Planning consultancy Turley has secured permission at appeal for the expansion of the iconic Pinewood Studios in South Buckinghamshire.
Production home of Star Wars: Episode VII and the James Bond franchise, Pinewood Studios is the only film, television and media production complex of its kind in the UK. It is ranked in the top three studio facilities in the world and is an essential component of the screen-based creative industries in the UK.
A planning application was submitted in early 2013 that sought to address the shortage of premium stage space in the UK and rising global competition. The application, despite attracting considerable support from UK film and Hollywood producers, was refused by South Bucks District Council on the grounds of harm to the Metropolitan Green Belt and a regional country park.
The £200 million development – comprising 100,000sqm of new production facilities to be delivered over a 15-year period that will deliver thousands of new jobs in a growing economic area – was granted at appeal on 19 June.
Turley advised on planning strategy and coordinated the planning application submission and Environmental Statement. At appeal, Turley provided expert witness evidence in respect of the case for expansion, the lack of alternative sites, sustainable development, the benefits of development and the harmful outcome of development not being permitted.
Rob Lucas, Turley CEO, said:
“In allowing the appeal and granting a 10 year outline planning permission in accordance with his Inspector’s recommendation, the Secretary of State found that harm to the Green Belt and other harm was clearly outweighed by other considerations, principally the needs of the film industry and its economic benefits. Taken together, these established a distinguishing combination of very special circumstances to warrant allowing development and overriding the conflict with the development plan. A great result.”
Ivan Dunleavy, CEO, Pinewood Studios, said:
“Our project builds on the success of the Government’s policy for the creative industries and addresses the shortfall of stage space in the UK. I would like to thank colleagues for the tremendous support they have given the project.”