Wednesday 19 September 2018

CyrusOne faces fight over expanded data centre plan

Neighbours vow to take legal action after learning of scale of development

Data centres have created jobs in the area
Data centres have created jobs in the area

Fearghal O'Connor

Residents in a rural part of south west Dublin have vowed to fight a major US data centre provider all the way to the High Court after it did deals with other residents to allow it build a much bigger larger technology facility than previously proposed.

CyrusOne - one of the world's biggest data centre providers - has struck a deal with at least three residents in Baldonnel to purchase their homes if planning permission is approved for a data centre that could create up to 400 jobs.

The company had originally bought a 14.98-acre site at Grange Castle Business Park from South Dublin County Council for €6.7m. But when it lodged plans with the local authority it was revealed that it had struck deals to buy the homes, extending the site to 22.75 acres and allowing for two of the giant data centres to be built.

The company did not respond to queries from the Sunday Independent but land values based on the earlier deal to buy the County Council site suggests that the three families could share a windfall of more than €3m, should the development go ahead. But other residents in the area are angry at the extent of the plans since the inclusion of the extra residential land and a number of objections have been lodged.

Tara Beattie, whose home will be surrounded on three sides, said that she is not opposed to development or to data centres in the area but that she had objected to the scale of the proposed project. If it's built she will have a 300m-long, 25m-high industrial building just 60m from her kitchen window. The centre will include 32 diesel generators, each with two 20m high flues.

"We did not object when Google built a data centre next door or when Microsoft built one nearby. Our problem with this is that there is no boundary between industrial and residential and we are facing something that is much bigger than what we believed would be put there."

Beattie and her husband, who run a catering company employing 75 people, said they had no desire to sell their home but were horrified to discover that deals had been done with other neighbours to allow for a much bigger development.

"When we found out our neighbours had sold we were told that the planning was going in the following Monday and would we like to meet the planning consultants to see the plans.

"At that meeting when we saw the scale of the proposed build we asked their consultants did they want to buy our house and they informed us that we had a lot of house and a little of land and therefore we were of no interest."

The pair have since employed a planning consultant who has lodged a detailed objection with the planning authority. South Dublin County Council has since sought further information from CyrusOne on a range of issues and a decision is awaited. Beattie said she is prepared to take a legal case if necessary: "We will fight this with everything we have to ensure that they do not build to the scale they want and build something that is respectful to the existing residences."

Sunday Indo Business

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