Bray Film Studios, the film and TV facility that sits around 25 miles outside of London, is set to undergo a significant redevelopment after local authorities awarded planning permission to the project.
Owners said a multi-million-pound scheme will see the studio increase capacity by building nine sound stages and further facilities such as workshops. The existing rehearsal building will also be retained as will the character of the original space, including the 18th century grade 2 listed English country house that is at the heart of the studio.
That house was first bought by horror company Hammer Film Productions back in 1951 after it was used to film The Dark Light, with the studio facilities built around it over the following years. The complex was set to be demolished to be replaced by luxury apartments in 2015 but a new facility will now instead be built.
According to local reports, the plans had met opposition over the fact they were expanding into the local ‘greenbelt’ and would require the demolition of three homes and a farmhouse. However, the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead have both now granted permission for the development to go ahead.
The UK’s ongoing production boom has seen multiple large-scale studio projects move to varying stages of progress over the last few years. The owners of Bray said their plans would create up to 3,000 permanent jobs – cited as a key reason for the planning permission being granted – as well as an estimated £118m annual production spend.
Adrian Wootton OBE, Chief Executive of the British Film Commission, said: “To see the revival and continued expansion of a studio as iconic as Bray Film Studios is hugely positive for the UK screen industries. It’s an exciting time for our sector. The demand for content is at an all-time high, significant stage space developments and expansions are in the pipeline across the UK, and innovative partnerships between public and commercial screen organisations are working to address the increasing demand for skills. This investment into Bray Film Studios is an important step in harnessing these opportunities, and will hugely help in continuing to attract major international production, investment, and employment to the UK.”
Linda Teare, Director of Bray Film Studios explained: “We’re thrilled to be welcoming film and high-end television productions back to Bray. With our investment to date, our location and film-making history spanning over 70 years, we’re in a great position to respond to the demand for studio space and support Britain’s creative industries. It’s wonderful to be reviving this historic studio and preserving a part of Britain’s rich film history.”