Go ahead for £200m Pinewood expansion plans


Go ahead for £200m Pinewood expansion plans

Pinewood Studios has been used for the making of more than 1,500 movies over 76 years including the most recent James Bond movie, Skyfall.


In January 2014 the expansion plans proposed by Pinewood were rejected by the local council and central Government due to being “inappropriate in the Green Belt.”


Named as the Pinewood Studios Development Framework (PSDF), the project will double the existing studios by adding 100,000 square metres of new facilities, including 12 large stages, workshops and production offices.


The firm’s plans to make it the biggest studio in the UK with a sufficient capacity to host four film productions instead of two at a time.


The expansion project will be delivered in three phases over the next 15 years, beginning in early 2015.


Several existing buildings will be demolished during Phase one works, and subsequently, around 120,000 sq ft of stages, a similar amount of workshops and 160,000 sq ft of offices will be built by hundreds of construction workers.


Communities secretary Eric Pickles approved of the plan to expand the existing facilities although he identified its harmful impacts to the green belt but said that economic growth was more important on this occasion.


The official letter announcing the decision said: “Overall, the secretary of state concludes very special circumstances exist to warrant allowing the inappropriate development, overriding the identified conflict with the development plan.”


Ivan Dunleavy, chief executive of Pinewood Shepperton plc, commented on the announcement: “Our project builds on the success of the government’s policy for the creative industries and addresses the shortage of stage space in the UK.  As a result of today’s green light from the secretary of state, thousands of much needed new jobs will be created in this growing sector of the economy.  We want to begin construction as soon as possible.”


The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) supported the approval of the expansion plans. Matthew Fell, CBI director for competitive market, said: “Pinewood has showcased the best of British film talent on and off screen for decades, so this chance to expand can help boost investment and jobs in the industry. The UK’s creative industries are already world-beaters and make a huge contribution to our economy. Now we need to build on this potential to help them achieve even greater global success.” 


Photo Source: BBC