CyrusOne is facing the prospect of enduring a similar experience that caused Apple to ultimately pull out of its Athenry data centre project after Irish residents have vowed to take the data centre firm to the High Court.
Residents in Baldonnel, a south-west Dublin suburb, have complained about CyrusOne’s decision to build a significantly bigger site than initially planned, as well as a secretive deal struck with other locals.
According to the Irish Sunday Independent, the firm agreed to buy the homes of three Baldonnel locals if planning permission for the larger site goes ahead.
The initial land purchase made by CyrusOne was for a 14.98-acre site at Grange Castle Business Park from South Dublin County Council for €6.7 million (approx. £5.9 million), but plans submitted to the local council found that with the purchase of these residents’ homes, the site would extend to 22.75 acres, allowing space for two data centres.
CyrusOne irritates residents
It is because of this decision, and the fact that the site would then become significantly larger, that residents are angry. Local Tara Beattie told the Independent that the new plans would mean a very large industrial building placed extremely close to her house.
“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,” said Beattie.
“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.”
Beattie and her husband are now working with a planning consultant, who has taken the case to the relevant planning authority. Beattie has said she is willing to take CyrusOne to court if necessary.
The news comes shortly after the IDA, the Irish organisation in charge of procuring foreign investment into the country, released a report arguing that data centre investment is crucially important to the Irish economy.