West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) is looking to sell several historic buildings including a data center in Northampton, UK.

The council buildings are described as no longer "functional or effective for modern operations needs," and are thus being proposed to be offered under a long-term leasehold for flats or hotel use.

former constabulary building
– Google Maps

A complication to the plan lies in the Former Constabulary Block on Angel Street. Used by the police force in the early 20th century, and most recently used as the offices for the county's coroner, the building houses a data center in its extension.

That data center is the WNC Data Centre, and remains in use. According to Agenda Item 13 for the WNC cabinet, the data center is the only "current substantial use" within the Former Constabulary Block.

The agenda goes on to say: "While this use is expected to cease eventually, there is no defined timescale for this at present. Until that time, the WNC use will need to be protected on site. However, separation from original Constabulary Building may be possible to facilitate conversion in the short to medium term."

The council speculates that selling the building for long leasehold or freehold to be converted into flats or townhouses may need to wait until the council no longer needs the data center.

The WNC is investigating how plausible it would be to separate the data center from the block. If so, "it is possible that the disposal and conversion timescales could be accelerated."

Limited information about the WNC Data Centre is shared.

DCD has contacted the council to find out more about the size and capacity of the facility, and future plans for migration or upgrades.

In addition to the Former Constabulary Block, the council is looking to dispose of the Grade I listed Sessions House, County Hall, and the 17th Century Judge's Lodgings. The buildings have become mostly unused after the eight councils in the area merged into two in 2021. The agenda report said of the decision: "It is clear that the council has a surplus of office and administrative meeting rooms, and we are not making the best use of the space we have in terms of value for money."

Several UK councils still have their own data centers instead of opting for cloud-based solutions. In 2021, Brent Council outlined a £3.8m ($5.3m at the time) data center upgrade plan including new replacing backup solutions and upgrading to a hyperconverged infrastructure solution.

January 2022 saw Swansea Council announce plans to migrate its data center to its Guildhall building, as well as to move some of its infrastructure to Oracle Cloud. This enabled the council to reduce its data center footprint by around 60 percent.