£100Million Data Centre in Central London Conservation Area

PLMR Planning Tower Hamlets successful permission

PLMR client Interxion secured planning permission for a £100 million data centre in the heart of London. Interxion is a New York Stock Exchange-listed tech company providing colocation data centre services across 11 European countries. The consented scheme lies in the heart of the Truman Brewery Conservation Area in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets’ Brick Lane, adjacent to both the City of London and the emerging Tech City technology hub. Planning permission for this large and complicated development in a historically sensitive area was secured at planning committee stage in a local authority renowned as the most difficult in London to secure consent.

PLMR worked with Interxion and the wider project team to develop a tailored consultation programme to support the new planning application. The key aim of the programme was to clearly communicate the benefits associated with the proposal – to the local community, to local politicians, to the local economy and – critically in this instance – to the growing ‘e-economy’ within London.

The comprehensive consultation programme included:

  • A two-day public exhibition, advertised in local media and to which 6,000 residents and 800 businesses were invited
  • Meetings and on-site briefings with local councillors, the Mayor of LB Tower Hamlets and Chief Executive, the constituency MP and the local London Assembly Member
  • Pre-supposing potential interest from City Hall, briefings were prepared and meetings held with the Mayor of London’s Director of Environment & Digital and the Deputy Mayor for Business. Work with City Hall focused on generating support for the proposals and had the additional benefit of enabling Interxion to contribute to the Mayor’s policy-making
  • Ongoing liaison with important local interest groups, including Futureversity, a highly regarded local charity, and the Spitalfields Society. Close liaison with the Spitalfields Society throughout the application stage effectively addressed concerns about the plans and overcome previous opposition. The Society had planned to submit an objection letter, but meetings to discuss and address concerns about noise overcame their initial concerns
  • Securing letters of support from local residents; community and business groups; political representatives, including the local London Assembly Member; UKTI and the Tech City Investment Organisation

The comprehensive communication programme PLMR carried out for Interxion generated numerous letters of support, from local residents to senior government representatives. The local community was fully briefed on the scheme, which helped to minimise objections (only three letters were submitted).

Influential political audiences were kept in the loop throughout the pre-application and submission period. Not only did this bring them on-board for the development proposals, it has created new avenues for Interxion to explore new business opportunities.

Relationship building with local community groups has helped to secure support for the planning application and enabled Interxion to strengthen its corporate social responsibility credentials, further embedding the company within its local community.

The planning application went before Tower Hamlets’ Development Committee on 10th October 2012. No objectors registered to speak – this was the only application of nine considered on the evening that did not have an objector. Members questioned Officers on one point, relating to the materials used in a ‘green wall’ and then voted unanimously to grant planning permission.

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London “The commitment shown by Interxion is yet another ringing endorsement of the confidence that leading tech firms have in our city as a great place to expand their businesses, creating jobs and boosting our digital infrastructure in the process. “Importantly, the state-of-the art data centre they are bringing to Brick Lane will enable other sectors of the capital’s economy, such as financial services and retail, to reap huge benefits as well. “This is another string to Tech City’s bow as it continues to cement its reputation as one of the world’s premier digital innovation hubs.”

To find out how PLMR can help you secure planning permission for your project, please call David Madden or Rebecca Wakefield on 0207 622 9529 or email david.madden@plmr.co.uk or rebecca.wakefield@plmr.co.uk.


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