Planning permission has been granted for a major new UK film studio in Ashford, Kent.
The approval took place during a virtual meeting of Ashford Borough Council yesterday, 22 April.
The planning application for Ashford International Film Studios was submitted by developers Quinn Estates, to create a £250m redevelopment of the derelict Newtown Railway Works. There will be a hotel and apartments as well as the studios.
The scheme is expected to create more than 2000 direct jobs, with around 900 indirect roles.
During the construction phase, Quinn Estates say the development will attract £152m of inward investment to the area, with 585 direct construction jobs and a further 880 indirect jobs into the wider economy.
The Creative District Improvement Co (TCDICo), founded by Piers Read and Jeremy Rainbird, will be the operator of the studios.
The four studios, totalling 80,000 sq ft, will sit on a 15-acre site. There will be another 80,000 sq ft of ancillary production space, 50,000 sq ft of storage space and a 30,000 sq ft media village.
Work on the studio development is due to begin next year.
Reid and Rainbird said: “Amidst this current global pandemic, it is extremely exciting to be given the go-ahead by the council to start work on what will become one of the UK’s biggest creative hubs.
“Global streaming giants have already expressed interest in the scheme as demand for their services booms and before there is a huge backlog in production, as people stay at home and burn through original content at record levels.
Cllr Gerry Clarkson, leader of Ashford Borough Council, said: “This development will be one of the most important economic drivers for the borough in the next few years and demonstrates the confidence that investors continue to have in Ashford.
“These exciting proposals involve finding a new use for one of the longest listed buildings in the country, which is of significant historical value but have been left to decay.
“This development will sensitively ensure our proud railway heritage is recognised, while transforming a brownfield site which has laid dormant for many years into a Film and TV Studio hub together with a hotel, serviced apartments, conferencing facility and a health club.
“Not only will this development put Ashford on the map nationally and internationally, it will also create sought after film studio space, provide thousands of jobs and make the town a hub for the creative arts industry, which is set to grow significantly in the future.”