Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Film studio comment deadline looms

Artist impression of Pentland Studio Image copyright Pentland Studios

The deadline is looming for public comments on plans for a national film studio complex earmarked for green belt land in Midlothian.

Plans for the Pentland Studio were "called in" by the Scottish government after Midlothian Council failed to make a ruling on the application.

The Association of Film and Television Practitioners Scotland is calling on ministers to back a new studio.

However, Scottish Green MSPs have joined campaigners against the studio.

They handed in a petition to the Scottish Parliament in protest at the potential eviction of the tenant farmer on the site from his family's home of 100 years.

Image copyright Pentland Studios

The deadline for public comments on the planning process closes on Friday.

The Reporter will later make a recommendation to the ministers before they make their final decision.

The studio is earmarked for a site at Old Pentland Farm, near Straiton.

Six sound stages and one water stage are planned for the 96-acre site.

The Association of Film and Television Practitioners Scotland (AFTPS), which represents some of those working in film and television, said it believed the sector was being badly affected by the lack of a studio space.

An AFTPS spokesman said: "Every week there is a 'good news story' from other parts of the UK, new studios, more production activity, more deals being struck and increased spend figures and employment as production activity remains at a record high.

"Meanwhile the industry in Scotland falls even further behind.

"The AFTPS fully support the proposed Pentlands Film Studio."

Eviction claim

However, Scottish Green MSP Andy Wightman claimed 82-year-old tenant farmer Jim Telfer, whose family have lived on the site for a century, could face eviction if the development goes ahead.

He said the family that owns the farmland wants to sell it to developers.

Mr Wightman said: "The film studio may be a good idea but it's the wrong location, and the stress this is placing on Jim, his family and the wider community is simply unacceptable.

"The site is good-quality farmland and should be protected, especially when there are other locations more appropriate for commercial developments."

The landowners, however, denied that Mr Telfer was facing eviction.

Nick Gibsone said: "We have made a number of offers in good faith to the farmer in question who farms approximately 56 acres of a small holding.

"These offers include him and his wife remaining in the farmhouse and also having land to farm should they wish. We have also offered a substantial financial package that could be increased should they choose to leave the farm.

"There is no question of them being forced to leave their home. There are a number of offers on the table and also an offer of independent mediation."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites