Plans for £350m data centre approved by Stockport councillors

CGI of proposed Reddish data centre

London-based Kao Data, the specialist developer and operator of data centres engineered for AI and advanced computing, has been granted planning permission to proceed with its new, 40MW, sustainable data centre in Kenwood Point, Reddish, Stockport, Greater Manchester.

Described as a significant investment for Stockport and granted unanimous approval by members of Stockport Council following a rigorous planning and consultation process, the news marks another step forward in the continued expansion of Kao Data’s industrial-scale data centre platform, and the further emergence of the UK’s ‘next-tier’ data centre hub outside of London.

Kao Data’s new Greater Manchester facility represents an inward investment of £350m into the region and has the potential to boost Stockport’s local economy by £155m during its construction period, according to a recent report from Nicol Economics.

Central to the approval was Kao Data’s detailed public consultation process, in which it worked with JLL and Cavendish Consulting to engage key members of the local business, residential and public sector communities to ensure the data centre will play a vital role within the region’s digital economy.

Further, its tangible commitments to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers were also recognised as a pivotal part of decision making, reinforcing Kao Data’s ethos for environmental social and governance (ESG), and its plans to engage with schools, colleges, and universities to support Mayor Andy Burnham’s vision for a Greater Manchester Baccalaureate (MBacc) by helping support technical career pathways for local students.

Doug Loewe, Kao Data chief executive, welcomed the unanimous planning approval, saying: “As the UK accelerates its ambitions to become a world leader in AI, and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) continues its mission to ensure the region is a world class destination for business, our new data centre will play a pivotal part in its technological and economic future.”

David Bloom, Kao founder and chairman, said: “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.

“Since inception, I have always believed that our organisation would play a vital role in serving the UK’s scientific, research and AI communities, and as we blaze a new trail into Greater Manchester, helping to pave a new path to the skyscrapers for local students, I’m excited to see those plans become reality.”

The 40,000 sq m former industrial site, which will become operational in late 2025 following its sustainable redevelopment, will create a leading infrastructure hub to support Greater Manchester’s fast growing and diverse technology ecosystem – positioning the region as one of the UK’s largest high performance computing (HPC) and artificial intelligence (AI) clusters outside London and the Oxford-Cambridge arc, and as a focal point in the Government’s technological and economic ambitions.

Furthermore, Kao Data’s BREEAM-certified and NVIDIA DGX-Ready data centre platform will create one of the UK’s most sustainable and energy-efficient homes for intensive GPU-powered computing applications.

Through its award-winning design blueprint, Kao Data’s new Greater Manchester data centre will also allow its customers to utilise their choice of air or liquid cooling technologies, ensuring the Future of Compute is underpinned by a secure, highly scalable, and sustainable infrastructure platform, engineered for AI and advanced workloads.