Pinewood Studios plans to develop a £200m film set in Buckinghamshire, designed to help it compete with filming facilities in Hollywood, have been shelved after the government refused planning permission.
The studio, famous for being home to the James Bond films, and which produced The Iron Lady, has spent the last five years working on “Project Pinewood”. The ambitious plans would have seen the development of 100 acres of greenbelt land for creating 16 "streetscapes" for use in films. These streetscapes included a permanent Venice canal, Italian lakeside, Parisian square, brownstone New York apartments as well as parts of New Orleans and San Francisco.
Pinewood's ambitious plans axed yesterday
Pinewood claimed it would have created 1000 jobs and provided 1,400 permanent live-in apartments and houses for film workers, as well as a school, theatre, cinema and sports facilities.
The £200m project came to a halt as Eric Pickles refused to grant planning permission for Project Pinewood, on the grounds that it would damage the environment, and was not in line with local development objectives.
Filmmakers were left bewildered as the decision came just a week after the Prime Minister announced his backing for the industry.
Project Pinewood – how it would have looked
Pinewood said that had the project gone ahead, it would have contributed £3.8bn to the economy over the next 30 years and created almost 1,000 jobs over the next decade.
An industry insider said: "This is a complete shock after last week's noise from the Government about supporting the creative industries." The project had been supported by Alien director Ridley Scott, film producer Lord Puttnam, Sir Martin Sorrell and Lord Lloyd Webber.