Councillors have unanimously voted to approve plans for Shinfield Studios.

Wokingham Borough Council’s planning committee backed the plans for the 84,300 sq m development over 65 acres at Thames Valley Science Park at its October 13 meeting.

The resolution to grant permission is subject to completion of a S106 agreement.

The new media hub will include 18 film sound stages (40, 000 sq m), workshops (25,000 sq m) and offices (18,000 sq m), alongside facilities for associated businesses such as digital post-production, artificial intelligence and special computer graphic effects.

In addition, there will be a café hub as well as an outdoor courtyard and terrace, plus associated access, decked and surface parking and landscaping.  

More than 3,000 direct and indirect jobs are likely to be created at the studios which will be a key element of Cine Valley, one sector of the Innovation Valley the University of Reading is creating around its main areas of expertise.

Barton Willmore has had a team of town planning, landscape planning and design, development economics, heritage and environment experts working on the project since 2019.

Nick Paterson-Neild, partner at Barton Willmore, said “The studios will not only present a unique opportunity to support and grow the creative industry and aid the existing exponential demand in film studio space but also contribute considerably to innovation, enterprise and investment in the local area.  

“The local community will benefit from an internationally renowned film studio in the local area, with both direct and indirect employment and unique career paths beginning with inspiring employment opportunities for the workforce of the future.

“Working with our development economics team we have been able to clearly demonstrate both the direct and perhaps most importantly for the local community, that the studios will create throughout its operation, as well as the additional knock-on uplifts in hospitality to accommodate crews and actors during filming, for example.

“As such the scheme offers significant assistance in delivering and sustaining the borough’s economic growth, and therefore supporting the council’s overarching vision to create a great place to live but also do business.”

The council will refer the scheme to the Secretary of State in case he wishes to call it in. Officers told the meeting the measure is a safety check and may delay the approval by a few weeks.

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