Plans for transforming a former factory site in East London into Dagenham Studios, a state-of-the-art facility for film and TV production, are back on track. Be First, Barking and Dagenham Council’s regeneration organization, has submitted a planning application and new designs. The council’s planning committee is expected to consider these in July.
In March 2018, leading U.S. production facility developer Pacifica Ventures and private equity firm Media Content Capital won the bid to develop the 22-acre site of the former Sanofi Pharmaceuticals manufacturing plant as a studio. The project hit a roadblock in October 2019, when Pacifica decided to take a step back amidst Brexit uncertainty. “Unfortunately, Pacifica Ventures have not performed, and their exclusivity period has now lapsed,” per a Barking and Dagenham Council cabinet report in October 2019. The same month, the cabinet approved £3.4 million ($4.41 million) towards design and planning permission.
The planned studios will feature six sound stages covering 140,000 sq. ft., 85,200 sq. ft. of offices and 174,500 sq. ft. of workshops.
Councillor Darren Rodwell, leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, said: “This is a crucial stage in our ambition to make Dagenham London’s Hollywood. Our dream of making the area as famous for films as it was for Fords is very much on track.”
The U.K. is in the middle of an unprecedented inward investment boom with more than £3 billion ($3.9 billion) being plowed into films and high-end TV from overseas, according to figures released by the British Film Institute in January. The British Film Commission, which provided production support to 88% of these productions, has also been instrumental in finding large disused spaces like hangars, airfields and factories and identifying them as potential studio locations.
Adrian Wootton, chief executive of Film London and the British Film Commission, said: “The U.K. screen industries are enjoying an exceptional boom time and it is crucial that we capitalize on this by continuing to develop our world-class infrastructure and provide access to as much purpose-built studio space as we possibly can.”