Pinewood Shepperton Studios’ £200 million Project Pinewood development hit a roadblock today when its planning permission was rejected by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, effectively kiboshing the project. Back in 2009, Pinewood submitted an application to develop what would have been a purpose-built living and working community for the creative industries – including 16 permanent streetscapes for external filming. The streetscapes would have represented such cities as Paris, Venice, Amsterdam, Prague, San Francisco and New Orleans giving British filmmakers on a tight budget the opportunity to shoot locally while also enhancing Pinewood’s international offer. Further, Project Pinewood envisioned building 1400 homes, including affordable housing, that would have been open to all comers and provided special discounted rates for staff. Technical and craft training facilities were also on deck. In a bugaboo somewhat reminiscent of the DreamWorks/Playa Vista debacle, however, the acreage Pinewood is eyeing is in a “greenbelt” of protected land. Pinewood owns the land, but had to prove “special circumstances” in order to go ahead with the building. Complicating matters, Pinewood has faced opposition from surrounding villages in South Buckinghamshire and the Stop Project Pinewood action group. With the refusal of its application today, Pinewood said it was “disappointed” and that it would now take time to look through the government’s report before deciding its next steps, although I’m told that short of a judicial review, the project is kaput. A full statement from Pinewood is below:
Pinewood Shepperton plc (“The Company”) is disappointed by today’s decision by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to refuse planning permission for Project Pinewood. The Company will now take time to review the decision in detail.
The Company’s investment in the Project Pinewood land and costs incurred for the planning application are not material to the long term prospects of the Company. The Company will continue to implement its master planning consents at Pinewood and Shepperton studios and pursue its international strategy of developing studios overseas.
Pinewood Shepperton plc is the leading European provider of studio and related services to the worldwide film and television industry.