Blackpool eyes up data centre market

05 June 2024

Civic leaders in Blackpool have invited data centre operators to view their plans to convert former aircraft hangers at Blackpool Airport into a high-performance data centre campus.

Feasibility studies are also taking place to connect the Silicon Sands project to a district heat network, with waste heat from the data centres being re-used to heat surrounding businesses.

“Silicon Sands has the potential to be a complete game-changer in our plans to make Blackpool better. With the power supply, land availability and ultra-fast internet access, we can sit at the heart of a new digital revolution not just for the town, but for the entire region,” said Cllr Mark Smith, cabinet member for Levelling Up (Place) at Blackpool Council. “For Blackpool, this could mean significant inward investment and thousands of well-paid new jobs across the Fylde Coast, which in turn will retain the talent of our young people in Blackpool rather than losing them to other parts of the country, as well allowing high performance businesses of the future to grow fast on the Fylde Coast. For the data centre industry, Silicon Sands offers the chance to reduce its impact on the environment and on the National Grid and show a modern climate friendly future that can bring major regeneration benefits.”

A first data centre is set to start construction next year on a cleared area of land and Blackpool Council is hosting an expression of interest for data centre developers and operators to build and run the site, which would also include a research and office facility on upper floors. To develop the Silicon Sands site, work is progressing to relocate and rebuild old hangars and administration buildings at Blackpool Airport closer to the main runway.