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Berkshire film studio approved

Words: Laura Edgar
Film studio / iStock_000026434132

Wokingham Borough Council’s planning committee has granted planning approval for a temporary film studio in Shinfield, which is the first phase of a larger studio proposed for the site.

The temporary planning consent will see four sound stages and four workshops built, alongside parking, landscaping and improvements to the public right of way along the western boundary.

The approval follows a deal between the University of Reading and a US film studio investor in December last year.

It involves developing a major film studio and digital creative hub, which will be known as Shinfield Studios. Plans outline the creation of a “state of the art” 21st century film and television production complex at the Thames Valley Science Park.

Samantha Foley, chief financial officer at the University of Reading, said it would be “great to see films emerging onto the international stage from right here on our doorstep”.

“This is just the beginning, as the proposals by Shinfield Studios for the rest of their site at Thames Valley Science Park present an exciting opportunity for the university community and the growing creative industries in Reading, Wokingham and across the UK.”

It is hoped that the studios will bring around 600 new jobs to the area, as well as 220 construction jobs.

Stuart Munro, executive member for business and economic development, said: “This is an exciting step for Wokingham Borough. We are already an international centre for technology and innovation with existing links to the film industry. Having this major film studio in the borough will take us that step further onto the global stage.

“This comes at the perfect time, just as we are heading into a period of recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. The jobs and inward investment from this project couldn’t come at a better time.”

Nick Smith, joint managing director of Shinfield Studios, added: “The opportunity to bring a major Hollywood-based production company to the UK, and specifically to Wokingham and Shinfield, was presented to us just before Christmas 2020. However, to realise this ambition, these facilities need to be built and ready for use by September 2021 at the latest, the planning approval means we can get on and deliver this first stage of our plans.”

The studios will be delivered through modular construction, as the studio seeks to reduce waste development and construction traffic. Solar roof panels that will generate 10 per cent of the site's energy needs will be installed, as will air source heat pumps, cycle storage and electric vehicle charging points. 

Image credit | iStock