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Ultra-fast broadband hub set for go-ahead despite concerns surrounding 'noise levels'

PUBLISHED: 08:42 02 October 2019 | UPDATED: 10:11 02 October 2019

Plans have been lodged to clear an “undeveloped” piece of land in Lowestoft for the potential siting of an ultra-fast broadband hub. The view looking south-west across the centre of the site for the land north of Barnards Way, Lowestoft. Picture: Suffolk Wildlife Trust (SWT Trading Ltd)

Plans have been lodged to clear an "undeveloped" piece of land in Lowestoft for the potential siting of an ultra-fast broadband hub. The view looking south-west across the centre of the site for the land north of Barnards Way, Lowestoft. Picture: Suffolk Wildlife Trust (SWT Trading Ltd)

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A scheme that would boost internet connectivity speed as part of a wider roll-out across a coastal town looks set to be given the green light.

Plans have been lodged to clear an "undeveloped" piece of land in Lowestoft for the potential siting of an ultra-fast broadband hub.

CityFibre - a builder of Gigabit Cities - has recently partnered with Vodafone to bring ultra-fast full fibre broadband to one million UK homes and businesses by 2021.

With the CityFibre network expanding to incorporate 10 towns across Suffolk - including Lowestoft - the new system, which is being constructed over the next 12 to 18 months, is said to be 10 times faster than the current rates offered in the county.

A change of use application has been submitted by CityFibre to develop a new data centre and proposed works on land north of Barnards Way in Lowestoft.

The proposal centres around the "Siting of two containers, two generators and associated air conditioning equipment surrounded by 2.4-metre-high mesh fencing for use as a data centre."

It is due to be heard at a meeting of the council's planning committee north next Tuesday, October 8 at Riverside in Lowestoft.

The planning report states: "Planning permission is sought to change the use of a parcel of land along Barnards Way, Lowestoft, to a data centre to be used in connection with the roll-out of high-speed internet across Lowestoft."

With the land owned by East Suffolk Council, it presently forms part of the Barnards Way/Denmark Road employment site.

Suffolk Wildlife Trust carried out a preliminary ecological appraisal of the site. The planning report adds: "It is stated that the scheme would deliver enhancements to Internet connectivity speed and forms an essential piece of modern infrastructure."

However, the council's Head of Environmental Health has raised concerns regarding emissions and noise levels from the proposed development.

It concludes: "While the proposal may result in some infrequent impact on air quality and minor impacts visual amenity impacts, it is not considered that these impacts would be significant.

"In addition, the proposal would help in the roll-out of improved Internet speeds to both the town and Suffolk.

"Therefore, on balance, it is considered that the greater economic improvement outweighs the marginal environmental impact arising, and the application is recommended for approval subject to the receipt of acceptable additional information."

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