AN AMBITIOUS project for a high-tech computer centre on a redeveloped site at Didcot Power Station, has been cautiously welcomed because it could bring major investment to the area.

Plans for two new so-called data stations on the site in Milton Road were approved by Vale of White Horse District Council's planning committee, despite concerns from councillors and residents.

The proposal consists of two separate buildings – a single storey 8,692 m2 data centre and a two storey 20,800 m2 data centre in a secure compound, The plans include CCTV and a security gatehouse at the main entrance on Milton Road.

Unit 1 is located to the east, while unit 2 is in the middle of the site on a north-south orientation.

The land to the west of unit 2 is reserved for future development proposals unknown at this time but will be secured by perimeter fencing and laid to grass.

The applicant has confirmed any future proposals on this land would be the subject of a separate planning application.

The two buildings are set to house networks of 'remote servers hosted to store, manage, and process data' and will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The project is set to deliver the equivalent of 100 full-time jobs and planning officers believe the buildings would not have a detrimental impact on neighbours.

However, villagers in nearby Sutton Courtenay have expressed concerns about increased traffic and aspects of the landscaping of the site.

In a statement to the Vale of White Horse planning committee last week, ward councillor Richard Webber said: "There is pressure on this whole area from an expanding Didcot, MEPC Milton Park, FCC Recycling Landfill and from numerous warehouses. However, this land is reserved commercial and industrial use on the local plans.

"Given that we need data centres, and by their nature they attract fewer people and less traffic than other developments, this scheme is welcomed in principle.

"There are, however, a number of problems – first, there are two applications here, and there is much local concern that by accepting the first, smaller data centre, the second, much larger, could pass by default.

"There is every likelihood that a customer will be found for the first one, but there is much less certainty for the second."

Mr Webber also proposed that if the committee approved both applications, it restrict the use to a data centre only – not warehouses, which would bring more traffic onto roads in Didcot.