Scotland to build two new film and TV studios?

From infamously having no purpose-built film and TV studios to potentially having two - with one a lot closer to fruition than the other - exciting times are ahead for Scotland.

With planning permission now put through for an 86 acre site at Straiton, Midlothian, and continued discussions between members of Studio City Scotland and Dundee City Council on a £120 million film and TV studio in Dundee, the coming years could see Scotland welcoming a plethora of new productions.

The Straiton project, helmed by developers PSL Land, is set to be a world-class production facility coupled with a film academy, student residence, visitor attraction and hotel. Eight sound stages would be built in the complex and the £135m development could create over 600 jobs with opening scheduled for 2017. Given the capacity and quality of the studio it could certainly host the largest Hollywood productions.

Jim O'Donnell, PSL Land development director, said: "We look forward to creating a world-class facility to complement Scotland's existing studio spaces and stunning locations.

"Situated on the outskirts of one of Europe's greatest cities, the proposed studio will place broadcast, indigenous and international film production needs at the forefront, whilst retaining the character and integrity of the local area and its natural beauty."

The studio is waiting for planning permission by Midlothian Council before it can finally go ahead; the studio would be run by Jeremy Pelzer, previously managing director of Ealing Studios and a former head of Elstree Studios, and Donald Wilson, who held senior positions at Murray Intl. Holdings and Premier Hytemp.

Heading slightly north of Straiton, a consortium of businesses is heading up plans to build the Dundee-based studio. The development would include eco-friendly state-of-the-art facilities with multiple sound stages. Hollywood actor Brian Cox, who was born in Dundee, has reportedly met the consortium and given his full support to the project.

Martin Cherry, managing director of consortium member Bannerman Technology said: "Dundee is the right place at the right time. The city is undergoing major re-generation around the new V&A so this development will capitalise on the attention that is attracting.

"This development will drive significant economic development for the city and Dundee City Council's Planning and Economic Development teams are being highly supportive."

Both sites look set to go ahead amidst reports that Film City Glasgow is also in talks to join the party, with a fresh revamp and expansion of their own premises. If all three projects come to pass we could be about to witness a brand new era for film and television production in Scotland.


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