Councillors have unanimously rejected plans for the proposed Holyport Film Studios in Maidenhead with one calling it a ‘chancer application’. 

The Royal Borough’s Maidenhead development control panel voted 9-0 to refuse Greystoke Land’s proposals for 43 hectares of film and TV studios on Green Belt at its March 20 meeting.

The scheme of 15 sound stages, totalling 225,000 sq ft, a virtual reality and gaming hub and a nature reserve, had been planned by JLL for the site, north of Forest Green Road, which is largely open land.

But both councillors and public speakers were vociferously opposed when the application was discussed in front of dozens of members of the public. One public speaker, who works as a surveyor, called it one of the laziest he had seen.

Cllr Gurch Singh, who proposed the motion to refuse, said the inappropriateness of the development in the Green Belt was ‘quite stark’.

He went on: “It’s a massive, massive development in this part of Holyport, probably the most inappropriate place to put these buildings in the borough. There’s a huge number of buildings there. This council and committee has approved film studios at Bray so we are not opposed to film studios and investment. I’m a big Netflix fan myself so I am pro TV, but not when it harms the character of the area.”

He added: “It’s the wrong development in the wrong place this time around. We’ve got to knock it out and there’s got to be a strong message. It’s a chancer application and we can’t have these applications coming through the panel.”

The refusal followed the officers’ recommendation on eight grounds, namely:

  1. Lack of ‘very special circumstances’ for building in the Green Belt.
  2. Harm to local character
  3. Proximity of listed buildings and conservation areas
  4. Highway safety
  5. Loss of footpaths
  6. Insufficient conservation of habitats
  7. Loss of agricultural land
  8. Sustainability

Greystoke Land has been approached for comment.

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