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£200m Pinewood plan refused

17 May 13 Plans for a £200m expansion of Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire have been thrown out by the local council.

Pinewood wants to expand
Pinewood wants to expand

South Bucks District Council said that the 100,000-square-metre scheme was damaging to the Green Belt and to the quality of life of local residents.

Pinewood Studios said that it would create 3,100 jobs and was “a long term scheme of national significance”. Pinewood plans to appeal the decision.

Ralph Bagge, chairman of South Bucks District Council planning committee, explained: “The Pinewood proposal is one of the most contentious and difficult planning applications that the Council has had to deal with, probably since the decision to refuse permission in 2009 for the ‘Project Pinewood’ proposal, a decision which was later upheld on appeal.

“Pinewood acknowledge that their proposals are contrary to Green Belt policy, but have argued very strongly that there were exceptional reasons for allowing their proposals.

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“All parties including objectors and supporters, Pinewood themselves and councillors were able to put their points forward for consideration by the Committee. The committee had a full discussion of the issues before coming to a decision that it would refuse to give permission for the proposed development.

“Having carefully considered all the arguments for and against the proposals the Committee was on balance of the view that to have allowed this development of over 110 acres in the Green Belt and Colne Valley Park, would not only have caused significant degradation to the local environment but also harmed the quality of life for local residents.

“The council has a strong track record of defending the Green Belt against inappropriate development for the wider benefit of all those who live and work in the District. The very fact South Bucks remains such a desirable place to reside in is due in no small part to the protection afforded by our Green Belt policies.”

Ivan Dunleavy, chief executive of Pinewood Shepperton plc, said: "This is a disappointing decision by the local planning authority. It is hard to believe, given the country's economic difficulties that SBDC would turn down a £200m project creating 3,100 jobs in the vibrant and growing film and television sectors. The company remains committed to the Pinewood Studios Development Framework and we will be studying the decision with our legal and planning team and expect to appeal the decision to the secretary of state."  

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