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Bids invited for new film studio

PRIVATE-sector bids are being sought to build Scotland's first major film and TV studio, which a new report says could cost between £15 million and £74m.

The long-awaited report for Scottish Enterprise (SE) has found there is a clear case to build a film studio in Scotland, and suggests example sites in locations including Dalmarnock, Gartcosh, Cumbernauld, and Pacific Quay in Glasgow.

The report, written by Ekos, recommends a twin-track approach for building a facility in Scotland, with bids from private sources sought and the Scottish Government and other public bodies also raising resources and formulating a business plan for a £15m Foundation Studio, probably in Glasgow.

However it is understood the Scottish Government is keen to not expose any new studio to a legal challenge based on the State Aid rules set by the European Commission, which regulate public-sector involvement in commercial activity.

A film studio in Spain backed by public money, Ciudad de la Luz in Alicante, had to close after legal challenges from commercial rivals.

The Scottish Government is currently looking to ensure the new studio is legally watertight and not open to such a challenge.

The report does not recommend any single site or model but its does highlight the benefits of what it calls a Foundation Studio, the cheapest option, which would cost around £15.2m and could be built in the Canting Basin in Pacific Quay.

Scotland previously lost out on the chance to work with Pinewood on a new studio, which is now located in Wales, and also has competition from studios in England and Belfast.

The options laid out include a studio in Dalmarnock, by the River Clyde, over a 22-acre area that is costed at £71.4m and one in Gartcosh with "the greatest level of flexibility" costed at £74.3m.

Another proposal is an ­extension of the studio in Wardpark, Cumbernauld, which is currently being used to film the US TV series Outlander, which would cost £46m, a site at Pacific Quay which would cost £53.8m and the 35,000sq ft Foundation option.

The Government has committed to making £2m available and Creative Scotland has set aside £1m for a studio.

The report says the economic impact of building a studio could be between £51m and nearly £100m over 15 years.

Fiona Hyslop, the Culture Secretary, said: "Scottish ministers are firmly committed to supporting a sustained increase in production.

"Public agencies worked hard to source suitable premises for Outlander to consider ... but we recognise that to provide more opportunities for Scottish production we need additional studio space.

"Today's report recommends that we investigate the creation of a Foundation Studio in the event that a private sector bid for additional studio space is unsuccessful.

"I welcome this recommendation and will be exploring this further with the relevant agencies."

David Smith, director of ­Creative Industries at Scottish Enterprise, said: "We can move quickly towards the next phase of work to establish interest from the private sector and develop a robust business case for public sector investment."

Contextual targeting label: 
Arts and Entertainment

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