Development and regeneration in Barking and Dagenham

Mayor and leader in film studio discussions

By James Wood - Thu 6 October 2016, 5:24 pm

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan met with Barking and Dagenhamís council leader, Councillor Darren Rodwell, today (6 October), to discuss the possibility of creating Londonís largest film studios in Dagenham.

Khan, Rodwell and members of Barking and Dagenham Council with a CGI of the proposed film studios (© Andrew Baker)

Film London and the London Local Enterprise Panel (LEP) will work with Khan and Rodwell to carry out a feasibility study into what would be the first TV and film studios to be built in the capital in decades. They would be built in front of the Londoneast-uk business and industrial park in Dagenham East.

The site is being considered because of its large size and good connections to central London – accessed on the high frequency District line station adjacent to the site.

London's film industry is thriving. It is the third busiest city in the world for production – after New York and Los Angeles – and attracted investment of £1 billion from international film productions last year.

New studio space to meet a rising demand is seen as critical to maintaining this success. US-backed productions are said to have the potential to bring in £100 million and the facility would help London’s continued success in bidding for overseas productions.

Permanent jobs could also be created in Barking and Dagenham if the studios were built, with an increased demand for workers in fields as diverse as carpentry and sound technology. The council and London LEP will invest up to £80,000 to develop a business case for the proposal, looking at the potential economic benefits for London.

Khan considers culture a top priority for London, with the so-called creative industries accounting for one in six jobs in the capital and 800,000 in total.

Khan said: “London has a vibrant production history and some of the best studios in the world. To sustain and grow this success story, it is critical that the capital gets significantly more studio and production capacity to maximise the opportunities for filmmaking. London is open to the best creative and cultural minds and I am looking forward to exploring whether a new film studio in Dagenham could help the capital’s film industry thrive for years to come.”

Barking and Dagenham’s film office, which features in the new edition of BOLD, published later this month, has already attracted big budget films, such as Marvel's Avengers (Age of Ultron) and Dr Strange, and TV dramas including BBC One’s Undercover and Channel 4 sci-fi thriller, Humans.   

Rodwell said: “We are working together to create a blockbuster deal to generate hundreds of exciting opportunities for local young people and bolster Barking and Dagenham’s reputation as London’s latest creative hotspot. Our ambition is that,  in future, Dagenham will become world famous for films rather than Fords.”

The mayor’s screen industries agency, Film London, is leading on the scheme. Adrian Wootton, chief executive of Film London and the British Film Commission, said: “If realised, this major new infrastructure project would mean a tremendous economic boost for Barking and Dagenham, the capital’s film and TV industries and the UK as a whole.”

Khan also visited the creative Ice House Quarter hub and met with Barking and Dagenham’s cultural connectors, made up of artists in the borough.

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