Three Rivers District Council (TRDC) has refused a planning application for a large data centre in Abbots Langley.
On January 18, TRDC’s Planning Committee considered a proposal for a hyperscale data centre in a field alongside Bedmond Road and the M25.
TRDC’s rejection of the plans seemed a foregone conclusion after a report provided to the committee ahead of the meeting recommended permission be refused.
All councillors present unanimously voted to refuse permission, with the scale of the facility being described as “inappropriate” for the green belt.
The application, which was submitted by developers Greystoke Land, would have seen existing structures on land north of Mansion House Farm on Bedmond Road demolished and replaced with an 84,000-square-metre data centre.
This would have comprised two new buildings up to 20 metres in height, a country park, and other associated infrastructure.
A number of residents voiced their objections to the proposal on TRDC’s planning portal.
The report listed three reasons for refusal, one of which was the site falling within green belt without being judged to meet the “very special circumstances” required to do so.
The report added that it would also fail to protect the natural environment due to its huge size. It claimed the development would “result in significant demonstrable harm to the character and appearance of the area and the natural environment”.
Officers also felt financial contribution towards improving walking and cycling routes in the area should be required of the developer, which was not formally committed to.
A spokesman for Greystoke said: “We appreciate councillors and officials have a very difficult job to do, but we are disappointed by this decision.
“The UK needs large data centres to support economic growth and digital leadership. Building one here in Abbots Langley will bring hundreds of well-paid jobs to the area, £12million investment in education and training, and a new country park.
“Failing to build here will mean employers and investors will look to Frankfurt, Amsterdam, and Paris instead.”