After trying to secure permission for eight years, Pinewood Studios have now been given the go ahead to expand to nearly twice their current size, despite objections from the local council and residents.
The UK studio is world famous for playing host to the sets of many well known films, including the James Bond movies (pictured is one of the amazing sets from Dr. No, which were designed by Ken Adams and built at Pinewood). Some of the latest Star Wars instalment is also being filmed there, and the studio was in the news recently when star Harrison Ford injured his leg while on set.
The studio found it so difficult to get permission to expand because it is located in a green belt; objections from local residents and South Buckinghamshire district council have held back the development for years. However, it now seems that the benefits of expanding the studio have been weighed against the costs, and the plan has been deemed a good one. Communities secretary Eric Pickles, who has previously been instrumental in blocking the development, now says that the economic advantages outweigh any concerns over the preservation of the surrounding green belt area.
Pinewood’s chief executive Ivan Dunleavy has said that the Pinewood project “…builds on the success of the government’s policy for the creative industries and addresses the shortage of stage space in the UK. As a result of today’s green light from the secretary of state, thousands of much-needed new jobs will be created in this growing sector of the economy.”
We’re wondering if the return of the Star Wars films could have anything to do with the decision to finally allow the studio to expand? Well, whatever the reasoning, it’s good to see the UK film industry going from strength to strength, even if it is at the expense of part of a green belt area.