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Tech giant Microsoft to create 120 jobs in Newport as new data centre approved

The former Quinn Radiators site in Newport, pictured in July 2023 (Pic: Google)

TECH giant Microsoft will create a reported 120 jobs in Newport when it opens a data centre on the edge of the city.

Councillors granted planning permission on Wednesday for the firm to build two large units in Celtic Way, on the site of the former Quinn Radiators factory – which will be demolished.

The new Microsoft data centre will specialise in cloud storage and will comprise two buildings standing nine metres tall, interspersed with 14-metre chimneys for a series of backup generators.

And it was these which proved the only sticking point during the planning committee meeting, over concerns about pollution levels that dozens of diesel engines could create in the event of a power cut.

Planning committee member Cllr Trevor Watkins requested council officers present a report that shows how much pollution could be generated in such an emergency.

But those doubts did not dampen enthusiasm for the project, which tie in with the council’s own aspirations to draw high-tech companies to the city and continue to develop an industrial “cluster” that is largely based on semiconductor production.

Cllr Watkins told colleagues it was “nice to see a worldwide company coming to the area”, while committee colleague Cllr Jason Jordan added he would “welcome” Microsoft’s arrival in Newport.

Planning officer Grant Hawkins told the committee the footprint of the data centre will be significantly smaller than the Quinn buildings – several of which have already been approved for demolition under a previous application.

The Microsoft site will also undergo “landscaping” including the addition of several ponds, and the new buildings will be constructed from materials similar to a semiconductor factory which is currently being erected opposite.

As part of the planning permission, which was granted unanimously by the committee, Microsoft will contribute £104,000 towards improved cycling and walking infrastructure along Celtic Way.

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