A CONSULTATION on a multi-million pound plan to build an extensive film studio on the outskirts of Edinburgh has been extended.

While it appears that a publicly-funded studio is to be built in Cumbernauld, the £140 million Pentlands Studio plan is pressing ahead with the hopes of gaining planning permission in Midlothian this summer.

A spokeswoman for the Pentlands Studio said that "due to a high level of public interest", Gordon MacCallum, planning director at Keppie Design, has extended the period of public consultation until Saturday.

She said: "This is to ensure that any member of the public who would like to submit their comments has ample opportunity, as there's no statutory period for this process."

The backers of the Pentland Studios plan, which involves the construction of a £31m film studio as part of a major development at Straiton, believe they could start construction on the country's first major film shooting facility as early as October.

The privately funded scheme includes eight sound stages and 260,000 sq ft of space for productions.

Unlike the mooted Cumbernauld plan, Pentland Studios involves no public money.

Its backers pulled out of the official public-funded process last year after potentially restrictive European 'state aid' rules were clarified in June 2014.

It is understood the developers behind the Pentland Plan will continue with their plans despite the government-backed scheme being pursued in Cumbernauld.

Among the partners behind Pentland Studios is Jeremy Pelzer, a former studio chief at London's Ealing Studios and a former head of London's Elstree Studios.

The plans for the 106-acre site - chosen from 28 in Scotland scouted by its investors - will be discussed by Midlothian Council in August.

Building work would start in October and the first productions, the developers hope, would begin filming in 2017.

It is hoped that four studios of eight will be operational by that date.

The largest will be 30,000 sq ft and have a height of 70ft.

The plans also include a 50-acre back lot, enabling the expansion of sets and facilities for large scale films.

It comes after the leaders of Glasgow City Council and North Lanarkshire council clashed over the much-rumoured decision to build a studio in Cumbernauld.

Gordon Matheson, leader of Glasgow's council, backed up by Glasgow Chamber of Commerce chief Stuart Patrick and Film City Glasgow director Tiernan Kelly, wrote to culture secretary Fiona Hyslop, accusing her of a "flawed decision compounded by discourtesy".

The trio claimed the city's existing infrastructure for film and television production as well as its track record best place it for any studio.