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Dagenham to become “London’s Hollywood” as plans for film studios approved

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, visited the site where the new film studios will be built in Dagenham 

The Mayor of London has described Dagenham as London’s answer to Hollywood after approving plans to build a new film studios in the area. 

Barking and Dagenham Council’s £110 million scheme will see London’s largest ever film studios developed on the site of the former Sanofi factory, in the London East Business and Technical Park, in Yewtree Avenue.

It will come with six sound stages, workshops for set construction and hair and makeup dressing rooms. 

A temporary studio is already open at the location and has been used to film Marvel’s Black Widow movie as well as Morbius by Sony Pictures.

While visiting the site today, Sadiq Khan told Time 107.5: “I genuinely think, it’s not just hyperbole, we could have London’s Hollywood here.

“One of the things that attracted me to [the Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council] Darren Rodwell’s vision was his obsession with making sure local people benefit from the jobs being created.”

The project is expected to produce 1,200 jobs in the short to medium term.  

“The sort of jobs being created are not just in acting and directing but in set design, in costume design, in sound engineering,” continued Mr Khan. 

“The key thing is to work with the council to make sure there’s a pipeline of talent coming through to benefit from the jobs being created.” 

Experts also estimate the development will contribute £35 million to the local economy each year. 

“Think about the sort of jobs in the supply chain that will thrive from having one of the country’s, if not Europe’s, biggest film and tv studios,” the Mayor added. 

He claimed the scheme will generate more business for companies in the carpentry, construction, food, hospitality, and leisure industries. 

Concept art of the future film studios (credit: Be First)

Despite the UK officially entering into a recession on Wednesday, the Mayor is confident the film and television industry will bounce back.

He said: “This studio has made huge progress even though we’ve had the uncertainty caused by Brexit and even though we’ve been through the biggest health crisis since the Second World War.

“After the last recession, one of the sectors that recovered the quickest was film. We’ve had the announcement from the government today confirming they will now be allowing indoor performances with social distancing being respected so I am optimistic.” 

Last week, the Government also announced a £5 million grant for the studios as part of the Getting Building Fund. 

“Not only will our film studios make Dagenham London’s Hollywood, they will generate thousands of jobs and opportunities which is hugely important in the light of the gloomy economic outlook caused by Covid,” said Councillor Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council. 

“These Dagenham studios will give hope to the people of Barking and Dagenham and to London as a whole.”

Be First, the council’s regeneration company, is continuing to speak with interested parties about investment opportunities. 

“We’ve had a great deal of interest in the studio site and it’s clear that demand for studio space remains high in spite of the recession,” said Pat Hayes, Managing Director of Be First.

“We’re now assessing our delivery options and we expect to make a further announcement late in the Autumn.”

For more on this story, and the latest on our other local and national news, listen to Time 107.5FM

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