Pinewood's expansion plans killed, residents don't want film industry
Pinewood was planning a massive expansion, something I wrote about back in June of 2009 but was first planned in 2007, an expansion that would mean building a town where sections of it would look like other cities around the world and as a whole offer the potential to increase the use of the studio by Hollywood and attract a lot of money and jobs from the industry to the UK.
However it would seem that the plans for the expansion have been halted and the £200 million proposal shelved, just over a week after the Prime Minister visited the studio representing a Government that has been talking up the UK film industry.
While blame is being thrown on the Government for the failure of the plans it would be more realistic to put the blame at the feet of the people who live around the studio, the people who complained about the planning application, for if enough people legitimately complain about a planning application and their complaints have merit, then the application is liable to be refused, and that's just what happened.
It seems strange as one of the intentions of the newly developed town would be to allow people to live there when filming wasn't taking place, and one would presume that the company would keep the town looking pristine between filming, and with different sections looking like different locations around the world it would offer an amazing resource of location sets for filming.
However the locals didn't want that, and according to The Guardian article they feared for their local villages from increased traffic and possible damage to the green belt area.
Oh well then. There go the jobs and a massive part of the UK film industry. I wonder if everyone who complained has a house, a job, and their career is outside of film.
The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government then refused the application based on these complaints, which I wonder if they should have. Perhaps they should have taken all those who complained and put them together with the studio to address each one of their concerns, and where it was legitimate, made the studio change their proposals to suit.
Perhaps clauses to return the location to the way it was before, to ensure there was no lasting damage to the villages, to route new traffic away from their small villages, etc. Unfortunately there's nothing they could do to guarantee jobs should the studio fail that will be solely on the heads of the people who stopped the application. Am I being too black and white?
Pinewood have already begun work on some of their expansion plans and plan to continue saying that they will look carefully at the rejected application presumably with the plans to address the issues raised, rework the plans and resubmit.
Of course it if is going to be refused why don't the Government pay for the entire studio to move location somewhere else in the country, if the local residents don't want the film industry to grow and jobs to increase I'm sure there are plenty of other places around the country who do.
You can see more about the project over at the Project Pinewood site.