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Construction opportunities for television and film sector


Construction opportunities for television and film sector have been untroubled by political upheaval and are being driven by growing budgets for British-made films and TV series. 
Recent government figures show that the economy avoided going into recession in the three months to August, thanks partly to a boost to the services sector from TV and film production. According to figures from the British Film Institute, the UK’s ‘screen sector’ economy was worth £7.91 billion in terms of gross value added in 2016, having grown by 73% over the years 2013-16.
Brisk business at the box office and growing budgets for British-made films and tv series is in turn generating a healthy current workload and a promising pipeline for construction firms.
New build developments
Glenigan Construction data highlights a series of expansions and new build developments involving film and tv studios around the country.
At Warner Bros Studios at Leavesden near Watford for example, work is set to start next spring on a £13.52 million scheme involving new offices and landscape improvements, where Bowmer & Kirkland has been appointed as the main contractor (Glenigan Project ID: 19369786).
Further round the M25, detailed plans have recently been submitted for the £10.4 million West London Film Studios Extension in Hillingdon, where work is set to start next summer and continue for 13 months (Glenigan Project ID: 19333518)
Meanwhile in Liverpool, work is due to start next month on Capital & Centric’s £25 million conversion of the former Littlewoods Pools Building into the Littlewoods Film Studios. The scheme, which is at the pre-tender stage, will cover some 2 300 sq m of space and work is set to continue for 25 months (Glenigan Project ID: 16011514).
Detailed plans have also been granted for a £4 million film studio at Bentwater Parks near Woodbridge in Suffolk. The scheme is at the pre-tender stage with work set to start in the new year (Glenigan Project ID: 16252193).
The success of UK-made TV series is also creating work for the construction industry. At Banbridge in Northern Ireland, work started over the summer on a new £16 million visitor attraction at Linen Mill Studios in Banbridge where a Game of Thrones-themed studio tour is being built over some 14,000 sq m. Work on the project, where Farrans Construction is the main contractor, is set to run until the end of next year (Glenigan Project ID: 19245824).
The need to train new recruits for the film and TV sector is also generating new construction. Work on the £22 million BAFTA Extension in London’s Piccadilly started in the summer involving alterations covering 430 sq m of space. Knight Harwood is the main contractor on the project, which is set to continue until 2021 (Glenigan Project ID: 17015296).
Studios in the pipeline
One of the largest construction schemes in the pipeline in the sector is the £100 million Made in Dagenham Multi Media Complex, involving film studios and a residential scheme in east London. The scheme, which at the pre-tender stage is being progressed by the council’s regeneration company, Be First, with a planning application set for the new year (Glenigan Project ID: 17398431).
Meanwhile, developer Quinn Estates is reported to be preparing a planning application for a major new TV and film studio as a base for Netflix on a 12 acre site at the former Ashford Railway Works in Kent.
Quinn recently hosted a public exhibition on the scheme - which aims to create a significant new player in the ‘streaming revolution’ - involving a mixed-use development centred on the creation of TV and film production space.

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