EDINBURGH, Scotland — The U.K. government has given Pinewood Shepperton the greenlight to move forward with its expansion plans at Pinewood Studios, where “Star Wars: Episode VII” is shooting.
Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, granted planning permission Thursday for the Pinewood Studios Development Framework.
Pinewood Shepperton has argued that the £200 million ($340 million) PSDF addresses the need for additional stage space in the U.K. It comprises doubling the existing Pinewood Studios by adding a total of 100,000 sq. m. (24.7 acres) of new facilities, including 12 large stages, workshops and production offices.
Ivan Dunleavy, chief executive of Pinewood Shepperton, said: “Our project builds on the success of the government’s policy for the creative industries, and addresses the shortage of stage space in the U.K. As a result of today’s greenlight from the Secretary of State, thousands of much needed new jobs will be created in this growing sector of the economy. We want to begin construction as soon as possible. I’d like to thank colleagues both within and outside the industry, for the tremendous support they have given the project.”
Pinewood Shepperton is already Europe’s largest provider of stage and studio space. Pinewood and Shepperton Studios together have 34 stages, five dedicated digital television studios and five digital presentation studios. Pinewood is also home to Europe’s leading studio-based underwater filming stage, and one of the largest exterior water tanks in the continent.