‘Transformative’ data centre project granted planning approval in Derry

A digitally rendered impression of the proposed Atlantic Hub project at Foyle Port in Derry.
A digitally rendered impression of the proposed Atlantic Hub project at Foyle Port in Derry.

A MAJOR international IT services and data centre has been granted outline planning approval in Derry.

Based at the Innovation Park at Foyle Port, Atlantic Hub has designs on becoming one of the most advanced data centres in western Europe, twinning with a second site at Letterkenny Technology Park, which is currently going through the planning process.

Its proponents say the project will avail of the high speed fibre optic connectivity to develop one of the largest ever property developments in the north west.

The developer has said the Atlantic Hub could offer a ‘one front door’ solution to bort the UK and Europe in the post-Brexit environment.

The site is in close proximity to the GTT transatlantic fibre-optic submarine cable – reportedly the fastest connectivity available between North America and Europe.

The project at Foyle Port will see four data centre buildings constructed at Maydown to house computer systems and secure storage for the private and public sector.

It will have the capacity for up to one million sq ft of technical floorspace, with complementary office accommodation.

Brian Doherty, managing director at Atlantic Hub, the project developer, said extensive engagement has already taken place in the international marketplace with potential clients.

“With this project planning approval, we are in prime position to accelerate our conversations with the serious players in the sector,” he said.

“The strategic location of the campus at Foyle Port is vital as it provides connectivity to local energy supplies generated from 100 per cent certified renewable sources.

“Furthermore, our efforts in the development and delivery of a ‘Green Region North West’ initiative as part of this overall project, is our commitment to ensure the region targets zero carbon emissions, pressing ahead with sustainable development that does not impact the environment and will deliver even more inward investment for the region.”

Foyle Port’s chief executive, Brian McGrath, welcomed the planning approval: “Diversification is central to our strategy at Foyle Port and the granting of permission for this data centre development plays a key role as part of our ambitious plan for the wider Port economic zone.”

The port’s development director, George Cuthbert, said: “This permission represents a statement of intent for the Port and how we are planning for the future.

“The past few months have been difficult for everyone and this positive news is a shot in the arm for the economy in this part of the island of Ireland. It presents a significant opportunity in a growth sector of international importance.”

Derry Chamber chief executive, Paul Clancy, said: “This will be a transformative project for the economy of the north west in terms of jobs, economic growth and wealth generation.

“We are encouraged about the potential this will bring and we will do all we can to help promote such a project that will ultimately attract foreign direct investment the city region.”