Council in pledge to fund building of Dagenham film studios

Barking and Dagenham council has said it will fund the building of the largest film studios in London after a Los Angeles-based developer put its plans to deliver them “on hold” over the “uncertainty surrounding Brexit”.

Be First, the council’s regeneration company, signed off an initial £3.4million for development costs at a meeting this week.

Next year the council is expected to seek planning permission for the studios on the 22 acres of land at the former Sanofi site opposite Dagenham East station.

Council leader Darren Rodwell said: “This is the next exciting stage in our ambition to build the largest studios in London for 25 years.

“If we get planning permission to build our Made in Dagenham studios, there are some exciting options – we could build them ourselves or we can work with any of the ambitious dynamic media companies who share our vision of making movies in what will be London’s Hollywood.”

Plans for 12 sound stages, training facilities, amusement attractions, shops and restaurants were announced by City Hall in 2017 and hoped to be under construction this year.

Pacifica Ventures, which owns the studio behind Breaking Bad was chosen as the preferred bidder for the Made in Dagenham studios in early 2018.

Pat Haynes, from Be First, said: “We move on to the next stage in this exciting journey of making Dagenham as famous for films as it was for Fords. Pacifica told us they were finding it difficult to deliver their plans due to uncertainty over the UK leaving the European Union.

“But what is not in doubt is the viability and demand for studio space in the UK which remains sky high, and that is why I am convinced there will be plenty of interest from parties who want to make sure movies will be Made in Dagenham.”

A spokesman for Pacifica Ventures said: “We and our investors have been forced to put the project ‘on hold’ until the Brexit uncertainty has been resolved. We have definitely not “dropped out” but we understand that the council wants to move forward more quickly and they have our blessing if a third-party should offer an alternative proposal that is acceptable to them.

“We hope that won’t be the case and that we’ll be able to re-start the project very soon.”


Rachael Burford

Local Democracy Reporter