City Hall is exploring the potential to build London’s largest film studio in Dagenham, further throwing the creative heart of the capital to the east.
London already has three studios, including Three Mills just south of the Olympic Park, but the plan would envisage the 17-acres Dagenham site as the largest.
Mayor Sadiq Khan has launched an £80,000 feasibility study into the plan saying: “From James Bond and Star Wars to Harry Potter and Bridget Jones’s Baby, 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 the capital gets significantly more studio and production capacity to maximise the opportunities for filmmaking.”
Around 75% of the UK’s film industry is based in and around London, and last year £1billion was attracted to the city in inward investment from international film production.
London is the third busiest city for film production in the world after only Los Angeles and New York built on the talent pool, locations and competitive tax reliefs.
The site for new studios at Dagenham East is located in front of London-east industrial park and has been chosen because of its scale.
The area is connected with the District Line and Crossrail services nearby, offering a “range of permanent jobs in the East End with ambitions to diversify the industry’s workforces, recognising broader skillsets that are necessary for film production – from carpenters to sound technicians”.
Some 800,000 already work within the creative industries in the capital, generating £35billion.
Chief executive of Film London and the British Film Commission Adrian Wootton said: “London is one of the world’s busiest destinations for the film industry, with international filmmakers making a beeline for our city because they know it offers the very best by way of facilities, expertise and creative talent.
“Our global reputation means demand for studio space is incredibly high, and unlocking new studio space in east London would help maintain the capital’s competitive edge.
“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.”
Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council Cllr Darren Rodwell said: “We are working together to create a deal to generate hundreds of opportunities 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.”
A new studio at Dagenham would join a roster of big name cultural centres who have moved to the east including the V&A and Sadler’s Wells at Olympicopolis, English National Ballet at London City Island and the London College of Fashion at the Olympic Park.