Lights, camera, action! Scotland’s first national film studio gets the go ahead

Nathanael Williams

Minister gives green light to film studio to boost Scotland’s cultural power on world stage

SCOTLAND’S FIRST NATIONAL FILM STUDIO will get the go ahead from Scottish ministers this week as the government grants planning approval for a facility on the outskirts of Edinburgh.

The £230m studio will be located in Straiton 9km from the outskirts of the nation’s capital and is to be built on land developed by PSL Land.

Up to 900 jobs will be created on the 86 acre site according to PSL Land and chief planner John McNairney .

The news is considered a huge advancement on years of successive Scottish Governments failing to deliver a film studio which critics say has meant Scotland losing out on major film contracts such as Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones.

In Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, the film industry boomed along with a burgeoning set of studios and, according to industry figures, favourable tax arrangements.

“It is anticipated that a detailed schedule to progress the planning application will be agreed with Midlothian council in the next few weeks.”

PSL said: “Working together with Midlothian council, PSL hope this stage will be expedited accordingly, recovering the construction scheduling that will enable delivery of the key studio operation by late 2018.

“It is anticipated that a detailed schedule to progress the planning application will be agreed with Midlothian council in the next few weeks, producing a phased timeframe with the studio, academy and energy centre as the first buildings to be progressed to full planning consent.”

The plan presented to Midlothian council in May 2015 will include a film school and student accommodation as well as retail, office and commercial space. The 130,000 sq ft studio is also backed by Chinese investors.

PSL Land is a private firm incorporated in Glasgow which deals in planning and private equity and according to Companies House has six active directors.

Once finished the facility could also be a possible home for Edinburgh Festival performances, a rehearsal space for national performing companies like Scottish Opera and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra or as a new creation hub for computer games companies.

The studio has investors excited about the amount of growth Scotland can expect given the improved film sectors in other countries with their own dedicated studios. In Northern Ireland, the hit series Game of Thrones is being filmed at the Belfast studio built in an old shipyard and is thought to have generated £115m for the local economy.

PSL is also planning to build a Tier-4 data centre facility, the first in Scotland of its size, and an energy centre to serve the entire site’s power and heating requirements.

Picture courtesy of PSL

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