05:00PM, Thursday 05 August 2021
Bray Film Studios has submitted a planning application to expand its existing site – including five new sound stages.
The expansion would also include new workshops and other production support buildings, totalling around 30,000sqm of floor space.
It will incorporate next door Water Oakley Farm, which was set to be developed for housing, and will see some of the temporary structures demolished along with the smallest studio.
Some of the buildings will have green roofs, there will be a nature area and a sloping frontage planted with trees and wildflowers.
Adjustments have been made to plans to filter views of the site as far as possible with ‘extensive screening’.
A spokesperson for Bray Film Studios Limited said: “We (had) a very positive reaction from the local community to our consultation.
“The enlarged studios will secure and create thousands of high-quality permanent jobs both on site and in the local area.’’
The June consultation returned 65 responses, 60 of which were broadly supportive, though many highlighted concerns around increases in traffic on the A308.
Bray Studios is planning to build a roundabout to tackle this and said its traffic analysis suggests this ‘will work very well with very little queuing or delay’.
Some residents expressed opposition on the grounds of building on the greenbelt, while others felt the existing structures were ‘a blight’ visually.
“The majority of the temporary (structures) will be replaced by buildings which will sit better in the landscape,” Bray Studios replied.
The company added that while the land is greenbelt, it is mainly previously developed land, or ‘degraded and despoiled’.
Oakley Green, Fifield and District Community Association (OGAFCA) support the application.
“The feeling of the local residents is that this would enhance the area, giving job opportunities to local people and supporting local businesses,” said chairwoman Barbara Frame.
“There is a history of film making on this site going back to the 1950s and the community are proud of this tradition and would like to see it continue.”
Bray Studios claims the new permanent stages are ‘key to (its) long-term viability’.
“The limited scale of the existing studios, combined with their age, doesn’t support a long term business venture,” it wrote.
“The lack of certainty associated with temporary buildings and planning permissions reduces attractiveness to potential occupiers.”
Temporary set-ups are usually less well-designed, less sustainable, create more noise and air pollution and could have a greater impact upon local character and the greenbelt, they added.
Bray Parish Council is set to discuss the application in early September and the application is due to be determined by mid-October.
Residents can give their view on the council planning portal with reference 21/02245/FULL.
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