10:00AM, Sunday 12 September 2021
Bray Parish Council (BPC) has voted narrowly in favour of recommending the Bray Studios upgrade for planning approval.
Bray Film Studios is looking to build five new sound stages and other buildings totalling about 30,000sqm of floor space.
In a meeting of the parish council on Monday night, BPC discussed the impact on residents, the economy and roads – especially the problematic A308.
Looking at site plans, parish councillors saw that the new builds would create a 38 per cent increase in built area from the temporary structures that are currently there.
The question for BPC was whether this represented inappropriate development of the greenbelt.
“I’m absolutely sure that this is not the right thing,” said Bray Village ward councillor Chris Graham.
“The borough is short of housing and here we are building a studio on land that could be used for housing – and reduce pressure on other greenbelt sites,” he said.
Derek Wilson (Holyport ward) was in favour of supporting the UK film industry with this development, while chairman of planning Louvaine Kneen said she was ‘torn’ because of the ‘enormous’ (18m) buildings in the plans.
Nicola Marsh (Oakley Green and Fifield) noted that of the public comments, 28 are in favour and the four that are against are residents of Down Place – very nearby to the studios.
Nick Pellew (Dedworth) was sceptical that the new roundabout proposed in Bray Studios’ plan was the best option for managing increases in traffic, suggesting instead an extra turning lane.
“Cars are going to have to stop and that will have a serious impact on the A308. I don’t see that there was a need for this serious disruption,” he said.
Other members of the parish council were in favour of the roundabout.
Representatives for Bray Studios said the development would generate 1,400 direct jobs and an additional 1,500 for the supply chain.
It would also, via the use of landscaping and green roofs, create a net biodiversity gain of 12 per cent.
A private shuttle bus will help alleviate traffic movements.
To tackle the impact, especially on residents of Down Place, Bray Parish Council suggested conditions on bright floodlights and night filming.
It recommends that night filming take place further away from Down Place, as well as any generators of noise pollution or odours, and that bright lights do not face residential properties.
The parish council voted to support the application, by four votes to three.