Film studio that could be used for Disney productions gets green light

The plan to build a film studio near Reading that could be used to make star-studded Hollywood blockbusters has been approved.

Shinfield Studios obtained a building permit to set up a film studio – with four sound stages and four workshops – in Thames Valley Science Park for five years.

The project is part of a long-term vision for a “Cine Valley” and Shinfield Studios says it has already been approached by US film production companies looking for studio space.

The plans were approved by the Wokingham Borough Council Planning Committee on Wednesday, March 24, but there is a condition which states that the studio will be removed and the land will be “restored to its prior state” in 2026.

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The university also applied for a building permit to build a permanent television studio – with enough seats for an audience of 550 people – at Shinfield Science Park. He hopes to open this studio in 2022.

Nick Smith, managing director of Shinfield Studios, said the UK film and television production industry “is booming” but the lack of studio space “is holding back growth”.

“There is an acute shortage of studio space to meet demand from companies like Disney, Netflix, Amazon and Apple,” he said.

“A typical production will spend between 80 million pounds and 100 million pounds over a period of nine to 12 months and up to 10 million pounds per month – a significant proportion of that amount will be spent locally.

“A typical production will also employ over 500 crew members, creating a number of high paying local employment opportunities.

“The industry will bring substantial growth and new business opportunities to Berkshire.”

Shinfield Studios was launched in 2020, after Los Angeles-based film studio investor Commonwealth Real Estate LP reached an agreement with the University of Reading to build studios and a creative media campus in the science park.

He will set up the temporary studio south of Cutbush Lane, on land currently used for agriculture.

The council’s planning committee agreed to approve the plans at Wednesday’s meeting, although several councilors raised concerns about the loss of green space.

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Cllr Charlotte Haitham Taylor said: “I am disappointed that the temporary studios are offered mainly in the countryside when other land in the science park was not used first.”

She added: “I am, on the whole, in favor of this candidacy.

“Over time, this use will generate economic prosperity, including opportunities for many local residents in this region.”

Cllr Andrew Mickleburgh said: “I am also concerned about the further loss of land, designated by Wokingham Borough Council, as a campaign.

“I wonder if the request was to build houses on the site if the outcome of the town planning request would be very different.”

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