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Scottish Government Backs Plans to Build Major New Studio

The Scottish government has given formal planning permission for construction of Scotland’s first purpose-built studio, to be located on the outskirts of Edinburgh.

The long-gestating Pentland Studios project envisions a 90-acre facility complete with six sound stages and two backlots, plus an external water “paddock” stage. Budgeted at £250 million ($335 million), the complex would also offer permanent and temporary workshops and production offices, a data center, a film academy and a hotel.

Scotland is hoping to keep up with the rest of the U.K. in attracting TV and movie projects. Northern Ireland, which was put on the international filming map with “Game of Thrones,” is building a new studio in Belfast. Wales, fast becoming a popular production hub, has also backed construction of a major new studio facility. In England, already home to Pinewood and other well-established studios, the mayor of London has thrown his support behind plans to build one of the city’s largest filming facilities.

But the Pentland Studios project in Scotland has not been without controversy. Opponents contend that it would destroy prime countryside south of Edinburgh and force a local farmer off the land. A government-commissioned report last December recommended rejection of the studio proposal, but Scottish officials overruled that in April, saying instead that they were inclined to let it go ahead.

Formal planning permission was granted Thursday. The developer, PSL Land Ltd., will now draw up detailed blueprints for the site.

“We are extremely pleased to have reached this major milestone in the studio complex’s journey, after a considerable period of time and work to date,” Jim O’Donnell, PSL Land’s director of development, said in a statement. “We particularly want to thank those who have supported the project throughout the past three years, and we look forward to reaching the next milestone as soon as possible.”

Promotional organization Film Edinburgh has described the studio project as “a true game-changer for the Edinburgh region’s appeal as a filming destination.” Movies that have been shot in the area include “T2 Trainspotting” (pictured) and the upcoming “Avengers: Infinity War.”

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