Television and Film Studios Planned for Straiton
Midlothian Council receives preliminary application to create "Scottish Film Studios"
Plans to create a forty million pound television and film studio complex on land at Straiton have been submitted to Midlothian Council.
‘Pentland Studios Ltd’ want to erect a world class facility on greenbelt land to the west of IKEA in Straiton as such, they have submitted a ‘proposal of application notice’ to Midlothian Council for consideration. This is the first stage, in what is likely to be a long process, and will include a public consultation, which will be held in early October. After this the developers will have twelve weeks to submit full plans to the council’s planning committee.
Totalling around thirty acres, a television and film studio complex will be the focal point of an expanse leisure park comprised of the aforementioned studios, a hotel, a non-food retail store and 8.73 hectares of residential accommodation. Costing around £40m, the development could generate significant inward investment for the local and Scottish economies.
Gordon Ash, a director of Pentland Studios Ltd said:
Our vision is to create the most modern film studio in the UK, with the scale and facilities to attract film-makers from all over the world. Scotland has already shown in recent years, with productions such as World War Z, Cloud Atlas and Outlander, that it has the scenery and locations to compete on a global level.
Penicuik recently benefited from the onsite filming of the hit American TV series Outlander and is hoped that this studio complex could also inspire further filming within Midlothian’s picturesque landscape. Mr Ash continued:
What we are missing, however, are the really large-scale studio, filming and production facilities which would complement our locations and enable Scotland to harness much of the high-level investment which currently goes elsewhere.
Scotland currently does not have a purpose built film studio, with Pinewood and Elstree studios being the main studios in the United Kingdom. Earlier this year the Scottish Government started advertising incentives for private investors to build a film studio in the country. Failing the construction of a privately funded complex , a foundation studio is to be created by the Scottish Government, with a shortlist of five sites being drawn up, none of which are located in the east of Scotland. However using these incentives, ‘Pentland Studios’ are optimistic of opening parts of the “Scottish Film Studios” by 2017:
Our team comprises a range of film industry, property and finance experts with many years of international experience and we are very confident the location at Straiton offers an unbeatable combination of scale, facilities and deliverability.
The developer aims to construct and open four film stages by 2017, with a further four stages planned for the following years. Coming in at 30,000 sq.ft with a height of 70ft, the largest studio should be able to accommodate the largest blockbuster movies, failing this, a 2.1 hectare backlot will allow for the construction of intricate sets.
However the development must pass the scrutiny of the council, and the wider public, before it can reach the construction stages. It is a process that may only be complicated further due to the nature of application site.
Currently classified as part of Midlothian’s expanse greenbelt, the land is set to be declassified in 2015, should the latest draft local development plan go unaltered during a public consultation later this year. Within this updated development plan, Midlothian Council are set to legislate for the realignment of the A701. The new route would pass behind the Straiton Park and Ride and Bilston before connecting to the A703 at Easter Bush. Doing such, the current greenbelt would be split in two. To the west the farmland would be retained whilst, to the east, the land would be made available to developers to allow further construction work in and around Straiton.
“Pentland Studios” will be hopeful that these hurdles can be passed quickly to capitalise on the growing market. With the backing of both the Scottish Government and their creative bodies, Scottish Enterprise and Creative Scotland, Straiton could soon be home to the first purpose built “Scottish Film Studios”.
What’s your view? Is this a worthwhile addition to Midlothian, and Scotland? Should greenbelt developments be encouraged? Let us know your view below, or email us at Hello@PenicuikCuckoo.co.uk.