U.K. blocks Pinewood expansion plan

Company to develop studios overseas

LONDON — Just nine days after U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron visited Blighty’s Pinewood Shepperton Studios, the government has rejected the studio’s Project Pinewood expansion plan.

The £200 million ($309 million) proposal, unveiled in 2007, planned to double the size of the facility and envisaged creating permanent film sets replicating destinations such as New York’s Tribeca neighborhood and Montmartre in Paris plus offices and more than 1,400 homes.

In a statement on Friday, Pinewood said it was disappointed by the decision and added that it would “take time to review the decision in detail.”

Shares in the Pinewood Studios Group fell 11.6 cents to $4.10 — some 6% — after the planning application was rejected.

The proposal has met its fair share of opposition from residents who live near Pinewood in Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire, some 20 miles west of London, and the South Buckinghamshire District Council, which rejected the plans initially.

In July, Brit real estate, transport and infrastructure investment company Peel Holdings took over the studios, upping its ownership to 71.1% of its stock.

Pinewood, home to pics including Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo,” the “Harry Potter” franchise and upcoming Ridley Scott pic “Prometheus,” said it would “continue to implement its master planning consents at Pinewood and Shepperton studios and pursue its international strategy of developing studios overseas.”

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