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Recent confirmation by Warner Brothers that it is going ahead with a major expansion of its film studios near Watford has put the significant amount of construction work being created by the screen sector in the spotlight.

The UK film industry – worth some £12.6 billion in 2019 – is being impacted by the continuing Hollywood scriptwriters and actors strike and pressure on subscriber numbers at the streaming services.

But these have not deterred production companies from pressing ahead with a series of expansions and new developments which Glenigan data shows are creating some major new contract opportunities, particularly in the South East.

Detailed plans have been granted on the £101.6 million Warner Bros film studio expansion at Leavesden (pictured), near Watford and work has been confirmed to start in June next year. The scheme, which is at the pre-tender stage, will involve new sound stages, workshops, offices, and studio support facilities (including a café building) across more than 65,000 sq m of space (Project ID: 22119046).

Further up the M1, plans were approved in August and work is getting underway on the first phases of a major £109.8 million film studio development at Home of Production (HOP) Bedfordshire which will include over 54,000 sqm of stages and workshops along with education and transport hubs and other floorspace. ISG is the main contractor on the scheme at the Quest Pit site near Ampthill and work is expected to run until mid-2026 (Project ID: 22124900).

Meanwhile, detailed plans have been granted and work is set to get underway this autumn on a £34.5 million film and TV studio redevelopment at Bray Studios in Windsor where the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead Council is involved as a client. Work on the project, involving over 22,000 sq m of space is set to run for 17 months (Project ID: 15252326).

Iconic name

One iconic name in the entertainment business that is expanding is Ealing Studios in West London, the oldest film studio in the world. Detailed plans have been granted and a contract awarded for a £25 million scheme involving four buildings which will add 50,000 sq ft of facilities with studio space for film, television, and entertainment production along with offices and workshops. Glencar Construction is the main contractor on the scheme, where work is set to start later this year and run for 14 months (Project ID: 09018859).

Smaller film studio projects are also creating new contract opportunities. Detailed plans have been approved for a £12.4 million film production unit at Winnerish Film Studios at Wokingham in Berkshire. Work on the scheme involving almost 6,700 sq m of space is due to start in spring and run for 14 months (Project ID: 22353577).

Mixed-use development

Film studio expansions are also featured as significant elements in mixed-use developments.

At Ashford International Studios in Kent, detailed plans have been granted to Quinn Estates on a £250 million scheme involving around 750, 000 sq m of film/tv studios, workshop space and a ‘media village’ alongside 365 flats. The council is set to provide £50 million for the scheme and work is pencilled in to start early in the new year (Project ID: 19086569).

Glenigan customers can see details of all new film studios opportunities if covered by your subscription.

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