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Steel Framed Buildings A Data Detail In Blackpool

Steel framed buildings have had many uses down the years, from warehouses to agricultural buildings, but they are increasingly being used as data storage centres across the country.

The need to store data is increasing as information is increasingly kept in digital form, and while end users may think the ‘cloud’ is some nebulous entity floating around, it ultimately comes down to a lot of hardware that holds data on microchips in large steel buildings that need to be kept cool to stop the servers overheating.

Blackpool has been lined up for such a centre at the town’s planned Enterprise Zone. Based at a business park known as Silicon Sands, it will use a pioneering form of cooling known as liquid immersion, instead of the energy-intensive fans used elsewhere. It will also be greener in other ways, chiefly by using renewable energy to run the centre.

However, before the builders can move in to construct this building and others on the site, better access is required and the whole project has been given a huge boost by news that work on a crucial second access road to the site will start this month.

Starting with pre-construction work, the £18.5 million road will help unlock another 10.5 hectares at the Eastern Gateway end of the site, which consists of 144 hectares in total and will have a crucial role to play in helping revive Blackpool’s economy.

There will already be plenty more new steel frame buildings appearing at the Enterprise zone as various firms and organisations move in. Silicon Sands is also lined up for warehouses, industrial units and data-intensive tech sectors such as companies developing AI systems. These may be added to by new developments at the Eastern Gateway.

Not all of the Enterprise Zone consists of new buildings, with Blackpool Airport already in place and at the centre of it, but it is clear new, swiftly built, lightweight construction methods using steel buildings can help quickly establish many business premises and help provide much-needed employment across the Fylde coast area.

The inclusion of a data centre may come as little surprise, as these are increasingly appearing across the north of England. Planning permission was recently granted for a new data centre on an industrial estate in the Reddish area of Stockport.

London-based Kao Data, the company behind the centre, is keen to increase the geographic spread of data centres across the UK, as most are presently located in and around the capital. It chose the Manchester area due to its large population and strong science base.

Kao Founder and chairman David Bloom responded to the planning consent by saying: “This is an important milestone for Kao Data, as the plans to bring the technological benefits of our advanced data centre platform to the north of England are approved to proceed.”

If other firms follow, the steel frame structures housing data centres in Stockport and Blackpool will be followed by many more, especially if the supporting infrastructure and concerted efforts to grow local economies are in place to encourage this.


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