Barking and Dagenham’s drive to become a centre for digital and media industries has received a massive boost after the council gave the thumbs up to plans to build two of the UK’s largest data centres.

The planning decision, which had been referred to the Mayor of London’s office for review, gives the seal of approval to NTT Communications Corporation to develop two 212m long buildings on the former Sanofi site at Dagenham East. Once developed the buildings will house large scale data hosting infrastructure which is be critical for sectors such as digital media, cloud computing and Content Defined Networks among others and will support East London’s emerging technological industries.

The development will be yards away from the proposed site for London’s largest film studios.

Cllr Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, said: “Giving the green light to these two huge data centres will mean Barking and Dagenham will be able to power London’s digital led economy well into the 21st century.”

Pat Hayes, Managing Director of Be First, Barking and Dagenham Council’s regeneration company, said: “The borough used to be famous for Fords and factories but with these new data centres and studios, we will soon be famous for films, media and digital technology.”

A spokesperson for e-shelter, the NTT Communications owned data centre operator, said “We welcome the decision from Barking and Dagenham Council to give this project the green light and we look forward to working with the council and local stakeholders in helping to deliver industry leading digital infrastructure in the borough.”

James Kingdom, Head of Head of Alternatives Research at JLL, global property adviser, commented: “Data centres are an essential form of infrastructure to help support the growing digitalisation of how we live and work. The growth of new commercial areas means that East London is a key area in delivering new supply and helping the capital to remain a global leader in data centre delivery.”

Cllr Rodwell said: “These developments will bring thousands of jobs for local people at all levels – from construction workers and carpenters hotel to set designers and film and TV producers. It’s another sign that Barking and Dagenham is booming.”

FAO Editors:

In July this year, Barking and Dagenham Council gave planning consent to NTT to build the data centres.

The decision was then referred to Greater London Authority. Last week Deputy Mayor, Jules Pipe, said he was content to allow Barking and Dagenham Council to make the final decision itself.

The council has now given formal notice to grant permission (12 September).