London Exploring Construction of City's Largest Studio Facility

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"London has a vibrant production history and some of the best studios in the world," says mayor Sadiq Khan, amid a continuing space crunch and debate about the possible impact of the Brexit on production activity.

London's mayor Sadiq Khan on Thursday said that the city is exploring plans to build what could be the British capital’s largest film studio facility, based in Dagenham, a suburb of East London, amid continued high demand for production space.

Amid debate about the future of production in London following the Brexit vote in June, the mayor has teamed with Film London, the London Local Enterprise Panel and the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham to commission a feasibility study into creating the capital’s first new TV and film production studios in 25 years at Dagenham East. The process will be led by Film London in consultation with the film and television industries.

The space under consideration is 17 acres large. Pinewood Group and Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden are among the studio facilities in and around London that have remained busy thanks to ongoing film and TV production activity and Britain's incentives program.

Approximately three-quarters of the U.K.’s film industry is based in and around London, and last year £1 billion ($1.27 billion) was attracted to the city in investment from international film production, according to Film London. Overall, London is considered the third busiest city for film production behind Los Angeles and New York.

"New studio space will help meet increasing demand and ensure many more multi-million-pound productions come to London, showing the world that, following the EU referendum, the capital remains open to business, talent and creativity," FIlm London said.

The potential site for the new studio at Dagenham East is located next to an industrial park and was picked because of its size. The area is well connected with the District Line subway and Crossrail services, allowing quick access to central London.

"The biggest U.S. studio-backed productions can bring in over £100 million ($127 million) in U.K. spend and new Dagenham studios would enable London to bid successfully for more overseas film productions, benefiting not just the capital but the rest of the U.K.," Film London said. 

Khan has committed to sustaining London’s future as a creative capital, as well as reimagining the city’s cultural infrastructure. The creative industries account for one in six jobs in London, or 800,000 overall, and are a key contributor to economic growth, according to Film London.

"From James Bond and Star Wars to Harry Potter and Bridget Jones’s Baby, London has a vibrant production history and some of the best studios in the world," said Khan. "To sustain and grow this success story, it is critical that the capital gets significantly more studio and production capacity to maximize the opportunities for filmmaking. London is open to the best creative and cultural minds and I am looking forward to exploring whether a new film studio in Dagenham could help the capital’s film industry thrive for years to come."

The mayor made the announcement as he visited Barking and Dagenham, which has attracted a number of big-budget films, including Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron and Doctor Strange.

Said Adrian Wootton, CEO of Film London and the British Film Commission: “London is one of the world’s busiest destinations for the film industry, with international filmmakers making a beeline for our city because they know it offers the very best by way of facilities, expertise and creative talent. Our global reputation means demand for studio space is incredibly high, and unlocking new studio space in east London would help maintain the capital’s competitive edge. If realized, this major new infrastructure project would mean a tremendous economic boost for Barking and Dagenham, the capital’s film and TV industries and the U.K. as a whole.”

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