PSL Land Ltd are very pleased with today’s decision by Ministers to approve the grant of planning permission in principle for Scotland’s world-class Film & TV studio complex, and will be moving forward immediately with the application for planning permission in detail for the Film Studio, Academy and Energy Centre sections of the development. Working together with Midlothian Council, PSL hope this next stage will be expedited accordingly, recovering the construction scheduling that will enable delivery of the key Studio operation by late 2018. It is anticipated that a detailed schedule to progress the planning application will be agreed with Midlothian Council in the next few weeks, producing a phased timeframe with the Studio, Academy and Energy Centre as the first buildings to be progressed to full planning consent.
“Whilst remaining committed to working with Midlothian Council, PSL Land Ltd yesterday wrote to the Scottish Government to call-in their planning application to deliver an International Film Studio at Straiton to the South of Edinburgh, on the grounds of the delay in determining the project by Midlothian Council. The planning application is for:
Planning permission in principle for a mixed use development comprising; film and tv studio including backlot complex; mixed employment uses (retail/office/commercial); hotel; gas and heat power plant/energy centre; film school and student accommodation; studio tour building; earth station antenna and associated infrastructure including car parking; SUDS features and landscaping (Application Ref: 15/00364/PPP).
PSL Land Ltd began pre-application discussions with Midlothian Council in mid-2013, receiving strong early support from officers and elected members of the Council for the project. Considered to be a very significant inward investment into both the local area by providing over 900 jobs, as well as an International Film Studio for Scotland, the development is also a catalyst for wider economic renewal within the Midlothian area.
The planning application was submitted on 2 May 2015 (validated 5 May 2015), and the statutory 16 week period during which the Council are required to determine the application passed on 5 September 2015. PSL Land Ltd has until 4 December 2015 to request the Scottish Government to call-in the project for review.
PSL Land Ltd has had the option to lodge this request with the Scottish Ministers from 6 September 2015, however chose to continue to work with Midlothian Council planning officers towards achieving a positive recommendation to the Planning Committee to grant Planning Permission in Principle for the proposal by December 2015.
Currently in week 28 of the application, the planning officers now advise that they now consider the proposal a significant departure from the Development Plan due to the site being partially in the Greenbelt. Consequently, a crucial delay in processing the application until 22 March 2016 for a decision, and until June 2016 to finalise Section 75 matters (approximately week 56 of the application process) has arisen.The local elections in May 2016 may further impact these dates.
PSL Land Ltd would wish to state they have no issue with the assessment, but raise considerable concerns as to why it has taken until week 28 of the decision-making process to adopt this position, particularly as Midlothian Council intend in the Emerging Local Plan to remove the Greenbelt designation on the PSL Land site.
As a result of this change in position by the Midlothian Council officials, PSL Land Ltd have lodged a request for the application to be called in by Scottish Ministers for consideration as a project of national importance. Alternatively, as of 4 December 2015, PSL Land Ltd will have no further option than to go down the Non-Determination Appeal route.”
There will be no further comment at this time.
Jim O’Donnell, PSLL Development Director said: “We look forward to creating a world-class facility to complement Scotland’s existing studio spaces and stunning locations. Situated on the outskirts of one of Europe’s greatest cities, the proposed studio will place broadcast, indigenous and international film production needs at the forefront, whilst retaining the character and integrity of the local area and its natural beauty.”
The studio design team is led by award-winning multi-disciplinary architectural practice Keppie Design. Centred around a landscaped oasis, the 50,000 sq ft reception building will provide a creative hub for resident production companies, staff and visiting crew with a studio commissary offering stunning views of the Pentland Hills across a landscaped glen.
Creating a production facility of national importance that will also target the international market, six state-of-the-art sound stages offer a range of options with two at 15,000 sq ft, two at 30,000 sq ft and two at 20,000 sq ft. The two largest stages will reach a height of 70 feet, with the remaining four stages measuring 50 feet each. With clientele to include independent and major studio productions for both film and television, the six stages will also provide production opportunities for the advertising and games industries, as well as rehearsal space for theatre and music companies. Each sound stage will be enveloped by facilities space, allowing production personnel to be in the immediate vicinity of the shooting stages. An additional 55,000 sq ft of workshops will provide prep and post production areas for the creative departments.
