Blackpool Airport EZ Masterplan Visual, Blackpool Council, p Blackpool Council

Around £84m of public investment is required t get the site development ready. Credit: via Blackpool Council

Blackpool ramps up delivery of Silicon Sands data cluster 

Aiming to exploit the enterprise zone’s ultra-fast internet speeds, the council is progressing plans for a “high-tech business park” targeting the advanced manufacturing, virtual reality, and esports industries. 

The 20-acre Silicon Sands – a series of data centres powered by renewable energy – aims to take advantage of the CeltixConnect-2 internet cable, which sends data from Blackpool to New York under the sea at high speeds. 

The development would also position Blackpool as a leader for green data, the council said. 

The data centres would be powered by renewable energy, while also being liquid immersion cooled to increase efficiency and reduce emissions. Any excess heat created from the data centres would then be reused to heat surrounding buildings in a district heat network. 

“Our plans at Silicon Sands show that we can make Blackpool a leading location for high-tech jobs of the future, while tackling the climate emergency at the same time,” said Cllr Mark Smith, cabinet member for levelling up (place) at Blackpool Council. 

“Having data centres with ultra-fast connections as part of the Enterprise Zone will help us stand out as a leading destination for growing technology companies. This will bring more high-quality, futureproof jobs to the town and increase opportunities for our local people.” 

Blackpool Council’s executive is expected to sign off proposals for enabling work to unlock Silicon Sands on Monday, a move that will pave the way for the first data centre on land off Squires Gate Lane.

An access road connecting the site with Common Edge Lane, as well as Blackpool’s first solar farm and a battery storage facility by Blackpool Airport, are also in line to progress next week, along with the relocation of some airport administration buildings.  

Work on the £20m new road is expected to start early next year and be completed before March 2026, as a requirement of the £7.5m grant from the Blackpool Town Deal. 

Plans have already been submitted to build a new access road connecting Amy Johnson Way to the B5261 at Blackpool Airport and new hangars.

The scheme forms part of the wider Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone, which covers business parks at Squires Gate Industrial Estate and Blackpool Business Park off Amy Johnson Way, as well as Blackpool Airport. 

The council says the EZ has attracted 2,500 new jobs since it was granted the special status in 2016. 

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That aiport could be a gold mine (in terms of economic value if not profit value) unless you build it up and make it non-operationall viable. Like Plymouth did. Like rejecting a station in the railway age. Private jets and vtol could connect Blackpool to Mcr and Liverpool. Think long term.

By Anonymous

This Project has been in the pipeline for quite a while. But the forward-looking and innovative thinking that has gone into the planning is absolutely terrific. The combination of on-site Energy Generation and Battery Storage, coupled with a State-of-Art Immersion Cooled Data Centre will be a game changer for the IT scene in the NorthWest. And it will give Manchester and even London a run for the money! Big Congratulations to the Keen Minds that have pulled this Project Together. Godspeed to All.

By Brian C.

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