This is a surprising result given it’s the second time the UK’s venerable Pinewood has had an expansion project thwarted – and despite the increased interest of major U.S. studios to shoot there. The studio, which is home to the 007 set built in honor of the James Bond films that have been filmed there and which houses many major Hollywood pictures, first applied for permission to expand back in 2009 and was refused in early 2012 because it was eyeing protected land. The studio owns the land, but failed to satisfy the Buckinghamshire Council’s requirement of “special circumstances” to proceed. Today, the council refused a more recent modified application for an increase in capacity. Earlier this week it was reported that Hollywood studios, including Disney, Marvel, 20th Century Fox and Universal, had written to the decision makers urging approval.
Pinewood’s CEO Ivan Dunleavy said today, “This is a disappointing decision by the local planning authority. It is hard to believe, given the country’s economic difficulties that (the council) would turn down a £200M project creating 3,100 jobs in the vibrant and growing film and television sectors. The Company remains committed to the Pinewood Studios Development Framework and we will be studying the decision with our legal and planning team and expect to appeal the decision to the Secretary of State.”