Pentland Studios plan backed by VisitScotland

The Scottish Government is coming under mounting pressure to approve a controversial film studio on the outskirts of Edinburgh after its national tourism agency, the city council and the Capital's film agency all backed the plans.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 25th February 2016, 6:06 am
Updated Thursday, 25th February 2016, 6:35 am
The film studio plans on show at a meeting in Asda at Straiton. Picture: Ian Georgeson
The film studio plans on show at a meeting in Asda at Straiton. Picture: Ian Georgeson

VisitScotland officials have thrown their weight behind the Pentland Studios project –despite opposition from Midlothian Council amid fears it will blight the local landscape.

The Pentland Studios project would feature six “sound stages” up to 70ft tall for indoor filming and two outdoor “backlots” suitable for blockbuster productions.

It is also being championed by the Film Edinburgh commission, which claims 17 “high-value productions” were lost to the area last year due to the lack of a studio, as well as the city council’s economic development chief, Frank Ross.

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Their support has emerged days after one of the filmmakers behind the new Star Wars blockbuster said the failure to build such a facility was having a “catastrophic” effect on the industry in Scotland.

The Scottish Government will have to rule on the studio scheme after the consortium behind the project appealed on the grounds of non-determination by the council.

VisitScotland claims the £150 million project, which it has hailed as a “game changer,” could become Scotland’s answer to the famous Harry Potter tours at the Warner Bros studio in London.

Regional director Manuela Calchini said: “A studio tour would be a unique visitor attraction which would complement the activities already undertaken by ‘set-jetters’, who come to Scotland to see locations used in their favourite film or TV programme.”

Cllr Ross said the Pentland Studios development had the potential to transform Scotland into an “international hub” for film production when combined with the area’s urban and natural landscapes.

He added: “The project has the potential to enhance the city tourist offering, boost the creative sector and catalyse greatly increased investment in film production.”

Rosie Ellison, manager of Film Edinburgh said the 
industry was being held back significantly by the lack of a studio.

She has told the government: “The bulk of high-impact filming needs a film studio in which to work.

“The lack of build space is regularly cited as the reason that these productions choose not to film or base in the city region.”