Warner Bros to develop UK film base

Artist's impression of Warner facilities The local authority recently approved plans to re-develop Leavesden

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Film-maker Warner Bros is to announce plans to develop a permanent UK studio base, including a visitor centre for its movies such as Harry Potter.

The complex will be built around existing facilities at Leavesden, in Hertfordshire, where production on all eight Harry Potter films took place.

A new area to house props and costumes from Warner films made in the UK will be constructed.

The new £100m complex is due to open in 2012.

The current workforce of 1,500 people is thought likely to be retained, while 300 additional jobs will be created.

Warner Bros is due to announce on Wednesday that its purchase of Leavesden has been finalised and confirm its plans for the site.

The proposed new visitor centre will give film fans the chance to see sets and costumes made famous in releases including Harry Potter and Batman movie The Dark Knight, also produced at Leavesden.

A range of movie production services including prosthetics, animatronics and external filming areas will be expanded under the plans.

It is also set to make Warner Bros the only Hollywood film studio to maintain a dedicated and permanent home in the UK.

Warner chief Barry Meyer said the plan "demonstrates our long-term commitment to, and confidence in, the skills and creativity of the UK film industry".

There was recent speculation that The Hobbit movies would be produced at Leavesden until a deal was struck to retain New Zealand as a production base for the two films.

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