Will Scotland ever get its studio?

OutlanderAfter years of high-profile discussion and pressure from producers, Scotland seemed set to get its own film and TV studio.

But now it appears the approval for such a scheme could be in jeopardy, as council officials have delivered a blow to the bid from the privately-funded Pentland Studios project to build a facility in the Straiton area. 

According to The Scotsman, planners have said the application should be “thrown out”, as it would cause disruption to local residents, is unsuitable for green belt land (it is near the Pentland Hills) and would hamper the growth of the Edinburgh Science Triangle development. 

The proposed scheme, which would include six sound stages and provide nearly 1,000 jobs, would cost around £150m and there have been doubts raised over the commercial backing, as well as queries about the potential economic benefits. 

However, the consortium behind the plans is appealing on the ground of non-determination by Midlothian Council; a ruling will be made by the Scottish government at a later date once a detailed report has been assessed by an independent adjudicator.  

While n a separate report, in news outlet The Herald Scotland, renowned Scottish producer Willy Wands has damned the lack of a Scottish studio as a “national disgrace”. 

Wands, who recently worked on the remake of Whisky Galore, is lobbying hard to get plans approved. He told the Herald:  “Basically we are concerned that there is a lack of transparency with the studio [delivery group], a lack of transparency between Creative Scotland and Scottish Enterprise, and we are concerned that because of this there is a conflict of interest and they are not going to give the Pentlands plan a fair crack of the whip."

While the Scottish government is officially still working on separate plans for a publicly-funded studio, it does seem extraordinary that Scotland currently remains the only UK nation without a purpose-built facility, and this can only damage the creative industries in both the short- and long-term. 

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