Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Plans for second major Scottish film studio

studio Image copyright Keppie
Image caption An artist's impression of the potential new film studio site

The company whose plans for a major film and TV studio near Edinburgh were thwarted by a tenant farmer has lodged plans for a different site.

PSL Land, the team behind the Pentland Studios project, has now shifted its attention to a site at Saltersgate, near Dalkeith in Midlothian.

It has submitted a planning application for a studio and a film academy.

The move comes a month after a building in the Port of Leith was identified as the potential home of a major studio.

Screen Scotland, the publicly-funded body tasked with boosting the industry, is trying to find the right private developer to take it on and open it before the end of the year.

Image caption An aerial image of the building at 31 Bath Road in the Port of Leith selected by Screen Scotland

The new planning application means the greater Edinburgh area could potentially have two studios in the next year or so.

Midlothian Council said a 'Proposal of Application Notice' had been submitted and an initial report would go to its planning committee on 22 January.

PSL was the company behind long-running plans for a £250m studio on 100 acres of greenbelt land in the Pentland hills outside Edinburgh, which was to feature six huge sound stages.

It was halted when a court ruled that a tenant farmer could not be removed from the land.

After the case, Buccleuch Estates contacted PSL Land to offer up the new site about four miles from the original site, adjacent to Dalkeith Country Park and close to the town's high school.

There is now a sale agreement in principle between the two parties.

Image copyright Pentland Studios
Image caption The original PSL studio was to be built on farmland at Straiton near the Pentland hills

The new studio would span 48 acres, with nine sound stages across 208,000 square feet.

There would also be workshops across 122,000 square feet, a commissary building, and media hub.

PSL is also talking to Edinburgh Napier University about establishing a Scottish Film Academy on the site with teaching facilities, screening rooms and student accommodation.

There have been concerns that the lack of suitable studio space meant Scotland was losing out to other parts of the UK in the race to attract major film and TV productions.

Image copyright Aimee Spinks
Image caption Roger (Richard Rankin) and Brianna (Sophie Skelton) will play major roles in the fourth season of Outlander

Although scenes for several major films and TV dramas have been shot in Scotland in recent years, the productions are often based elsewhere - with crews only travelling to Scotland for a few weeks for filming.

The major exception has been the popular series Outlander, which is filmed at the Wardpark Studios in Cumbernauld.

It has also been looking to expand to help it attract "top end productions".

Announcing the Port of Leith studio plans last month, Screen Scotland executive director Isabel Davis said she was "excited" about its potential.

Ms Davis said there was currently a "global production boom" driven by the rise of streaming sites such as Netflix and Amazon.

"We know the appetite is there for more space and we are feeling that both from the local industry and the global industry," she said.

More on this story