Beds, Herts & Bucks

Pinewood Studios drops housing from expansion plans

A new planning application for the expansion of Pinewood Studios will not include houses, it has been confirmed.

The government rejected Pinewood Shepperton's £200m plan, which included building more than 1,000 homes, in January.

Andrew Smith, from the company, said it hoped to submit a new plan in the autumn.

He said: "Discussions with the local community are ongoing and details will be revealed in the next month or so."

News that a further planning application was imminent was revealed at the group's Annual General Meeting on Tuesday by Pinewood Shepperton Plc chairman Michael Grade.

"A long term plan for growth and investment at Pinewood Studios is necessary to remain globally competitive and respond to the changing needs and future demand of the screen and digital industries," he said.

Earlier this year, the Department for Communities and Local Government upheld a local council rejection of the studio's Project Pinewood scheme.

This would have seen a 100-acre set built in Iver Heath next to the studios' current site, including building replicas of city centres such as Paris, Venice and New York.

In its judgement the government said the project would be "inappropriate in the green belt".

'Still conceptual'

In May, the group revealed the decision cost the company £7.1m and announced a public consultation about its future development, covering the existing site and adjacent land.

Mr Smith confirmed that at the moment the plans were "still conceptual", but they would retain some components of the original scheme, such as the streetscapes.

"There will be more stages and workshops to address the increase in capacity that is needed," he said.

The studios, which have been operating for more than 75 years, have been the location for Bond films including The Spy Who Loved Me, A View To A Kill and Quantum Of Solace.

This year has seen the latest Bond film, Skyfall, filmed there, as well as Maleficent, a take on the Sleeping Beauty tale, starring Angelina Jolie.

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