The Mayor has given his approval to plans by Be First, on behalf of Barking and Dagenham Council, to build the capital’s largest film studios in Dagenham, boosting the borough and London’s growing film and TV industries. 

The plans, which were approved by the council’s planning committee last month, will see six sound stages, productions offices and set construction workshops built on former industrial land in Yewtree Avenue. This will create an estimated 1,200 jobs and contribute £35m per year to the local economy.

The development follows a 2017 study, that was supported by the Mayor of London, outlining how Dagenham East represented an ideal opportunity for a new world-class film studio as demand for existing studio space in the capital grew.

Since then Dagenham has become a popular site for the film industry, with a new temporary studio already open and welcoming major productions, including Black Widow by Marvel and Morbius by Sony Pictures.

London’s culture and creative industries have been significantly impacted by Covid-19, but the demand for film and TV studios remains high and the industry will play an important role in the country’s economic recovery, with more than £3.6bn spent in the UK last year on film and television production.

The Mayor’s backing of the Dagenham plans will help regeneration company Be First as they discuss investment opportunities with interested parties on behalf of the company.

Last week the Government announced a £5m grant to the studios as part of the Getting Building Fund. This followed a bid from the Thames Estuary Production Corridor that also secured £3m to help modernise 3 Mills Studios in Bromley-by-Bow in a boost to east London’s culture and creative industries.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “These spectacular new studios in Dagenham East will be a huge boost for the borough, the industry and our city.

“Our culture and creative industries have been significantly impacted by Covid-19, but our successful film and TV industries can play a key role in our economic recovery.

“These new studios will cement our position as a global capital for film and television, create 1,200 jobs and show the world that London is open to creativity – and always will be.”

Cllr Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, pictured above with The Mayor and local business leaders, said: “Not only will our film studios make Dagenham London’s Hollywood, they will generate thousands of jobs and opportunities which is hugely important in the light of the gloomy economic outlook caused by Covid. These Dagenham studios will give hope to the people of Barking and Dagenham and to London as a whole.”

Pat Hayes, Managing Director of Be First, said: “We’ve had a great deal of interest in the studio site and it’s clear that demand for studio space remains high in spite of the recession. We’re now assessing our delivery options and we expect to make a further announcement late in the Autumn. It’s clear that this could be a huge jobs generator for the capital despite the otherwise gloomy economic outlook.”