Lichfields and 4D are on the professional team. Credit: via Creo

Plans in for £450m Crown Works Studios

Joint venture FulwellCain has lodged proposals for the 1.68m sq ft film and TV production complex on the banks of the River Wear with Sunderland City Council.

FulwellCain is a joint venture between global entertainment company Fulwell 73 and Cain International. In submitting the application, it has revealed detailed plans for the first phase, with outlnie consent sought for two later stages.

In all, the development will deliver a 1.68m sq ft film industry hub at Pallion with 20 premium sound stages suitable for major feature film and high-end TV productions, if the plan garners government support.

Consultation was carried out this summer ahead of the application. Planner Lichfields and 4D Studio Architects are leading the professional team.

The partners said that Crown Works Studios could be one of Europe’s largest facilities, bringing 8,450 jobs to the area. A local planning decision is expected in March, which would then be referred up the chain.

Leader of Sunderland City Council, Cllr Graeme Miller, said: “This represents an important step forward for the city, underlining our commitment to a scheme that will be just about the most ambitious catalyst for economic development seen for decades in the North East.

“It requires support, and that’s clear, but – as a council, working with FulwellCain – we have absolutely thrown our weight behind this to ensure everything is lined up to make it a reality. We have done everything in our gift to demonstrate our determination to see Crown Works Studios delivered.”

Sunderland is not alone in pursuing film and prestige TV production as an economic driver. Capital&Centric has this month lodged plans for long-held ambitions for a production complex at Liverpool’s former Littlewoods HQ, while Wakefield’s Production Park is looking to advance virtual reality production in the UK.

Should all consents be cleared in 2024, the whole project could be completed by 2027, FulwellCain said.

Crown Works is to be named after the former shipyard that once stood on the site. It will include provision for production workshops and office space, a vendor village for supply chain businesses, administrative and social facilities, a multi-storey car park and an extensive backlot.

Leo Pearlman, managing partner at Fulwell 73, said: “Sunderland City Council has shown its commitment to our plans with this application, and we have demonstrated ours too, with everything lined up and ready to go should we gain approval and get the support we need from Government.

“This is a transformational plan that will reinvigorate not only the city and region’s economy, but will represent a shot in the arm for the UK’s creative industries and we are determined to do everything we can to ensure the impact of the studios are fully understood and supported.”

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