Pinewood unveils £194m studio plans

Pinewood StudiosThe film studio business which recently housed blockbusters Les Miserables and James Bond has submitted new plans to double the size of its historic site.

Pinewood Shepperton said it needs to expand its Buckinghamshire facilities to meet growing demand from Hollywood and compete with increasing international competition.

The group said the £194 million investment would create 3,100 jobs and add a further 100,000sq metres of stages, workshops and streetscapes.

The new application has been submitted to South Bucks District Council after a five-year battle to create its original "Project Pinewood" plan, which included a purpose-built film set with 1,400 permanent homes inside the streetscape at Iver Heath.

The plans were rejected by an inspector from the Department for Communities and Local Government last January.

Chief executive Ivan Dunleavy said: "Global demand for filmed entertainment is increasing and the UK remains one of the leading destinations to produce creative content."

He added that without infrastructure to meet the rising demand, the UK would inevitably turn away business.

The group also said the new plans would boost Government coffers by £36 million a year and generate an extra £37 million in UK exports.

Sahill Shan, analyst at N+1 Singer, said a successful application would be a "game-changer" for Pinewood.

He said: "Given the scale of the project and the fact that it involves building on green belt land, there will inevitably be opposition from various quarters. However, given the wider economic benefits of the proposal, coupled with the revised proposal omitting the contentious residential plans, the possibility of a favourable outcome is a very realistic possibility in our view."
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