Beds, Herts & Bucks

Pinewood Studios £200m expansion plan to begin

Pinewood studios Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Pinewood Studios will add studios, stages and streetscapes to its film studios

The first phase of Pinewood Studios' £200m expansion is set to begin following a planning appeal.

South Bucks District Council has agreed the development after the government granted outline planning permission following an appeal.

Councillor Roger Reed said the council must "look forward and recognise the importance of Pinewood to the economy".

Work is expected to begin in January. The latest Bond film, Spectre, is currently shooting at the complex.

The expansion project, known as the Pinewood Studios Development Framework (PSDF), will add 100,000 sq m of new facilities, including 12 large stages, workshops and a production office - doubling its size.

The initial phase at the Buckinghamshire site, including five stages and ten workshops, is due to be completed in early 2016.

It will "significantly expand the [studio's] overall capacity to accommodate major feature films, television programmes, commercials and other screen-based productions", a studio statement said.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The latest James Bond film, Spectre, is currently being filmed at Pinewood
Image copyright Lucasfilm
Image caption The most recent Star Wars film, Episode VII: The Force Awakens, completed filming at Pinewood this year

In 2012, the government rejected a previous plan, which included more than 1,000 homes.

The studio submitted its latest application in February 2013, which was rejected by SBDC. The studio submitted its appeal to the Planning Inspectorate the following May.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles granted planning permission for the 15-year project at the Iver Heath site in June.

SBDC had always opposed the "inappropriate" plans as an expansion into green belt land and was "disappointed" at Mr Pickles' decision.

Pinewood Studios has been home to more than 1,500 movies over 76 years including the most recent Star Wars film, Episode VII: The Force Awakens, which completed filming this year.

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