Walsall Regeneration Company (WRC) has revealed plans for phase one of the £400m redevelopment of Walsall Gigaport, a technology quarter for the West Midlands town.

The plans for the first phase, an £80m data centre and business innovation centre comprising offices and incubator units, were submitted to the local council today. The first phase also includes the One Gigaport office complex. The entire scheme will total 1.7m sq ft.

The company is planning a ‘21st century technology platform’, which it calls a UK first, to exploit the growth of next-generation broadband, using fibre optics, and its associated technologies.

Wider redevelopment

If planning is granted, the first phase should be operational by 2010.

The regeneration is part of a wider redevelopment of the area, including a £500m Town Centre scheme.

WRC chief executive Dr Peter Cromar said: ‘Walsall has some of the best schools in the country, but when these young people leave and go to university they don’t come back. The Gigaport and office corridor will create and attract the high quality jobs that they and other local people can aspire to.’

WRC director Dr Geoff Archenhold said: ‘WRC, with the support of private and public sector partners, has already forged links with a number of world leaders in these technologies. The planning application is the first stage to earmark the land needed to attract the developers and investors who will make it a reality.’