New UK film studios set to generate £600 million annually confirms Disney as first client

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A new film studio in Berkshire has received full planning permission to begin construction on a state-of-the-art facility which will comprise 18 sound stages and has already confirmed Disney as its first client. 

The 85,000 square metre media hub, Shinfield Studios will be located in Shinfield within the Thames Valley Science Park and become one of the largest film and TV studios in Europe.  The studios expect to generate total inward investment to the UK economy of approximately £600 million each year.

The development includes four sound stages which have already been completed following accelerated planning permission and they are now ready to start filming a Disney production which has been confirmed to start filming soon.

Alongside 18 world-leading sound stages, Shinfield Studios will include workshops, a contemporary office environment and a post-production / screening facility; all designed to service the largest film and television productions. In addition, facilities will be completed for the use of related service businesses including lighting, camera and props.

Nick Smith, Joint Managing Director, Shinfield Studios said:

“We are incredibly excited about the potential for Shinfield Studios, both as a significant contributor to the thriving UK film and TV industry and for its already proven ability to attract the world’s foremost story tellers and producers. Our goal has been to move rapidly to support our clients who need to secure space from next year.  Completing the first four sound stages already has enabled us to get up and running quickly and deliver a state-of-the-art studio space to meet Disney’s needs.”

Ian Johnson, Joint Managing Director, Shinfield Studios added:

“It’s well documented that there is an ever-growing demand for studio space in the UK and we’re thrilled to be able to take advantage of this and create a world class home for the film and TV community within Berkshire. Wokingham Borough Council and the community of Shinfield have been incredibly supportive of this vision and we look forward to contributing to the employment and cultural opportunities in the local area.”

Adrian Wootton OBE, Chief Executive of the British Film Commission, said:

“The UK has never been more attractive as a film and high-end TV production base. Indeed, the demand for filmed content continues to grow exponentially, so it is critical that we respond by supporting an increase in studios and stage space capacity, in tandem with significant skills development. Shinfield is an important new development, which will help considerably in continuing to draw production and investment to the UK.”

In October, members of Wokingham Borough Council’s Planning Committee voted unanimously to award planning permission to Shinfield Studios’ proposal. Following receipt of confirmation of no objection to the permission from the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, full planning consent has now been granted and construction will begin immediately.  Alongside the four sound stages already constructed, a further nine are due to open in 2023, with completion of the entire 18 stage facility by the end of 2024.

Shinfield Studios has been designed to embrace sustainable production and practices and all buildings will be constructed to BREEAM excellent standards, this includes a fabric first approach and the use of air source heat pumps and photovoltaic arrays (PV). In meeting these standards, the site will not be using any natural gas and will adopt the use of solar panels.  Through the integration of low and zero carbon technologies a typical reduction of 20% carbon emissions will be achievable – double the level required under existing Council policy.

In addition to Shinfield Studios, Blackhall Global Partners owns Blackhall Studios in Atlanta, America. The 9-stage, 850,000 square foot studio campus opened in 2017 and plans are in place to expand the site by nearly 1.2 million square feet by 2024.

Additionally, Blackhall Global Partners is developing in the Los Angeles metro with a new state-of-the-art, 19-stage facility in Santa Clarita which is expected to open in 2025. Upon completion Blackhall Global Partners will own approximately 4.2 million square feet of studio and support space, including 64 purpose-built soundstages: making it one of the largest independent studio operators in the world.

Adam Fisher, Co-Principal Shareholder of Blackhall Global Partners and Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Commonwealth Asset Management said:

“As we explored expanding our footprint outside of America it was the obvious choice to invest in a market which had the dual benefit of a rich and well-established pool of production talent, alongside a long history of attracting large-scale productions. The UK has always enjoyed a reputation as a world-leading home for film and TV production, this is only set to grow over the coming decades.”

Alan Howard, Co-Principal Shareholder of Blackhall Global Partners added:

“The UK enjoys a strong reputation for creative excellence and it is incredibly rewarding to be in a position to contribute to the continued growth of the TV & Film sector with the establishment of Shinfield Studios.”

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