Tourist attraction set to take centre stage in £450m Pinewood expansion

Tourist attraction set to take centre stage in £450m Pinewood expansion
Pinewood Studios is preparing to take a starring role in boosting the UK’s film and tourism industries after unveiling a major expansion plan that will create thousands of jobs and generate millions of pounds.

Called “Screen Hub UK”, the new development is expected to cost a total of about £450m and will be located on a 77-acre site located to the south of the world-famous film and television studio in Buckinghamshire. 

Along with new production facilities, an educational training hub and a green campus, the development will include a 350,000sq ft “Pinewood Studio Experience” that is “likely to feature many of the most famous films” made at the studio complex during its 84-year history, says Sky News. 

Economic impact

The expansion of Pinewood will “deliver a huge shot in the arm to a film industry which, like many others, has been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic”, Sky News predicts.

The studios are famed as the filming site of many instalments of the Star Wars and James Bond movies, including No Time to Die, starring Daniel Craig (pictured top with director Cary Joji Fukunaga) in his final outing as James Bond.

And now Pinewood is hoping to take a more central role in the UK economy too.

The group says the expansion is “likely to result in the creation of around 3,500 new jobs” and bring “£230m per year into the economy, and £125m per year into the tourism industry”. 

Announcing the plans, Pinewood Group chair Paul Golding said that the government and the Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) “have recognised Pinewood Studios as a major economic asset to be enhanced with the creation of a screen growth hub for the UK”.  

“We have been looking at a visitor experience for some time and feel that now is the right moment to bring it forward,” Golding continued. “The project will strengthen UK film and bring much needed jobs and spending. We hope our planning application will receive widespread support.”

‘Transformational year’ 

Pinewood Group announced last month that its turnover for the fiscal year (FY20) to 31 March 2020 was £96.4m, up from £85.9m in the previous 12 months. 

FY20 had been “a transformational year”, with long-term contracts signed with Disney and Netflix, said the company, which also has studios in Shepperton, the Canadian city of Toronto, Atlanta in the US, and the Dominican Republic. 

Along with the new Bond film, superhero flick Black Widow and war epic 1917 were among the many movies shot at the group’s Buckinghamshire studios during the year.

Scenes from RocketmanMary Poppins Returns and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker were also filmed at Pinewood, and the latest instalment of the Jurassic World series is currently in production there.

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