Pinewood Studios Expansion Plan Approved
Pinewood Studios has received approval to go ahead with multimillion-pound expansion plans which would see it rival Hollywood film sets.
A host of film companies, including Universal, Disney and LucasFilms, all backed the £200m Project Pinewood, while the likes of London Mayor Boris Johnson and the British Film Institute have also come out in favour.
The Buckinghamshire site has been home to the Harry Potter and James Bond films and is where the next instalment of the Star Wars franchise, Episode VII, is being made.
The project, confirmed by the Department for Communities and Local Government, is considered critical to the future of the screen-based industries in the UK.
The plans were rejected by the local authority after a flurry of complaints that the development would wreck green belt land and put severe strain on transport networks in the commuter belt.
Pinewood is the only production complex of its size, scale and international profile in the UK, and its expansion has been deemed pivotal in encouraging growth in the industry.
The House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee recently described Pinewood's contribution as "enormous", and recognised how knocking back the plans might put scupper future investment.
They said: "A lack of studio space is already resulting in the loss of international inward investment.
"Like other studios they need to build capacity if they are to respond to growing demand. We expect demand for studio space to grow significantly with the introduction of tax credits for high-end television.
"While allowing for local concerns, the planning system should adequately recognise the significance of creative industry infrastructure."
According to a Government report, the project would secure private sector investment of nearly £200m, and the creation of 99,000sqm of new sound stages, workshops, production suites and associated production tenant office accommodation.
It would also create around 3,100 additional jobs, and described the case for expansion as "compelling and robust".