Given we have successfully campaigned for Pinewood Studios to expand in Cardiff, a Big Thank You Might Be In Order.
Jonathan Stuart-Brown for Save The British Film Industry.
Very well done The Welsh Assembly. Very well done First Minister Carwyn Jones. It is only 180 000 square feet at the outset and only 4 sound stages, but it will grow. The initial 2000 jobs and £90 million a year will be just the start of a much bigger vision. Very well done Wales. Young people near Cardiff now by sheer dint of geography will get careers in film, tv and creative industries.
Pinewood Studios have announced an expansion into Wales. We first mooted this in 2008 and very heavily from 2009. We also mooted an expansion into every UK region. We were rubbished by Pinewood Board. We were told that it was not possible, not viable, indeed at one point we were told it was insane.
We were told it was because ‘there was no skillbase outside South Bucks’. We insisted there was and there was just a lack of warehouses, sound proof high roofed warehouses. Posh word is sound stages BUT they are warehouses. Not even that big. Any Birmingham NEC Hall is twice the size of the biggest soundstage at Pinewood Studios. Indeed one NEC Hall is about as big as the Welsh expansion. There are another 20 at the NEC !
We thank God that Pinewood Shepperton Board have now started expanding in the UK. After having expanded their brand name built in Britain over 75 years in several countries over the last 5 years, and having spurned a UK expansion, they now are getting wise. So yes we really thank God.
In the last five years Pinewood could expand into areas with zero skillbase and not even English as first language. Provided the location was outside the UK and up to 6500 miles away. With great ease and enthusiasm Pinewood expanded (at least as sales agent) for studios in Malaysia, Canada, Berlin, Hamburg, Los Angeles, The Dominican Republic and have assured the good folk in Atlanta Georgia that their seven year plan is going to focus on this vast land bank. The lack of skill base in Malaysia and Atlanta was overcome. They are negotiating with China and only the Arab Spring screwed up a major deal in Egypt.
Now Pinewood has expanded 135 miles west of its ‘skillbase’ in the UK itself.
This expansion is to be encouraged and applauded – although it was odd this was not mentioned to the Public Inquiry in November 2013 when they were seeking to get planning permission on greenbelt lands next to the original Pinewood Studios linking it to the M25.
Now given Pinewood Shepperton’s biggest shareholder owns Media City in Salford, surely it makes sense to build in or near Swindon, in the West Midlands, in the South West, Yorkshire, North Wales, the North-East, Scotland, the North and South of Ireland, Bournemouth, East Anglia.
Maybe an invitation to join the Board of Pinewood Shepperton ? After all Pinewood Shepperton has just admitted for the first time in 5 years that we were right and they were wrong.