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Could film studio plans turn Dagenham East into the UK’s Hollywood?

PUBLISHED: 17:15 01 November 2017 | UPDATED: 17:15 01 November 2017

How the new film studios in Dagenham East could look. Picture credit: LBBD

How the new film studios in Dagenham East could look. Picture credit: LBBD

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Plans for a sprawling film studio fit for Hollywood in Dagenham East were today backed in a study co-commissioned by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan (right) with Barking and Dagenham Council leader Darren Rodwell (Picture: Caroline Teo)Mayor of London Sadiq Khan (right) with Barking and Dagenham Council leader Darren Rodwell (Picture: Caroline Teo)

The proposed 18.7-acre site in Rainham Road South represents a “rare chance” to build the first new TV and film production studios in London for a quarter of a century, it said.

The feasibility study, unveiled by Khan and council leader Darren Rodwell, estimates the world-class facility will create 780 jobs and bring £35 million to the national economy.

Mr Khan said: “London is a global capital for film - from Bond to Bridget Jones, and Star Wars to Paddington - our capital is world-renowned for its film industry and has at least 40 crews out on London’s streets filming every single day.

He added: “A new film studio in Dagenham East will bring hundreds of new jobs to the area, will benefit local talent from carpenters to camera operators.”

L to R: Photographer David Bailey, Film LBBD head Lisa Dee and Cllr Darren Rodwell (Picture: Andrew Baker)L to R: Photographer David Bailey, Film LBBD head Lisa Dee and Cllr Darren Rodwell (Picture: Andrew Baker)

The borough’s film office, Film LBBD, has already attracted blockbuster movies and TV dramas to the area, including Avengers: Age of Ultron and Netflix’s Black Mirror.

Now the council is searching for investors to fund the huge studio space ahead of the formal tender process next year.

“It will be an East End epic,” said Cllr Rodwell. “It would be brilliant if a Made in Dagenham film studios leads to stars made in Dagenham.

Fashion photographer David Bailey and Jon Cruddas, the Labour MP for Dagenham and Rainham, have also voiced support for the project.

The proposed 18.7-acre site in Rainham Road South. Picture credit: LBBDThe proposed 18.7-acre site in Rainham Road South. Picture credit: LBBD

“An investment of this size could totally change the fortunes of people in the local area, especially young people; putting Dagenham back on the map in terms of new opportunities,” Cruddas said.

While Mr Bailey said the studio was a “great opportunity to bring arts and crafts to Barking and Dagenham.”

Economic consultancy SQW, BBP Regeneration and Professor Richard Miller of the University of Hertfordshire prepared the study into the new film study for the council, Film London and the London Local Enterprise Panel.

The study listed Brexit and issues around diversity as key concerns facing the film and TV sector.

The council was already addressing questions of access to EU state aid after Brexit, it added.

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