Hollywood studio planned for Reading
The University of Reading has agreed a lease deal with affiliates of Commonwealth Real Estate LP, a film studios investor based in LA, to develop a major new film studio at its Thames Valley Science Park campus.
Following consultation with the local community, the campus will be known as Shinfield Studios, and is expected to open, subject to planning approval, in late 2022.
The aim will be to bring more Hollywood film productions to the UK, creating around 1,500 new jobs, and supporting up to 1,500 further indirect jobs.
The scheme is expected to create £500m of annual inward investment to the UK.
Professor Robert Van de Noort, vice-chancellor of the University of Reading, said: “We are delighted that this agreement has been reached, which will bring welcome significant Hollywood investment, creativity and job opportunities to Reading, Wokingham and the wider Thames Valley.
“It is a credit to the hard work and determination of everyone involved to have concluded a transaction while negotiating through challenging restrictions on movement and travel. This lease presents a superb opportunity for the University and facilitates an exciting development for the wider community, and we look forward to Commonwealth bringing their vision to life.”
Nick Smith, managing director of Shinfield Studios, said: “Britain has an enviable array of filmmaking talent, but the industry is short of high-quality studio facilities capable of catering for the new and emerging technologies that will form the core of television and film production in the future.
“This development costing over £200 million will create a new powerhouse of creative production and new talent, as well as generating up to 3,000 new jobs.
“Completing this exciting transaction is a big step forward and we look forward to ongoing consultation and engagement with all local stakeholders as this project advances.”
Cllr John Halsall, leader of Wokingham Borough Council, said: “This is very welcome news for people in Wokingham and the wider region. Wokingham has a strong record of supporting world-class businesses, including existing links with the film industry. We look forward to providing everyone involved with the opportunity to put their plans and views forward as part of our usual rigorous planning process.”
The announcement comes in a week full of studio news – a new facility is being built in Hartlepool, West London Studios is expanding and work has begun on the two new studios in Liverpool – as the UK attempts to meet the growing demand from films and high-end TV dramas, a large swathe of which are inward investment projects.
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