A study commissioned by the Mayor of London shows the east London town is ideally placed to accommodate a world-class film studio.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and the leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, cllr Darren Rodwell, have announced plans for Dagenham East to become a world-leading destination for the production of blockbuster movies, as an expert study shows how the area is the ideal location for Hollywood-style studio space.
The study, published today, outlines how Dagenham East represents a rare chance to build a world-class film studio in London. This will support the long-term success of the UK’s booming film and TV production industries, bolster Film London’s work in attracting major new projects to the capital while also contributing to the regeneration of east London and supporting the Mayor’s ambition for creative production along the Thames Estuary.
From the outset of his Mayoralty, Sadiq Khan pledged to make London the most film-friendly city in the world. Last year he teamed up with Film London, the London Local Enterprise Panel and the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham to commission this study into creating the capital’s first new TV and film production studios for at least 25 years, following increasing demand and pressure on existing studio space in the capital.
The study team, led by the economic consultancy SQW and including BBP Regeneration and Prof. Richard Miller of the University of Hertfordshire, explored why Dagenham is a suitable location for a studio of this scale; how the project addresses the demand and capacity issues of the film and TV industries; and how the proposed studio could be laid out. Film London and the film and television industries were closely consulted during the study.
Barking and Dagenham Council is now inviting expressions of interest from investors, entrepreneurs and businesses to create the huge studio space and will start the formal tender process in 2018. The potential site for the new studios at Dagenham East is located in front of Londoneast-UK business and technical park and was scoped out because of its significantly large size, which presents the opportunity to build a new, bespoke facility.
The borough’s Film Office has already enjoyed considerable success in attracting a number of big budget films such as Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron and Doctor Strange, and TV dramas including ITV's Liar and Netflix's Black Mirror. Today the Mayor and the Leader of the Council visited the set of Humans 3 at Barking Power Station to see the exceptional quality of TV production being attracted to the borough.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “London is a global capital for film - from Bond to Bridget Jones, and Star Wars to Paddington - our capital is world-renowned for its film industry and has at least 40 crews out on London’s streets filming every single day.
“But we mustn’t rest on our laurels. I want London to be the most film-friendly city in the world and today’s study demonstrates the huge demand for large- scale film studios in the UK.
“I am determined to do more to support economic growth and create new jobs across London. A new film studio in Dagenham East will bring hundreds of new jobs to the area, benefiting everyone from carpenters to camera operators.
“There are already amazing productions being made in Dagenham and I know these new studios will have us hot on the heels of Hollywood for blockbuster movies, showing the world that London is open to creativity, business and talent.”
Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, cllr Darren Rodwell, said: “This is a landmark day for Barking and Dagenham and yet another sign that we are turning the tide on the borough’s fortunes. We were known for producing cars in the last century but today we aspire to produce blockbuster films. Together with City Hall, our plans to build the first film studio since Pinewood demonstrates our commitment to bring jobs and new opportunities to east London.”
Approximately three-quarters of the UK’s film industry is based in and around London, and last year £1bn was attracted to the city in inward investment from international film production. London is the third busiest city for film production in the world after only Los Angeles and New York. The capital’s world-class crew, locations, talent and competitive tax reliefs have sustained London’s position in the top three film cities - and that also means demand for studio space is incredibly high.
London’s hard-won success against fierce international competition is due in no small part to the work of the mayor’s screen industries agency, Film London, and the British Film Commission in attracting and supporting major production to London and the UK. This 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.
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