Made in Dagenham studios preferred bidder revealed

The largest new film and new media studios to be built in London for decades will be constructed and operated in Dagenham by Pacifica Ventures in partnership with Media Content Capital (MCC) it was announced today.

Darren Rodwell, the Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council announced that the USA based Pacifica Ventures, in partnership with MCC, will be the preferred builder and operator of the ambitious new film and media complex on the 22-acre site.

Cllr Rodwell said: “I take great pleasure in announcing Pacifica Ventures in partnership with MCC as our preferred partner.  In the face of fierce competition, Pacifica Ventures – MCC emerged as the clear winner based on their track record and commitment to making the film and television studios a cultural and community asset for the borough, for London and for Britain’s film industry.

“The complex will be an exciting new visitor destination too –  an east end epic – that will create thousands of quality jobs and educational opportunities in a huge range of disciplines.

“I am confident that it will make Barking and Dagenham more famous for films than Fords.”

Dana Arnold, CEO of Pacifica Ventures, said, “We are thrilled to partner with Be First in the creation of a world-class film and television production complex that will become the pride of Dagenham and Greater London.”  Sasha Shapiro, Managing Director of Media Content Capital, added, “We are excited to be making our London production home at the brand-new Dagenham Studios.”

The announcement was made after Be First, Barking and Dagenham Council’s regeneration company, formally announced the competition to find a partner back in February. Film London and property consultants, Lambert Smith Hampton, acted as technical and commercial advisors to the £100 million deal throughout the competition.

In addition to 12 state-of-the-art sound stages – covering some 264,000 sq ft – the plans from Pacifica Ventures – MCC feature:

  • workshops and warehouses for lighting and grip operations, and at least 95,000 sq ft of production office space
  • an extensive post-production, visual effects and media technology complex
  • specially rigged stages for job training programmes with local educational institutions
  • multi-forma large-screen theatre auditorium
  • a major event centre and large screen auditorium including VR and immersive 3D attractions with studio tours, and
  • retail and dining outlets.

Pat Hayes, Managing Director of Be First, said: “I would like to thank all the bidders for the excellent quality of their submissions. Our team rigorously assessed each but a clear winner emerged.  Subject to detailed negotiations and exchange of contracts with Pacifica Ventures – MCC we expect construction of the media and TV complex to get underway in 2019.”

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “London is a global capital for film – with more than 40 film crews on our streets every day. I’m delighted that Pacifica Ventures has been announced as the preferred bidder – their exceptional track record will further cement the capital’s position as a world-leading film-making city. This development will bring hundreds of new jobs to the area – from carpenters to camera crew – and will bring big Hollywood blockbusters to Barking and Dagenham.”

Take a peek at the proposal here.


Mini-Manhattan on the horizon in Barking

A futuristic vision for a Barking town centre for aspirational Londoners was launched today (14 March) by Be First, Barking and Dagenham Council’s pioneering urban regeneration company.

The concepts designed by architects Weston Williamson + Partners were unveiled at MIPIM Cannes to an audience of investors, developers and city planners. The centrepiece is a major new development built above a revamped Barking station

Councillor Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, said: “The skyline suggests a mini-Manhattan.

“But the new look town centre will not be a playground for the rich – it must deliver truly affordable homes and a range of great leisure and retail facilities for ordinary Londoners.”

Pat Hayes, Managing Director of Be First said: “We’re raising the bar for development here in Barking and Dagenham, so our vision is deliberately ambitious, designed to ignite interest among investors, and excitement among local people. It is a starting point but the end point we’re seeking is a brilliant new town centre which will serve the people of Barking and east London.”

Bea Young, Associate Partner at Weston Williamson + Partners said: “This vision realises a fantastic opportunity to reinvigorate Barking town centre through the transformation of the station and by improving connectivity between neighbourhoods.

“We have been working with Be First on an ambitious masterplan and architectural concept, which celebrates the richness of Barking, enhances its character and puts the integration of people and places at the heart of the design.”

With the station building at its heart, the proposed scheme would deliver 2,200 new homes, together with commercial and social infrastructure, knitted together by two hectares of clean, green, accessible open spaces. The station itself will retain its Grade II listed canopy which is based on Rome’s Termini.

The masterplan includes significant over-track development – creating a series of urban quarters linked by a reinvigorated high street which will serve as an urban and cultural magnet, linking the existing civic centre and town squares.

And a new green spine, parallel to the high street, will connect public spaces and provide an improved retail offer.

The new street layout in a loose grid looks to build urban quarters complemented by green courtyard spaces, echoing the layout of exemplary town centres in London.

“And by retaining the Roman style station, Barking would have a brilliant blend of the big apple and the eternal city!”, Councillor Rodwell added.

More information.

East London leader backs Made in Dagenham star for Oscar win

Barking and Dagenham Council’s leader has sent a good luck message to Sally Hawkins who has been nominated for best actress at the Oscars for her role in the Shape of Water.

Councillor Darren Rodwell said: “Like most Brits, I hope Sally Hawkins grabs an Oscar, not only for her role in Shape of Water.

“But I am also biased because of her great acting in Made in Dagenham, which showcased the best of our borough’s strong women.”

Cllr Rodwell was speaking before the tender process to bring London’s largest film studios and media complex to a 20 acre-site on former brownfield land in Dagenham ends on 16 March.

Cllr Rodwell said:

“I will look forward to seeing Sally and other great stars in films Made in Dagenham when we bring London’s largest studios to this borough.”

Pat Hayes, Managing Director of Be First, Barking and Dagenham Council’s regeneration company, which is managing the tender exercise, said: 

“We’ve had tremendous interest from a range of really top notch operators. So, we’re confident that it will not be long before Dagenham becomes famous for films and not just Fords.”

For more details go to

East London borough grabs yellow jersey in race to win top transport gong

Barking and Dagenham won a prestigious London Transport Award yesterday for its work to encourage more residents to take up cycling and walking.

The Marks Gate DIY streets project – which involved around 800 adults and children taking part in a range of cycling activities and introduced traffic calming measures – won the Excellence in Cycling and Walking category at an awards ceremony at the Park Plaza Riverbank.

Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, Councillor Darren Rodwell, said the award showed the council was on track in helping to make the borough – which has over half of its adult population classed as obese or over weight – a fitter, healthier place: “This award is great news and reflects the hard work we’ve put into helping residents get fitter and healthier.

“We have some of the most modern and popular public leisure centres in London, but we are now working with our partners in health and education to promote cycling and walking initiatives, such as at Marks Gate and through street tag, to embed exercise much more firmly in people’s everyday life.”

Pat Hayes, Managing Director of Be First, Barking and Dagenham Council’s regeneration company, which runs cycling projects in the borough, said: “This is brilliant news. I am particularly pleased to see Barking and Dagenham leading the way. It helps bust the myth that cycling is a middle-class pastime as, for many working people, the bike is a cheap and easy way to travel.”

Be First said it will continue to expand its cycling courses for adults and children as part of the wider drive to make a healthier Barking and Dagenham.

Pat said:

“We are going move up another gear in our drive to get more people into cycling with some great new schemes coming up this year.”

New cycling schemes for 2018/19 include:

  • Gale Street Corridor scheme improving walking cycling routes and accessibility to local schools, shops and transport hubs.
  • New Quietway cycle routes linking Barking Town Centre and Barking Riverside.