Mayor of London praises ‘bold vision’ of new Dagenham film studios as project gets green light from City Hall
PUBLISHED: 17:30 14 August 2020
The Mayor of London has praised the “bold” vision behind the Dagenham film studios project after City Hall give it the green light.
Sadiq Khan has backed plans, by regeneration company Be First on behalf of the council, to build London’s largest film and television studios in Dagenham East.
Deputy mayor for planning Jules Pipe took the decision this week to allow the council to decide the planning case itself.
The plans, which were approved by the council’s planning committee last month, include six sound stages, productions offices and set construction workshops built on former industrial land in Yewtree Avenue.
This will create an estimated 1,200 jobs and contribute £35m each year to the local economy.
Mr Khan, who visited the site today (Friday, August 14), told the Post: “What I’ve seen over the last few years is a council being very bold in its plans, even though we’ve had Covid and the uncertainty caused by Brexit.”
He added the project wouldn’t have happened “without the bravery and leadership of the council leader, who understands this industry” and the council had been “very smart and savvy” to ensure the borough benefitted from the investment.
“I’m really impressed by the council’s vision - for example, training up people to be the carpenters, the costume designers and set designers, but also the artists, the directors, those behind and in front of the camera,” Mr Khan said.
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“The council has got a plan to make sure there is a pipeline of talent coming from the local community and that’s what makes me excited because for too long - for centuries, not decades - east London has been neglected.
“One of the legacies of the Olympics is they failed to make sure local people benefit... What you see at Dagenham East is the opposite, the council is making sure local people are getting the skills they need for the jobs being created by this great film studio.”
The development follows a 2017 study outlining how Dagenham East represented an ideal opportunity for a new world-class film studio, as demand for studio space in London grew.
Since then, Dagenham has become a popular site for the film industry, with a temporary studio already open and welcoming major productions like Marvel’s Black Widow and Sony Pictures’ Morbius.
London’s culture and creative industries have been significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, but the demand for film and TV studios remains high.
The industry is expected to play an important role in the country’s economic recovery, with more than £3.6bn spent in the UK last year on film and television production.
Mr Khan’s backing of the plans will help Be First as they discuss investment opportunities with interested parties.
Be First managing director Pat Hayes said: “We’ve had a great deal of interest in the studio site and it’s clear that demand for studio space remains high in spite of the recession.
“We’re now assessing our delivery options and we expect to make a further announcement late in the Autumn.
“It’s clear that this could be a huge jobs generator for the capital despite the otherwise gloomy economic outlook.”
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