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Major film and TV studio planned for Scotland

PSL Land (PSLL) confirmed today that an application has been lodged for planning permission in principle for the mixed-use studio development site at Straiton, near Edinburgh, with Midlothian Council.

PSL Land (PSLL) confirmed today that an application has been lodged for planning permission in principle for the mixed-use studio development site at Straiton, near Edinburgh, with Midlothian Council. The 86-acre site will host a film and television production facility incorporating six sound stages, an external water stage, two backlots, workshops and production office spaces.

Complementing the core studio campus will be a film academy and student residence, a visitor attraction and hotel. A data centre and satellite-link earth station, parking areas and a CHP energy centre will support the complex.

“We look forward to creating a world-class facility to complement Scotland’s existing studio spaces and stunning locations,” said Jim O’Donnell, PSLL development director. “Situated on the outskirts of one of Europe’s greatest cities, the proposed studio will place broadcast, indigenous and international film production needs at the forefront, whilst retaining the character and integrity of the local area and its natural beauty.”

The studio design team is led by architectural practice Keppie Design. Centred around a landscaped oasis, the 50,000sqft reception building will provide a creative hub for resident production companies, staff and visiting crew.

Six sound stages will offer a range of options with two at 15,000sqft, two at 30,000sqft and two at 20,000sqft. With clientele to include independent and major studio productions for both film and television, the six stages will also provide production opportunities for the advertising and games industries, as well as rehearsal space for theatre and music companies. Each sound stage will be enveloped by facilities space, allowing production personnel to be in the immediate vicinity of the shooting stages. An additional 55,000sqft of workshops will provide prep and post production areas for the creative departments.

Benefitting from a location away from any aircraft flight path is a 45,000sqft exterior paddock water-stage for filming.

PSLL is discussing the optimum requirements for an educational facility for practical production skills. An integral part of the studio complex and investing in the future skills-base will be an associated film academy which will comprise of a teaching pavilion and student residence.

Crucial infrastructure for the mixed-use development site are the supporting data and energy centres, together with a satellite-link earth station. The data centre will house cloud-based file storage systems and it is hoped that the dedicated 100MW gas-fired Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant will significantly contribute to the studios’ energy efficiency. The satellite-link earth station will provide a satellite up-link, enabling productions to securely transfer or transmit rushes, clips or entire programmes for editing and viewing purposes around the globe.
Continuing detailed conversations with a range of partners and potential users of the various spaces and elements that comprise the mixed-use site, PSLL have reserved 11.95 acres for future employment land. Providing options for further development once the initial phase of the complex has been completed, this space protects the primary studio investment, precluding any future residential development by external parties.

PSLL chairman, Douglas McGhee commented, “We are very pleased to have progressed the project to this next stage, and thank all members of the public and industry who contributed to the public consultation process. With extensive research and design talent behind the project, we hope this application will be recognised not only as a significant asset for Midlothian, but also for Scotland, the film, television and creative industries across the globe.”