Complementing the varied interior shooting options and benefitting from a location away from any aircraft flight path is a 45,000 sq ft exterior ‘paddock’ water-stage for filming. Two backlots of 8.6 acres and 20.14 acres respectively allow for significant production set-builds and space with a unique backdrop.
Promising to be the UK’s only purpose-built studio in recent decades, the new build can ensure important elements for future-proofing, avoiding compromises for production, and utilising innovative uses of space; and is anticipated to attain a BREEAM® ‘excellent’ rating.
Recognising the natural synergy with a working studio, PSLL are discussing the optimum requirements for a first-class educational facility for practical production skills with established educators. An integral part of the studio complex and investing in the future skills-base will be an associated film academy which will comprise of a 28,000 sq ft teaching pavilion and 33,000 sq ft of student residence. Echoing a similar synergy with educational elements, a visitor attraction is also proposed over a 23,000 sq ft area, inviting the general public to experience the working dynamic of a world-class production facility.
Alan Seddon, Keppie Design Divisional Director, Architecture commented: “Film and television play an important role in people’s lives, but for most of us their production is such a remote activity, both physically and emotionally. That a project like this should be coming to Scotland is amazing and we at Keppie feel genuinely privileged to have been involved in getting it to this stage. Now that we have achieved such a significant milestone, we have our sights firmly set on the next stage and are looking forward to delivering the studio itself.”
Expanding general access to the development, an on-site hotel property is also proposed to further the commitment of inward investment and employment generation for the area. Welcoming both studio guests and outside clientele, the planned 180 bed hotel will include a swimming pool and gymnasium as elements of a health spa.
Crucial infrastructure for the mixed-use development site are the supporting data and energy centres, together with a satellite-link ‘earth station’. The 75,000 sq ft data centre will house essential secure cloud-based file storage systems and the dedicated 100MW gas-fired Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant will significantly contribute to the Studios’ energy efficiency. The satellite-link ‘earth station’ will provide a highly developed satellite up-link, enabling productions to securely transfer or transmit rushes, clips or entire programmes for editing and viewing purposes around the globe.
Continuing detailed conversations with a range of partners and potential users of the various spaces and elements that comprise the mixed-use site, PSLL have reserved 11.95 acres for future employment land. Providing options for further development once the initial phase of the complex has been completed, this space protects the primary Studio investment, precluding any future residential development by external parties.
Situated approximately four miles south of the Scottish Capital city-centre, the proposed studio location is ideally placed for road access to the A720 city-bypass; Edinburgh’s international airport is 9 miles away via the bypass, with Glasgow a 50-minute drive to the west along the M8. Public transport links supply both Edinburgh and Glasgow with the development providing parking to accommodate permanent personnel alongside visiting Studio Productions.
PSLL Chairman, Douglas McGhee said, “We are very pleased to have progressed the project to this next stage, and thank all members of the public and industry who contributed to the public consultation process. With extensive research and design talent behind the project, we hope this application will be recognised not only as a significant asset for Midlothian, but also for Scotland, the film, television and creative industries across the globe.”
For press enquiries and images, please contact:
Clea Tammes: firstname.lastname@example.org / +44 (0)7966 391 032
PSL Land Ltd (PSLL) is an SPV company constituted to deliver the first new build, future-proofed TV and film studio production complex in the UK, near Edinburgh, Scotland.
Public consultation meeting arranged for 14th of January, 2015 in the ASDA Store, Straiton.
Keppie Design acting as planning agents for Pentland Studios Ltd have submitted the project PAN application to Midlothian Council
Pentland Studios Ltd has received support from Edinburgh City Council for the proposed development at Straiton on the 30th of June, 2014
Pentland Studios Limited has completed the requisite due diligence with Scottish Enterprise on the 9th of June, 2014
On the 2nd of May 2014, Pentland Studios Limited submitted their response to the Scottish Enterprise request for proposal. The response reference is 29468.