Global Switch has been granted planning permission for a new data center in east London.

At a Tower Hamlets Council meeting this week, and first reported by Building and Building Design, the Strategic Development Committee granted approval for a new data center on a car park adjacent to its existing London East and London North buildings at East India Dock House, 240 East India Dock Road.

Global Switch London South
– Global Switch

The company had filed for the erection of a data center (use Class B8) adjacent to East India Dock House with a connecting bridge over Nutmeg Lane to the existing London East building along with associated works.

The facility will provide approximately 27,000 sqm of floor space within a part-six and part-seven story building plus a basement level and rooftop plant. An energy report said the London South, when operating at notional full capacity, would have an energy consumption of 27,180MWh per year, equating to around 3.1MW.

The company is yet to officially announce the development.

Council officers had recommended that the proposed development be granted planning permission, and the proposal was granted planning permission subject to conditions. TTSP and Stantec were the architect and agent, respectively.

The Greater London Authority noted concerns, saying the proposal would “significantly impact” on views of the listed East India Dock House, but conceded public benefits of the development "outweigh the level of identified harm". Historic England also said the proposals will cause some harm to the grade II* listed building.

Global Switch’s London North facility, also known as East India Dock House or the Grimshaw building (after architect Nicholas Grimshaw), was previously the Financial Times Printworks. The FT moved into the printworks in 1988 and moved out in 1995, after which it was turned into a data center. The building has won multiple architecture awards and was Grade II* listed in 2016.

Though much taller than the existing London North facility, the application said the new building was designed to be ‘the slimmest possible’ to meet the needs of the data center while providing ‘appropriate separation/setback’ from the listed building and still allowing it to be viewed from the nearby DLR train line.

The council noted the alternative solution of extending the existing East India Dock House data center would ‘cause harm to the asset itself’.

This development is seemingly separate from another recent data center proposal in close proximity. Last year developers proposed a 30MW, 35,000 sqm (376,700 sq ft) data center located just south of the existing Global Switch London North data center & car park and is currently occupied by two office buildings known as Mulberry Place and Lighterman House.

No end-user for the data center was listed, but Global Switch owns facilities directly to the north and east of the proposed development. Telehouse also owns several facilities in the vicinity.

Though recommended by council planning officers and expected to authorize the application, council officials denied planning permission for the development.

Officials said the proposals – which included a large amount of residential development – were “bulky” and would have a negative impact on the nearby Naval Row Conservation Area. Concerns about the mix of affordable housing proposed under the scheme were also raised.

Shagang-owned Global Switch is reportedly looking to sell itself, with EQT, KKR, and PAG rumored to have been selected as the final shortlisted bidders for the company.

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