Holyport Studios, near Maidenhead

outline planning permission submitted in January 2023

roundly refused in March 2024.

 

The site for the proposed studios is indicated in red.  The land to the south and west is where the stages would be built.  The land to the east is the back lot and nature park.  Bray Studios are indicated in blue.
A schematic of the proposed studios.
with thanks to Holyport Studios

Greystoke Land announced in October 2022 that they were proposing a new film studio to the south-east of Holyport, near Maidenhead in Berkshire.  It was to be located about two and a half miles from Bray Studios.  There would be 15 sound stages, plus workshops and other facilities.  A VR studio was also included.

The site is on green belt land so planning approval was always far from certain.  In fact, as soon as the proposals were made public, local residents voiced their concerns.  Local councillor David Coppinger, Maidenhead’s lead member for environmental services, parks and countryside, indicated that he opposed any development on this area of green belt land.  However, he would be supportive of the studios if they were sited elsewhere.  Public consultation began in the autumn of 2022 and according to the developers, the final plans would take into account the views of local residents.

The proposals included two clusters of stages and other facilities, a backlot area and a 16.9-hectare area to be turned into a nature park and cricket pitch.  A new roundabout on the B3024 was to be constructed with access to the site.

 

Outline planning permission was sought in January 2023.   Unfortunately for the developers, it was unanimously rejected 9-0 by the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead’s development control panel at a meeting on 20th March 2024.  Once councillor described it as a ‘chancer application.’  The councillor who proposed the motion to refuse, said the inappropriateness of the development in the green belt was ‘quite stark.’  Dozens of members of the public were at the meeting, voicing their objections.  One speaker who works as a surveyor described it as one of the laziest applications he had seen.  Oh dear.  The following reasons for refusal were listed as follows:

 

1 – Lack of ‘very special circumstances for building in the green belt.’

2 – Harm to local character.

3 – Proximity of listed buildings and conservation areas.

4 – Highway safety.

5 – Loss of footpaths.

6 – Insufficient conservation of habitats.

7 – Loss of agricultural land.

8 – Sustainability.

 

Having lived in that area for a number of years I can’t help agreeing with all of the above.  This really was completely the wrong place to build a film studio.  On the other hand, I do think that the application for Marlow Studios is a huge contrast.  Although on green belt, it is very well designed and clearly an enormous amount of work has gone into addressing all the points made above.  I very much hope that application will succeed.

 

The proposed plans.