1.75m sq ft Bedfordshire studio approved
Central Bedfordshire Council has approved plans for a 1.75 million sq ft studio following “extensive public consultation”.
Originally announced in April 2022, and with planning submitted in October of the same year, the Home Of Production has been designed by architecture firm Scott Brownrigg and aims to turn a 143 acre brownfield site into a film and TV studio.
Home Of Production hopes to change the experience for crew, allowing them to stay onsite in self-contained suites and take advantage of permanent bars, restaurants and cafes, a gym, and a hospitality suite. There will also be a medical centre, childcare facilities and faith rooms.
The plans also include the addition of ecological corridors, new wetland and floating reed beds across the site, and the creation of approximately 70 hectares of replacement habitat and woodland nearby. The studio will also have a central canal, and the buildings will have a “fabric first approach” that claims to lower operational and embodied carbon.
The plan has been supported by Sweco (Structures, Civil and MEP), McFarlane + Associates (Landscape), Lichfields (Planning), RSK Wilding (Environmental) and DLP (Transport/Highways). It is being created by developer VERB and film studio operator Quartermaster.
The land has already been purchased, and financing is already in place for the plan, with original hopes that construction could begin in early 2023 or even be completed in 2024. However, the planning process appears to have taken longer than hoped, so completion may also be later.
Quartermaster founder and CEO Katya Baker said on announcement of the plans last year, “HOP Studios really will be the home of production. Having spent many years working in the film and TV industry, I have had my fair share of studio experiences, both good and bad.
“Whereas technology, the broadcasting landscape and working culture have moved at pace, facilities have not; no one can claim to have the capabilities to truly cater for all the complexities of modern productions. Having explored the ongoing lack of capacity despite the various studio expansions, the need for new studio space is very real, and not just space.
“The wellbeing of production crews also needs to be addressed within their working environment. HOP Studios is here to shake up the facilities sector and provide modern working environments for modern, TV and film producers.”
Adam Calvin, director at Verb said: “Verb brings a wealth of development and construction experience from all of the Cathexis group companies. It is this experience, coupled with the industry expertise and producer-led insight of Katya and QMS, which will deliver the Home of Production Bedford.
“The plans for HOP represent a destination which will become one of the most sought-after in the industry. Crucially incorporating a real focus on the modernity and effectiveness of the amenities as critical to its success.”
This article first appeared on our sister site, Broadcast.
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