough”, and said the new facility will be “a recognisable piece of architecture that is associated with the prevalent technology industry in the area.”

In its consultation presentation, the company said its plans for the 11.5 acre site are at an early stage, but that the development will comprise of three buildings, each with a separate data hall. Technical specifications, size, and planned capacity of the site have not been revealed. DCD has approached Equinix for further information.

Speaking to the Slough Observer, Bruce Owen, managing director of Equinix UK, said: “Equinix is proud to be an active member of the Slough community with our six existing sites, and so we fully understand the importance of ongoing investment to keep Slough's position as the connectivity cornerstone of the world.

“This proposed revitalization of the former AkzoNobel Decorative Paints site on Wexham Road will transform the site from its industrial past and establish a new state of the art facility for the future.”

Owen added that the development “will bring positive impacts on the local economy,” handing a “boost to local employment and training, as well as investment in Slough’s community through the creation of a technology campus, improved public spaces and enriched biodiversity.”

The consultation on the plans runs until 27 March.

Fate of AkzoNobel paint factory revealed

The AkzoNobel site started life as a paint factory opened by Naylor Brothers after World War One. It later became part of Nobel Chemical Finishes, which used Slough as a base for manufacturing, distribution, and sale of its products, including the Dulux range.

Latterly it was owned by AkzoNobel, one of the world’s largest paint companies, which sold the site in 2019. It was subsequently acquired by Slough Council for £38.5 million ($43m) with a view to turning it into a mixed commercial and residential development of 1,000 homes.

However, in 2022 the council agreed to sell the site because the cost of the development was likely to be prohibitive. It said at the time it had agreed a deal to sell the land to an unnamed bidder seeking to turn the factory into a data center. Council leader James Swindlehurst described the offer as “probably the single biggest beneficial transaction I’ve ever seen" for the council.

Equinix was revealed as the site’s new owner last year, when it successfully for planning permission to demolish existing buildings on the site in preparation for its new data centers.

The company already has a big presence in Slough, and last year gained planning permission for a new 30MW data center, which will be known as LD14. It will be located on Banbury Avenue, where Equinix already operates its LD7-1 building. A second building, LD7-2, is under development. The company’s LD4, 5, 6, 10, 11x, and 13x data centers are also in Slough.

Other companies that operate from the Slough data center hub include Virtus, Kao, CyrusOne, and Iron Mountain.