Beds, Herts & Bucks

Pinewood Studios submit appeal against expansion plan rejection

Aerial view of Pinewood Studios Image copyright Pinewood Studios
Image caption Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire wants to add studios, stages and streetscapes to its film studios

Buckinghamshire's Pinewood Studios has submitted an appeal to the government against the rejection of its £200m expansion plan.

The 15-year project for new studios, stages and streetscapes at the site in Iver Heath, was turned down by South Bucks District Council on 15 May.

It ruled it was an "inappropriate" expansion into green belt land.

The management of the studios said it "remained committed to the project" which could create up to 3,000 jobs.

Pinewood Studios, home to more than 1,500 movies over 76 years, was used to film the latest James Bond movie Skyfall as well as Snow White and the Huntsman and the Oscar-nominated hit Les Miserables.

The new facilities, designed to increase studio capacity by about 100,000 square metres, have been described as a long-term scheme "designed to address the UK's lack of capacity to meet increasing global demand for [film] production facilities".

Objections 'hard to believe'

Company bosses have called the planning rejection "hard to believe" in the current economic climate.

Its appeal was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate on 31 May.

Pinewood chief executive, Ivan Dunleavy, said its need for expansion is "more pressing now than it has ever been".

"The proposals have received overwhelming support from leading global figures and companies in the creative industries, business groups, national and local businesses and members of the local community," he said.

"We expect a decision to be taken by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government by the end of the year."

Last year, the government rejected a previous plan, which included more than 1,000 homes.

The studios submitted its latest application in February this year, following "extensive public consultation".

But nearby parish councils have always opposed the plans as an expansion into green belt land.

Councillor Sylvie Lowe, who represents Iver, claimed residents were "just as determined as last time" to oppose the application.

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