Pinewood Studios raises curtain on £200m expansion

Les Mis�rables is among a host of big name films produced at Pinewood Studios. Picture: AP
Les Mis�rables is among a host of big name films produced at Pinewood Studios. Picture: AP
Share this article
Have your say

The studio where films such as Prometheus and Skyfall were produced has resurrected plans for a £200 million expansion that could create more than 3,000 jobs.

Pinewood Studios said the move would give it an extra 100,000sq metres of new facilities, including stages, workshops and streetscapes.

A previous planning application for the development was blocked in January 2012 by UK Communities Secretary Eric Pickles after five years of opposition from locals in Buckinghamshire.

Ivan Dunleavy, chief executive of studio owner Pinewood Shepperton, said a revised planning application had been submitted to South Bucks District Council following “extensive consultation with a wide range of local and national stakeholders, as well as with producers and developers of creative content”.

Trainspotting director Danny Boyle, who served as artistic director for the opening ceremony of last year’s London Olympics, said: “Many of the great British films which were showcased at the Olympic opening ceremony, such as Oliver Twist, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Skyfall, were produced at Pinewood. If we are, as a country, to capitalise on our film heritage, then we need state-of-the-art facilities like those which Pinewood is proposing to both attract major Hollywood films and nurture and bring on the next generation of young independent British film makers”.

Pinewood Shepperton, chaired by former Channel 4 and ITV chief executive Lord Grade, also owns studios in Canada, the Dominican Republic, Germany and Malaysia.

The firm made a pre-tax profit of £3m in the six months to 30 September, on revenues of £27.1m, and said the UK film industry contributes some £4.6bn to the economy.

Industry figures said the expansion of the Pinewood site – which has also hosted productions such as Clash of the Titan, Les Misérables and Ian Dury biopic Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll – is needed to allow the UK to compete against Hollywood in the battle for big-budget movie productions.

British Film Institute chief executive Amanda Nevill said: “The capacity of the studios in the UK to respond to opportunities is key to the on-going success of British film.”

Ridley Scott, director of Blade Runner and Prometheus, said: “There is no doubt in my mind that the UK has to keep investing in new technology, skills and infrastructure to keep pace with international competition. The expansion at Pinewood is long overdue.”

Analysis carried out by Amion Consulting has shown the investment would generate an extra £36m a year for the Chancellor and boost annual UK exports by £37m.

Dunleavy added: “This is a critical opportunity for the creative industries and particularly for the UK film industry. Global demand for filmed entertainment is increasing and the UK remains one of the leading destinations to produce creative content.

“Without infrastructure to meet the rising demand, the UK will inevitably turn away business. Pinewood Studios, the UK film industry and UK plc cannot afford to allow this to happen.”