Pentland Studios gets green light from Scottish Government

Developers have been given the green light to create a vast film studio complex on the outskirts of Edinburgh.

Artists impression of the Pentlands Studios complex. Picture: Contributed
Artists impression of the Pentlands Studios complex. Picture: Contributed

Ministers have overturned a recommendation from a Scottish Government reporter that the £250 million scheme be thrown out - due to the long-term benefits it will bring to the country.

It is hoped work will begin months on the project, with the first studio facilities planned to be operational by the end of next year.

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More than 1600 jobs are expected to be created by Pentland Studios project, which is earmarked for green belt land at Straiton in Midlothian.

The creation of Scotland’s first purpose-built studio complex, which will including the building of six sound stages at the 106-acre site, is expected to provide a huge boost to the country’s ability to attract blockbuster film productions and high-end drama series.

Other key parts of the project include two Hollywood-style backlots, a hotel, a 50,000 sq ft creative industries hub, 50,000 sq ft of workshop space and a film academy.

Developers behind the project, which was first announced in August 2014, had appealed to the government to intervene in November 2015 on the grounds of non-determination by the local authority, which will now have to agree detailed plans for the scheme.

Its officials had been opposed to the project on the grounds that it went against local planning policies, would hamper other planned developments and would blight the local environment.

But the ruling from ministers said the anticipated benefits of the scheme outweighed any “potential consequences,” such as the loss of greenbelt and impact on local residents.

A spokeswoman for developers Pentland Studios Limited said: “We are very pleased with the decision by ministers to approve planning permission in principle for Scotland’s world-class film & TV studio complex, and will be moving forward immediately with the application for planning permission in detail for the film studio, academy and energy centre sections of the development.

“Working together with Midlothian Council, we hope this next stage will be expedited accordingly, recovering the construction scheduling that will enable delivery of the key studio operation by late 2018.

“It is anticipated that a detailed schedule to progress the planning application will be agreed with Midlothian Council in the next few weeks, producing a phased timeframe to be progressed to full planning consent.”