2 November 2017

Professor Richard Miller, from the University of Hertfordshire, explores how Dagenham East represents a rare chance to build a world-class film studio in London in the release of a new study this week.

The study, which was commissioned in February by the Mayor of London and led by the economic consultancy SQW, BBP Regeneration and Professor Richard Miller, explores why Dagenham is a suitable location for a high profile studio; how such a project addresses the demand and capacity issues of the film and TV industries; and how a proposed studio could be laid out.

The key findings of the study outline how:

Demand: Due to the city's world-class skills, locations, crews and expertise, demand for studio space has never been higher. The value of feature film production spend in the UK in 2016 was £1.6billion, an all-time record. The large majority of this sum was associated with inward investment feature films, most of which are big-budget US-financed pictures. Much of this growth is focused on studios in and around London.

Capacity: Trends in the film and TV markets currently favour large, permanent studio spaces. Big-budget productions typically look for at least 125,000 square footage of stages, which this study demonstrates Dagenham East can accommodate. Other successful UK film studios are planning expansions but will not meet growing demand on their own, with modelling suggesting that the UK could need a further 800,000 square feet to 1.22m square feet of studio space by 2032.

Jobs: A studio of this size at Dagenham East could generate around 780 full time jobs in the local area and £35million for the economy.

Location: Barking and Dagenham is well connected, and the proposed site is midway between the City and the M25. It's directly opposite the tube station and close to the A13 and M11 motorways, providing excellent transport links for cast, crew and industry professionals. Its location would provide a clear trajectory for studio South East.

Barking and Dagenham Council is now inviting expressions of interest from investors, entrepreneurs and businesses to create the huge studio space and will start the formal tender process in 2018.  These will be the first new TV and film production studios in London for at least 25 years.