– . – Project Pinewood Rejected By Local Council
Project Pinewood Rejected By Local Council
Buckinghamshire-based Pinewood Studios have had their plans for a massive £200 million, 110 acre expansion rejected by the local planning authority. Project Pinewood had included plans for new offices, homes and film sets, including recreations of San Francisco, New York, Berlin and Paris. First devised in 2007, the plan also included a Screen Craft Academy, which would offer training in a variety of disciplines in partnership with the National Film and Television Academy.
But the entire plan was rejected outright by South Bucks District Council, following a campaign by local residents who felt the studio’s plan was, in fact, a cloaking device to allow them to build new homes on an existing conservation site. Jacquetta Lowen-Cooper, chair of the council planning committee, stated, “To have allowed this development of more than 110 acres in the greenbelt and Colne Valley Park would not only have caused significant degradation to the local environment and quality of life of local residents but would also have set a precedent, potentially undermining the council’s future ability to resist inappropriate greenbelt developments elsewhere in the district.”
Undeterred, the Pinewood Group is expected to appeal this decision, with director of corporate affairs Adam Smith saying, “We feel the benefits of skills, training, jobs, affordable homes and growth presented by this innovative project demonstrate the very special circumstances to develop land in the greenbelt. We remain committed to the vision of this project.”
There is the possibility, however, that the entire plan may be called into question as pressure increased for the studio group of build a facility in the Midlands. The Pinewood Group began when a management team brough Pinewood Studios in Bucks, Shepperton Studios in Middlesex and Teddington Studios in London. The government allowed this monopoly in the South East as long as the group behaved in British national interest. Now Midland MPs, including Gisela Stuart and Richard Burton, are campaigning to get Pinewood to build a studio, pointing to an empty 400-acre site in Longbridge, near Birmingham, as the ideal venue.