007 studio is not ‘licensed to build’

Residents protest as Pinewood tries to build 2,250 homes on green belt. Mira Bar-Hillel reports
The next big screen drama to be played out at Pinewood Studios, home of the action-packed James Bond films, could involve an angry local crowd scene — a real one. Residents in this popular part of Buckinghamshire are accusing Pinewood of using a proposed extension to the famous studios in Iver Heath to push through a development of 2,250 homes on the land.

Pinewood Shepperton Plc announced the scheme last November. Named Project Pinewood, it is a “collage of locations specifically designed for the production of film and television”. It will comprise a series of zones and streetscapes, including “an amphitheatre, a complete castle, a Venetian canal, an Italian lakeside and street scenes from London, New York, Paris and Los Angeles”.

While the official aim is to “enhance Pinewood Studios’ position as one of the premier facilities for television and film production worldwide”, the plan includes up to 2,250 new homes.

The promoters note that land around Pinewood Studios has historically been designated green belt, with only the existing studio site retaining special planning status. They believe that “this exceptional opportunity is in the national interest and will meet with favourable approval”.

Local resident Ronnie Simkins disagrees. “We all experienced the traffic disruption caused when Pinewood installed the new Disneyland-style main entrance, he told Homes & Property. “You can barely imagine the impact of this project and the infrastructure required to sustain it. This plan is a monster and would set a very dangerous green belt precedent.”

A spokesman for the developer said: “Pinewood is absolutely committed to consulting with the local community. Over the past few weeks we’ve met with local representatives to discuss the project and we have workshops and forums planned for the coming months to meet as many people as possible ahead of any planning application later this year.”

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