Barking and Dagenham Council has agreed a further deal with media real estate company Hackman Capital Partners (HCP) on a another state-of-the-art studio in the east London borough.

Last year, HCP and Square Mile Capital announced plans to build Eastbrook Studios – the capital’s largest film and TV production centre – in Dagenham. They have now agreed a 10 year-lease with Barking and Dagenham Council for two existing warehouses alongside the River Roding in Barking, which will be converted into studios.

This deal, combined with Eastbrook Studios, will bring up to £350m worth of investment into the borough, offering a total of 18 sound stages and the potential to deliver over 1,800 new jobs. HCP also plans to invest heavily in training and educational programmes in the local area.

Known as The Wharf, the ten-acre site will complement the larger Dagenham Eastbrook Studios complex and deliver six new sound stages with associated production offices and workshop space. The studios are expected to open before the main Eastbrook complex and will be available for filming as early as Autumn this year.

Cllr Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, said: “This is fantastic news and is another sign of the huge confidence in our borough, London and the UK from HCP, who have already made a massive commitment to building Eastbrook Studios and are now expanding to The Wharf. “Their decision to invest in The Wharf is another boost for our borough and London, meaning more jobs and opportunities for local people. We will not only be able to say movies will be Made in Dagenham but in Barking too!”

Michael Hackman, CEO Hackman Capital Partners, said: “We are delighted to develop The Wharf and continue Barking and Dagenham’s transformation into a global media hub. We are proud to add to the history of this storied area and have the support of such innovative and impactful leaders like Council Leader Rodwell.”

Minister for Investment, Gerry Grimstone said: “Brilliant news for Barking and Dagenham and with a further commitment from US investor Hackman Capital Partners towards boosting the local economy, driving regeneration and showcasing the UK’s world-class film industry to the world. The Government is paving the way for an investment-led recovery through our Office for Investment, freeportsand measures to ensure the UK is the best place to invest and grow a business.”

Pat Hayes, Managing Director of Be First, which negotiated the agreement on behalf of Barking and Dagenham Council, said: “This announcement is further proof that Barking and Dagenham is attracting modern, knowledge based and creative industries. The borough which was blighted by deindustrialisation in the late 20th century is becoming economically vibrant again.”

Eastbrook Studios in Dagenham, which will be the largest studio campus in London, will provide a major investment for the borough, the entertainment industry and the capital, contributing £35m per year to the local economy and catalysing more development into East London.

HCP is committed to delivering new training opportunities for the industry and are working closely with the Council and local education institutions including Barking and Dagenham College. The recently opened East London Institute of Technology (ELIoT) at the college, specialising in Film/TV production and construction is perfectly placed to help educate the next generation of film crew.

Adrian Wootton OBE, Chief Executive of Film London and the British Film Commission, said: “There could never be a better time to open new studio space in the capital. Despite COVID, London and the UK’s film and TV industry is flourishing. Industry recovery in the final quarter of 2020 generated £1.19 billion spend for film and high-end TV, the second highest three-month spend on record. The demand is there – and growing. We just need the studio space to match it, which is why today’s announcement of additional sound stages in east London by autumn is not only welcome, but extremely timely. Film and high-end TV can help drive London and the UK’s economic recovery, providing UK plc with billions of pounds, supporting hundreds and thousands of jobs and bringing regeneration and growth to areas like Barking and Dagenham.”

Jason Turton Assistant Principal at Barking and Dagenham College said: “We are extremely excited to be working with such forward-thinking employer partners. Within ELIoT we incorporate training, learning, research, innovation and enterprise that will deliver excellence in advanced and higher technical skills to meet the needs of local learners, employers and communities in East London that can support this revolutionary development. We are proud to be part of this new vision for the borough and are working closely together to ensure that we give local people opportunities that are hard to find in the film and creative industries.”

Picture L-R: Cllr Rodwell with Lisa Dee, Head of Film LBBD inside one of the warehouses at The Wharf



Jon Creamer

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