Plans to build London’s largest film studios on former industrial land in Dagenham have now been approved at a meeting of Barking and Dagenham Council’s planning committee.

The plans for the film studios feature: six world class sound stages totalling c.140,000 sqft (1x 30,000 sqft and 5x 22,000 sqft); flexible accommodation adjacent to the sound stages for uses such as production offices, hair and makeup or dressing rooms; conversion of two existing buildings into workshops for set construction and associated industry users; a landmark office building for the pre and post production alongside space for associated creative industry businesses; an estimated 1,200 jobs are projected to be created in the studios and associated supply chain, and key sustainability measures incorporated within the design including green roofs

Pat Hayes, Managing Director of Be First said: “We’ve had a great deal of interest in the site and with planning permission secured the interest will intensify.  With the ever growing demand for studio space in the UK, we’re in a very good position to take this project forward.”

Adrian Wootton OBE, Chief Executive of Film London and the British Film Commission, said: “I am delighted to see Dagenham studios get the green light. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK screen industries were enjoying an exceptional boom time and we’re committed to driving the sector’s recovery. Following our publication of the UK’s British Film Commission production guidance, as we get back to work safely and production starts shooting again, I am confident that we shall return to that level of growth, and exceed it, in coming years.

“So, it’s crucial we continue to develop our world-class infrastructure. This cutting-edge proposal will further bolster London’s studio offer, supporting economic growth and creating new jobs. It’s important for Dagenham, it’s compelling for London and it’s a significant addition to the UK’s world-leading film and TV sector.”

Lisa Dee, Head of Film LBBD, said: “Barking and Dagenham is already a magnet for movie makers. Two of the UK’s biggest features were filmed in Dagenham last year – Black Widow by Marvel and Morbius by Sony Pictures (to be released) – contributing to the £1.742 billion total UK inward investment from feature films for last year.

“And, as London is moving a lot of work east, we are finding more crew and production workers are living in east, south-east and north London areas, so we’re on their doorstep, which makes Dagenham studios a great geographical fit for the existing and the next generation of crew and creatives.”

Alistair Weir, of PRP architects, said: It’s enormously rewarding to see the application unanimously approved and I’m delighted that this helps the Council take a significant step in delivering their aspirations for a world-class studio.”

Jon Creamer