Film studios in Dagenham are a step closer to reality

Posted by Derek Mason

27th October 2020

Photo Credit: BeFirst

Hollywood is coming to East London. With building work expected to start in 2021, it’s an exciting proposition for Dagenham – an area that suffered massively from de-industrialisation.

The studios will be built alongside one of the largest data centres in the UK, and the UCL’s innovative PEARL project – a 4000m2 research site to explore how people interact with their environment. Due to open in 2021, PEARL (Person-Environment-Activity Research Laboratory) is truly innovative – a 10m high space where researchers can recreate large-scale environments including train stations or town centres, and then monitor people’s reactions to them.

There are also plans to relocate the City of London’s wholesale markets to a site nearby. All of this is a huge boost and will hopefully create thousands of jobs for the area.

Local people might have been forgiven for wondering whether current world events would have an impact on these plans but, just last week, local councillors agreed to the proposal for a 250-year leasehold sale of the former Sanofi site land, on the condition that it would be used for studios.

The leader of Barking and Dagenham Council said that agreeing to the proposal was, “A big step forward on our journey to make Dagenham London’s Hollywood”.

The studios themselves will boast six world-class sound stages (5 x 22,000ft2 and 1x 30,000ft2), plus accommodation for production, hair and makeup, and dressing rooms. Two existing buildings will be converted into workshops for set construction. A landmark office building is included in the plans – for pre and post-production work – and additional space for other aligned creative businesses.

Sustainability will be a priority too, with the plans including green roofs. It’s estimated that nearly 1200 jobs will be created in the studios alone – a real positive in these challenging times.

I know from my structural engineering work at Ealing Studios, that there is a growing demand for studio space in the UK (or at least there was prior to the events of this year) so this is a much-needed project.

And, of course, if you need assistance with the structural elements of an upcoming project, please do get in touch.

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