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Investors propose $600 million studio

Coolmore Estates pitch new film complex

A consortium of private investors is hoping to bring a little Hollywood glamour to the northeast of England with a £300 million ($600 million) film studio.

Coolmore Estates, whose directors include film producer Philip Moross (“School for Seduction”) and hotel developer Tom Maxfield, has asked for a planning application to build a Center for Creative Excellence in East Durham, which will include the film studio, hotels, as well as leisure and educational facilities.

The studio would include production facilities for film and TV, as well as access to diverse locations and a potential workforce of thousands.

The application is believed to be under consideration with Durham’s Easington district council, with a final decision expected in the spring.

Coolmore execs are reluctant to comment on the studio plans until they receive the greenlight. If approved, the 200-acre complex would likely take three years to complete.

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Coolmore claims the complex would create 2,406 direct jobs and contribute $104 million in gross value to the district’s economy per year.

Northern Film and Media, the regional screen agency for the northeast of England, estimates that the film and TV industry already generates some $240 million toward the region’s economy.

“Any project of this size and ambition would be a welcome addition and will be an economic benefit to this region and its people,” said Northern Film and Media’s James Hails.

The complex is skedded to be built on a site in Seaham, near the former mining community of Dawdon, which was earmarked for a major industrial investment.

The collapse of the mining industry in the northeast of England — the backdrop for Working Title’s “Billy Elliot,” about a northern boy who dreams of becoming a dancer — cost the district tens of thousands of jobs. It is hoped that the proposed film studio will help regenerate the area.

If plans are approved, the complex would be only the second purpose-built film studio to be created in Blighty in 50 years.

In November Pinewood Shepperton announced that it aims to double the size of its studios at a cost of up to $400 million.